Page Loading

Our net zero framework

We're putting net zero at the heart of everything we do. Our net zero framework outlines our approach to help tackle climate change and address biodiversity loss. It focuses on economic opportunities that deliver benefits to the environment and society.

Our net zero ambition

For Scotland to achieve its net zero ambitions, we all need to commit to positive change.

Our ambition is to lead, influence and create opportunities for Scotland’s just transition to net zero. 

This is the second annual update on our net zero framework where we highlight progress over the last 12 months and identify new priority actions for 2023 and 2024.

We’re continuing to focus on delivering actions that improve the international, innovation and investment performance of Scotland’s businesses. Our framework sets out our priorities in detail, to help boost business sustainability and create a more climate-resilient Scotland.

Scottish Enterprise CEO Adrian Gillespie visits the NMIS.

Adrian Gillespie, Chief Executive of Scottish Enterprise 

What is net zero?

The term 'net zero' refers to an overall balance between the amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere. Net zero is reached when the amount of greenhouse gases added to the atmosphere is no more than the amount removed.

However, if we want to effectively address the twin challenges of climate change and ecological decline, reducing emissions is only part of the picture.

In common with other organisations, we use the term 'net zero' as shorthand to describe a broad range of activities that we support, including:

  • Reducing emissions
  • Adapting to the consequences of climate change that are already happening
  • Protecting and improving natural capital and biodiversity
  • Supporting green jobs and a just transition for businesses, sectors and communities
  • Promoting and scaling up circular economy practices and business models

Net zero framework highlights: 2022 - 2023

In its second year, our net zero framework made excellent progress and has formed a baseline from which we can build priorities and develop new activities.

  • 341,000 tonnes of CO2

    Reduced from our supported businesses and projects.

  • 400 net zero businesses

    Inspired to use our net zero accelerator, a free online took that helps businesses achieve net zero.

  • 8 net zero funding calls

    One of which, the Can Do Innovation Challenge, gave 12 Scottish companies a share of £560,000.

Our 2025 ambition

Our framework focuses on net zero economic opportunities that also benefit the environment and society. We're embedding a focus on net zero across everything we do to increase Scotland’s sustainable prosperity.

This includes decarbonising our own internal operations – with the goal of reaching net zero by 2040. We’re also baselining and reducing the emissions from our operational support.

We'll do this by:

Scottish Enterprise has helped Scotland become a leading location for net zero innovation, supporting businesses to address new market opportunities that improve their competitiveness and resilience.

Scottish Enterprise has helped to reorient Scotland’s economy towards investing and innovating in a just, net zero future, building on Scotland’s distinctive climate-related strengths and opportunities.

Scottish Enterprise has embedded and strengthened the focus on net zero in place-based project activities, partnership delivery and the management of Scottish Enterprise's own property portfolio.

Scottish Enterprise has focused its support on expanding climate-related economic opportunities while measurably reducing emissions.

Scottish Enterprise has reduced emissions by 70% compared with our 2015 – 2016 baseline.

2023 - 2024 priority actions

We've reached the half-way point on our journey to meeting our 2025 ambitions.

In 2023 - 2024 we will continue to support companies to transition to net zero, innovate to address global market opportunities, create jobs, and ensure long-term business resilience. We’ll do this by investing in Scotland’s innovators.

Scotland is well placed to build on its natural assets and expertise to innovate, invest in and export our climate-related solutions to growing global markets. Eight priority actions for the coming year will help us achieve our long-term ambitions. They'll be underpinned by additional supporting actions embedded across the organisation.

Priority actions for 2023 - 2024 include:

We’re encouraging more companies on their net zero journey by continuing to only offer funding to those who can already demonstrate, or with our support are willing to adopt, fairer and more sustainable business practices.

We’re continuing to develop and signpost companies to appropriate tools and resources to help them develop their own credible net zero actions plans.

We’ll deliver innovation and funding support to help businesses invest in net zero market opportunities and green jobs.

We’re increasing our focus to expand green energy market opportunities and stimulate new capital investment that will help accelerate Scotland’s transition to net zero.

We’ll implement pilot projects within our investment property portfolio to map the pathway towards net zero. We'll also strengthen the alignment and contribution of place-based innovation activities, alongside partners and businesses.

We’re developing a Values First statement to communicate the expectations we have of the companies and partners we work with to align with our net zero, fair work and equalities, diversity and inclusion values.

We're continuing to evaluate and evolve the model we have developed to baseline our carbon footprint across our operational support. This will help increase the carbon efficiency of our operational delivery.

We're assessing and exploring ways to reduce our digital emissions.

We're always ready to help.

Speak to one of our advisers if you have any questions.