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This report highlights the range of Scottish Enterprise actions taken during 2011 - 2014 to further the conservation of biodiversity. The report is a requirement of the Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004 and follows an amendment to the Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011.

1. Leadership and Management

About Scottish Enterprise (SE)

To help deliver the Scottish Government’s primary objective of sustainable economic growth, SE identifies and delivers opportunities for Scottish companies to grow and compete. This involves support for Scotland’s growth sectors to compete globally; a focus on attracting new investment and; contribution to creating a competitive business environment.

SE approach to low carbon and the natural environment

This report covers

  • Leadership and management
  • Action for biodiversity
  • Mainstreaming
  • Monitoring
  • Partnership
  • Communication

The transition to a low carbon economy is core to the Scottish Government’s Economic Strategy and has been a priority for SE between 2011-14. The transition provides an opportunity to stimulate economic growth across Scotland’s growth sectors and business base; not only to develop a range of more sustainable products and services that companies can sell into local and global markets, but also for the ways in which businesses operate and improve their management and use of resources, including finite natural resources.

Between 2011-14, SE’s approach to the natural environment has formed part of our low carbon priority and our approach to sustainable economic development.

Our annual Low Carbon Implementation Plans demonstrate our commitment to delivering the Scottish Government’s Economic Strategy and also reflect compliance with the Public Sector Duty on climate change, including environmental reporting. The Plans provide a comprehensive overview of the actions we are taking to help deliver sustainable, low carbon economic growth. To complement these plans, SE also has an Environmental Management and Low Carbon Policy that covers our internal operations and sustainable business opportunities. SE’s governance of low carbon is provided by our Low Carbon Review Group which helps to develop and monitor delivery of our Low Carbon Implementation Plans.

As part of SE project development, all proposed activity is required to complete a carbon assessment, including identification of wider environmental impacts arising as a result of project delivery.

As highlighted in SE’s 2014-17 Business Plan, we will also work with our partners in rural Scotland to ensure businesses in these areas are making the most of the opportunities available. Economic assets in rural areas, especially Scotland’s natural resources, make a vital contribution to prosperity and offer a range of new opportunities for businesses.

In terms of SE leadership to further the conservation of biodiversity between 2011-14, SE staff have participated in activities of the following bodies;

  • Central Scotland Green Network
  • Scottish Biodiversity and Land Use Comms Group
  • Land Use Strategy Steering Group

Further details are provided in section 5 on Partnership.

2. Action for Biodiversity

Business engagement with biodiversity helps to manage risk and build reputation. It is proven to improve resource efficiency, help win contracts and meet planning conditions. It also increases staff engagement and morale. However, the business benefits of engaging in biodiversity are not widely understood across Scotland’s company base

Company growth support – SE customer-facing staff can respond to business demand to help improve their management and use of resources, including natural resources. In terms of business engagement with biodiversity, we have developed internal guidance on business benefits and simple practical actions and made this available to SE staff.

SE already works with a number of companies showing leadership in terms of their approach to the natural environment, such as Mackies and Cream of Galloway. It is important that these companies show leadership within their business networks and demonstrate good practice to their peer groups.

In terms of business opportunities to develop a range of more sustainable products, SE is supporting the development of natural products by Scottish companies. Enterprise Europe Network Scotland (part of Scottish Enterprise) has been working with companies such as Mara Seaweed which develop natural products. Mara harvests seaweed from coastlines around Scotland and are licensed by Scottish Natural Heritage.

Working with our Scottish partners such as SEPA and SNH, we will continue to develop and strengthen our ask of business to; improve their understanding of their environmental impact; building it into business planning and; show leadership.

Business environment – Scotland’s natural environment is proven to have wide economic benefits in terms of increasing place attractiveness and competitiveness. Between 2011-14, SE has supported improvements to the quality of Scotland’s business environment, including business infrastructure projects which have incorporated sustainability principles as part of development. For instance, the Edinburgh Bioquarter development supported by SE includes a sustainable drainage scheme.

