Supporting SMEs to empower the transition to net zero in Scotland

Scotland has a well-publicised and ambitious target of reaching net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045.

For this to be achieved, it’s vital that businesses of all sizes work together to tackle climate change. The latest podcast in The Scotsman’s Sustainable Scotland series, entitled ‘Empowering the Transition’ and in partnership with The Scottish Business Climate Collaboration (SBCC)*, explores this challenge and highlights the opportunities.

It examines the critical role of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in Scotland's net zero future and how large businesses can help them achieve their sustainability aims.

Participants in the podcast are: Thomas Billam, Business Support Partner, Zero Waste Scotland; Kate McGeoch, Senior Environmental Manager, ScottishPower; and Andrew Hastings, Sustainability Coordinator, Emtec Group.

During the conversation they covered the role of SBCC Climate Action Hub and the support it offers to businesses in addressing sustainability challenges and taking advantage of opportunities.

The Hub is a freely accessible virtual learning platform which provides members with a variety of resources, including an online tool that can help them measure their impact and create a plan for reducing emissions. Thomas said: “The Climate Action Hub is a public and private sector funded resource that all businesses in Scotland can use to help them understand what the climate crisis is all about, how to measure their impact and how to take action to reduce their emissions.”

Explaining Emtec’s commitment to reaching net zero, Andrew said: “I’ve used the various action plans to set benchmarks and see what we need to work on and it’s been very good.”  Emtec have launched a number of carbon reduction initiatives including the use of electric vehicles and solar panels. 

Kate said: “As a major energy company, we have a really broad and deep supply chain and we’re actively encouraging them to use the Hub and looking at how we can highlight this through our procurement processes.”

Expanding on how the Climate Action Hub is supporting the push to net zero, Thomas said:

“We're coming up to a year's worth of businesses coming through and accessing materials and it's been fantastic to see the Hub has been used for things like funding applications.

“We want to make sure that everyone knows about the Hub.”

On the benefits of collaboration, Andrew said: “Businesses learn from each other. The more our supply chain knows about things like carbon reduction and accounting the greater reductions we will see in our organisational carbon footprint.”

Kate added: “We also need to look at how larger businesses like us can help SMEs There's no single organisation that can see some of the tricky sustainability problems from every angle. The only way to do that is to collaborate widely and solve issues by working together.”

* Participating companies in the Scottish Business Climate Collaboration are: Aggreko; Diageo; EY; FirstGroup; Bank of Scotland; Scottish Power; Scottish Water; and Wood Group.


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