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Scotland's leading role in the journey to a sustainable low carbon future

Scotland's leading role in the journey to a sustainable, low-carbon future

A year from now, the eyes of the world will be on Glasgow as we host COP 26. Martin Valenti, Head of Climate Enterprise at Scottish Enterprise, talks about the challenges and opportunities of the transition to net zero, the need for leadership and action and why Scotland is ideally placed to play a leading role in the journey to a low-carbon future.

Businesses won't survive the shift to net zero if they don’t prepare now for the challenges ahead. There's an abundance of support available to guide you - from measuring your current carbon footprint, to helping you set goals to become a net zero business.

Martin Valenti, Head of Climate Enterprise at Scottish Enterprise

Martin Valenti, Scottish Enterprise

Scotland may be a relatively small country, but what we lack in size, we more than make up for in our ability to punch above our weight when it comes to tackling global climate change. 

With our abundant natural resources, a culture of innovation, unrivalled government support and world-class research and development facilities, Scotland is ideally positioned to play a leading role in the global journey towards a greener, more sustainable, low-carbon future.

What is net zero?

A critical milestone in our path towards environmental sustainability will be the transition to net zero. Net zero is the point at which the total amount of global greenhouse gas emissions are equal to, or become less than, the total amount of emissions removed from the environment. 

The first priority for all net zero plans should be to reduce total emissions. However, not all emissions can be reduced completely or avoided altogether. So, we need to create a balance by using reliable carbon offset initiatives. These remove greenhouse gases entering the atmosphere, equalling the amount released by any activity.

Scotland has put in place world-leading legislation that includes a target date for net-zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045. This is 5 years ahead of the rest of the UK.

It’s an ambitious target that would end Scotland’s contribution to climate change within a generation, and it’s one that we can achieve given the significant strength we have in many of the sectors that will lead the transition to net zero on a global scale.

Net zero opportunities

Across the world, business sectors will be looking to maximise the opportunities from transitioning to net zero. It’s important that Scotland’s businesses are part of that success.

We’re already seeing a growing number of companies across Scotland who are using the fight against climate change as an opportunity to do things better, more efficiently and with a reduced impact on the environment. New market opportunities are also opening up for innovative Scottish companies whose expertise and technology can be applied to develop the low carbon solutions needed for the future.

The key to success is embracing both the economic and environmental benefits of sustainability. The reality is that businesses will not survive the shift to net zero if they don’t prepare now for the challenges ahead.

Fortunately, starting your journey towards this needn’t be a challenge. There's an abundance of support you can call on to guide you step by step, from measuring your current carbon footprint, to helping you set goals and milestones along the way to eventually becoming a net zero business.  

Practical support to make your business sustainable  

The race to net zero is already well underway, and businesses across Scotland need to start thinking about their own journey towards sustainability now.

What are the first steps you need to take on this journey? How can your business help Scotland achieve its ambitions? How will you turn the climate emergency into a climate opportunity for your business? These are the questions that our experts can help with.

We have a dedicated team of sustainability specialists to provide support on the practical measures needed to improve your environmental performance - from business efficiency through to developing sustainable strategies. Our experts work with companies of all sizes across all sectors to help them achieve their sustainability goals. 

The support we offer is very diverse. We can help you with project such as: improvements to business premises, products and services, processes and operations, marketing, PR and people.

And we don't act in isolation. Scottish Enterprise is part of a group of partners providing a coordinated approach to supporting businesses on their sustainability journey.

The environmental regulatory landscape is also changing to better support businesses who see tackling climate change as part of their mission. And it’s encouraging that Scotland’s business-facing agencies are aligning to support environmentally-conscious businesses go beyond compliance.

For example, Nature Scot - Scotland's nature agency, is driving the promotion of nature-based solutions. So it’s very clear that Scotland’s agencies are ready to stand alongside businesses in their net zero journey.

Whether you’re at the beginning of your journey, or your business already has a specific project in mind, we'll help you get the right support. 

COP26: The need for leadership and action

A year from now, the eyes of the world will be on Glasgow as we host the United Nations Conference of Parties - the so-called COP26. Crucial talks will take place at COP26 to progress global action to tackle climate change.  COP26 is set to be the most important meeting on the subject since the 2015 Paris agreement. And it's expected to attract some 30,000 delegates and around 190 world leaders.  

So, with the eyes on Scotland and the expectation building up to deliver a global agreement, how will Scotland’s businesses stand out as a key part of the overall approach to becoming net zero by 2045?

Leadership and action are needed in this decade. By 2030, we need to have cut our global emissions in half to meet the global limits set in the Paris agreement.

So, now's the perfect opportunity for your business to become more sustainable, and in doing so, capitalise on the amazing opportunities that are emerging with the green economy. And to be one of the leaders when we host COP26 next year. 

Ready to get started?

Whether you’re just starting your journey to environmental sustainability, or you already have a project in mind, our experts can help.