Sectors - in sectors such as tourism, food and drink, the provenance and high quality of Scotland’s natural environment helps to set Scotland apart. This competitiveness supports inward investment, attraction of talent and trade to other markets. To support the strategic objectives of Scotland’s growth sectors, SE has been involved in the delivery of a number of projects aiming to protect and enhance the natural environment;

  • In 2011, SE supported Scottish Bee Services Ltd (SBS) with a Bee Health & Pollination Awareness project. This allowed SBS to establish a sterilization plant to provide cleaning services for bee keepers’ equipment, aimed at reducing and eradicating disease in Scotland. The project also sought to establish a Pollination Awareness programme to educate and increase farmer and landowner awareness of mainstream agricultural crops with higher value nectar & pollen.
  • SE also supported a Honey Bee project in 2011 to supply sufficient funds for the Tayside commercial bee-keepers to re-stock to their pre-disease levels. This allowed; contracts to be honoured to major industry players; optimum pollination of crops grown in various Scottish regions and; protection of Scotland’s natural heritage and biodiversity.

Volunteering – SE supports all staff to participate in volunteering and community engagement and provides 2 days work absence each year to take part in projects. Many of these projects have included environmental remediation activities.

3. Mainstreaming

SE seeks to mainstream its approach and good practice on sustainable economic development through its Low Carbon Review Group and through the wide range of activities highlighted in its annual Low Carbon Implementation Plans. SE’s Low Carbon Community of Practice (which includes around 50 staff from across the organisation) is a means of spreading good practice and channeling ideas between colleagues.

4. Monitoring

As part of SE’s 2014-17 business plan measurement framework, SE has a measure for annual CO2 savings of 160-200,000 tonnes, divided into two measures: 

  • Identify 80–100,000 tonnes of CO2 savings arising from Scottish Enterprise company support; and
  • Identify 80-100,000 tonnes of CO2 savings arising from large-scale, industry led projects.

These targets build on the strengthening performance in this area in recent years (forecast CO2 savings for 2013/14 of 130,000 tonnes).

SE does not track any biodiversity trends or indicators as part of its measurement framework.

5. Partnership

2020 Challenge for Scotland's Biodiversity

Download the strategy

As part of SE’s contribution to the delivery of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy and the Land Use Strategy, SE supports the following external groups;

Central Scotland Green Network

  • Derek McCrindle (CSGN Board Member) and John Crawford have worked with CSGN over the 2011-14 period to support its objectives and activities. For instance, SE has contributed to a set of CSGN case studies looking at good practice in business engagement with green infrastructure. SE has also supported research into business attitudes on green space.

Biodiversity and Land Use Comms Group

  • At its February 2014 meeting, SE tabled a thought piece on mainstreaming biodiversity in the business sector. As a follow on, SE led a workshop in May 2014 for partners to consider opportunities for business engagement. The session enabled diverse organisations tackling the topic from different perspectives to exchange ideas and agree an aligned approach to move forward. Partners included; Central Scotland Green Network; Scottish Natural Heritage; SEPA; Scottish Environment LINK, Scottish Biodiversity Committee; South Lanarkshire Council, Scottish Forum on Natural Capital, and Forestry Commission Scotland.

Scottish Land Use Strategy Steering Group

  • Julian Pace and John Crawford participate in this group.

Community planning

  • SE participates in the Edinburgh Sustainable Development Partnership, part of Edinburgh’s community planning partnership.

SE sits on the Scotland Food and Drink Sustainability sub-group.

6. Communication

In sectors such as Sustainable Tourism and Agricultural technologies where Scotland has niche strengths and capabilities needed to access global low carbon markets, SE has produced guidance on sustainable development opportunities as a means of stimulating discussion and engaging with industry.

External presentations;

  • At the Scottish Biodiversity Committee meeting in November, 2014, John Crawford presented on the links between Scottish businesses and biodiversity and the importance of engagement. This formed part of the Committee’s discussion on ‘Farming and Food & Drink in Scotland’.
  • SE presented at the Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment event on business and biodiversity at Glasgow University in March 2011.

7. Future approach

Working with partners to improve SE’s contribution to the delivery of the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy, we are currently looking at a number of improvement actions;

  • Improve governance and reporting on natural environment as part of internal Environmental Management System development.
  • Consider membership of the Scottish Forum for Natural Capital.
  • Deeper alignment with partners’ on respective roles and capabilities to support business engagement with biodiversity. This should help to develop a clear proposition for engagement and actions that can be used to support businesses.
  • Focus on high impact sectors and use sector bodies to engage businesses e.g. Scottish Tourism Alliance and Scotland Food and Drink
  • Align behind national campaigns e.g. 2015 Year of Food and Drink
  • Seek advice from business communications experts around the language of engagement. Businesses need to think environmentally and environmentalists need to think business – there’s a need to share common ground and common language
  • Pursue development of a species champion approach by businesses.