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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 final update of the current iteration of our net zero framework for action, and the final year of delivery to reach our 2025 ambitions. The framework highlights our progress over the last 12 months and sets out new priority actions for 2024-25.

Our new Scottish Enterprise strategy ‘Our focus on economic transformation’ positions net zero alongside both fair work and equalities, diversity and inclusion (EDI) as critical drivers of competitiveness for businesses. Our new approach focuses on three missions to enable us to deliver greater impact. Net zero is core to the delivery of all our missions and our new priority actions for 2024-25 reflect this. 

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: 2023 - 2024

Our net zero framework made significant progress in each of our five ambition areas in the last year and has moved us a step closer to achieving our 2025 ambitions.

  • 468,000 tonnes of C02

    approximately saved from our supported businesses and projects, a 30% increase from 2022-23.

  • 58% reduction

    in the carbon intensity of the three websites managed by Scottish Enterprise, from our 2021-22 baseline.

  • 26 companies supported

    through our newly launched Net Zero Academy training programme.

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.

2024 - 2025 priority actions

We've reached the final year on our journey to meeting our 2025 ambitions.

In 2024 - 2025 we will re-double our efforts to meet our ambitions. We will target companies with the characteristics to help address our mission focused ambitions and help companies capitalise on the global opportunities from the transition to net zero, attract investment and deliver a more climate resilient economy. We will also continue to drive forward our own emission reduction. 

Eight priority actions for the coming year will help us achieve our long-term ambitions. 

Priority actions for 2024 - 2025 include:

Enhance our approach to support businesses to implement responsible and sustainable business practices into their operations to deliver greater business benefits. 

Identify and support companies committed to maximising international trade and investment in climate related products and services. 

Embed net zero outcomes in our mission-based approach, continuing to reduce emissions and identify and integrate specific activities focused on the Just Transition, natural capital and the circular economy. 

Implement early action projects within our investment property portfolio, to transition towards net zero. 

Strengthen the alignment and contribution of place-based innovation project activities alongside partners and businesses to help accelerate a just, nature-positive, transition to net zero. 

Further develop our model to analyse our Scope 3 emissions across our operational support and identify potential pathways to reduce those emissions.

Support business action to improve supply chain resilience to climate change and capitalise on global market opportunities.

Drive forward continued emissions reduction and review our 2040 target date to become net zero operationally.

We're always ready to help.

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