Camera Obscura & World of Illusions are dedicated to local and national sustainability and to becoming as environmentally friendly as possible. We want Edinburgh to be a world class visitor destination in terms of sustainability and are doing our part to achieve this. Our former owner, Patrick Geddes coined the phrase ‘Think global, act local’. We use this maxim to guide our operation. We are committed to meeting and exceeding all environmental legislation as well as the Equality Act 2010.
To show our dedication to the environment, we are measured and assessed under the Green Tourism Business Scheme – the leading sustainable tourism certification scheme within the United Kingdom. We currently hold a silver award and are working towards gold.
- We have a wide variety of support services for both visitors and staff, to staff we offer free tea and coffee, all certified Fairtrade. Milk provided is sourced from a local farm. We provide a free "breakfast club" to all staff. We also have an extensive staff welfare package including a generous pension, seasonal bonus, and staff meals and activities throughout the year.
- For visitors we offer an unrivalled, experience of fun and wonder that creates lasting memories.
- We have been accredited as a Living Wage Employer, aligning with our belief in promoting good work practises and continuing to attract and retain the best staff. We were crowned winner of the Trailblazer Award at the 2023 Living Wage Scotland Awards, being recognised for going above and beyond paying our staff the real Living Wage, setting the bar high for employer standards within the tourism sector, and providing an outstanding example.
- We hold regular staff trainings on mental and physical health. Physical and mental health first aiders are always on site for both staff and visitors.
- We help our local community by supporting a variety of charities & schools.
- We donate part of our profits to charity each year. In the last year we have donated to Medecins Sans Frontieres, Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, The White Helmets, Macmillan Cancer Support, Highland Hospice and Marie Curie. We also support other local and international causes where we can. Please see our Charity Work page for more details.
- We encourage the use of public transport both by visitors and staff through our Getting Here page, by partnering with ScotRail, and by taking part in the Scottish workplace journey challenge which encourages active travel to work.
- We sell local food products in our Gift Shop, such as locally produced honey and fudge. We also stock lots of sustainable items with recycled packaging.
- We are Edinburgh’s oldest purpose build visitor attraction; we have been leading the way in this beautiful city since 1835 and are still a Scottish family-owned independent business.
- We are heavily involved in the Edinburgh Festivals, regularly inviting and supporting new shows and talent and hosting PR opportunities.
- We are conscious of our carbon footprint; therefore we do not use gas.
- All lighting sources have been changed to LED where practical to do so.
- From February 2024, 100% of our electricity will come from renewable energy.
- We recycle a full range of materials such as paper, cardboard, plastic, metals, and glass. We reuse building materials to create new structures and exhibits. By 2025 we want none of our waste to end up in landfill.
- To be as environmentally friendly as possible our principal cleaning agents is SAO, produced on site using water, without chemicals or travel environmental costs.
- Our toilets are twinned with a latrine in Mozambique, which helps fund community toilets there, as well as access to clean water and hygiene education.
- We have free sanitary products available for our visitors and staff.
- We use sustainable alternatives to everyday items, such as bamboo toilet tissue, dish soap bars, and concentrated handsoap mixed onsite.
- We have a free water refill dispenser on site to reduce the need for single use plastic bottles. This is visible on the Refill app.
- We use environmentally conscious suppliers. Our marketing leaflets are printed by McAllister Litho Glasgow and Landmark Press provide advertising and distribution.
The staff & management team at Camera Obscura & World of Illusions play a key role in delivering and fulfilling our environmental vision but we recognise that our visitor’s assistance is important in making this possible. Below are some small steps that you can take to help us:
- Where possible, please consider walking, cycling or using public transport to get to and from Camera Obscura & World of Illusions to minimise carbon emissions.
- Please keep our building & rooftop clean by using the recycle bins provided or by taking your rubbish away and recycling it at the nearest available point.
- When visiting our attraction and/or purchasing gifts from our shop, please advise our staff if you prefer not to have a carrier bag. If you are visiting our gift shop without your own shopping bags, we offer durable bags for life which we will replace free of charge once no longer useable. The original bag for life will be recycled accordingly.
- We recommend supporting other green businesses. There are hundreds of green businesses throughout the city who are trying to reduce their impact on the environment. More information about this can be found on the Green Tourism Business Scheme website.
- We encourage our visitors to buy, eat and see local and to experience what Scotland has on offer – visitors wishing to try local Scottish produce should look out for the Fairtrade, The Soil Association or Slow Food Scotland logos.
- We support the city’s cultural heritage by promoting cityscape and countryside and responsible tourism through former owner Patrick Geddes’s message ‘Think Global, Act Local’.
- We encourage all visitors to enjoy Edinburgh and Scotland’s natural environment responsibly. To find out more see VisitScotland's Responsible Tourism Promise here.