Registration for the Sustainable Orkney Conference

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Press Release

Registration for the Sustainable Orkney Conference is now open.

On the 20th, 21st and 22nd of March there will be an unusual conference on at the Picky. The Sustainable Orkney Conference will bring together local experts and interested and motivated local people to map out what Orkney is already doing to de-carbonise and be sustainable.

The first day will have a showing of the award-winning film TOMORROW (2015) at 7pm followed by a brief discussion.

Over the next two days the event will try and take stock of initiatives already underway in Orkney ranging from transport, food production, consumption, building, waste and finance. ‘There is a lot going on in Orkney already’ said event chair Neil Kermode, ‘but we also know we are going to have to do more to get to the ‘Net Zero Carbon’ position. It is difficult to know what to tackle next if we don’t know where we are now’. This event is planned to use the local knowledge and expertise from within Orkney and to better connect people. ‘When we know where we are and who is doing what, we will find it easier to work out what to do next‘ said Neil.

The event is expected to lead to other events on specific subjects. ‘This is about finding out what is already happening in Orkney and what is about to come along’ said joint organiser Becky Ford. ‘Given the breadth of effort needed to get to Net Zero we expect all delegates will want to make a contribution to the discussions in some way’.

The organisers, OREF, are billing this as a conference that is big on conferring and short on presentations. There will be short presentations covering everything from buses to waste and from farming to insulation, but they will be a stimulant to the discussion in the room about what else people know is going on. ‘Orcadians know best what is happening in Orkney right now.’ explained Neil. ‘But sometimes that information is a bit hard to find, or people are beavering away on their own. This is a chance to tell people what they are doing and to recruit others to participate, to share their experiences and learn.’

This is not about sitting in a darkened room listening to endless presentations. This is about stimulated conversation and mobilising the combined knowledge of Orkney. The organisers are very clear on this latter point. ‘This is a conference for the people of Orkney to come together and confer.’ said Neil. ‘For this first event we are only accepting people who live or work in the county. ‘We are not turning our backs on the rest of the world, but we expect we know best about what is going on here and now. When we know that we can then turn outwards and ask for help. But that will be another event’.

The event is free and tickets are available on Eventbrite at

This IS going to be different. It will be streamed for later viewing, there will be no conference bags of junk, and you even need to bring your own lunch. For further information go to or mail [email protected]


Further information:

This event is led by the Orkney Renewable Energy Forum, but is not just about energy, it is across the 6 main areas of Transport, Food production, Consumption, Waste, Buildings and Finance.

This event does not cross over with the event planned later in the year by Orkney Islands Council. This first event is about taking stock and can provide information to later events.

The programme is set, but there are some unconfirmed speakers.

Given the present contentions about our food, OREF are particularly interested in hearing from any speakers on what is going on in the world of agriculture in Orkney.