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Industry report highlights ‘Clean Growth’ opportunities for Scotland

A report published today (3rd December) by the Scottish Council for Development and Industry (SCDI) unites public, private and third sector partners in a shared mission to identify the economic opportunities a Net Zero future offers the Scottish economy.

The Manifesto for Clean Growth was created by a Leadership Group of 16 businesses and organisations including Shell, Scottish Power, NatureScot, North Ayrshire Council and Zero Waste Scotland  drawn from different sectors and geographies and in consultation with multiple stakeholders from across the Scottish economy.

The publication expands on the findings of an interim report Building Scotland’s Green Recovery which showcased 12 big ideas in response to the urgency of climate change and the COVID-19 crisis.

Highlighting opportunities for innovation which will underpin Scotland’s transition to Net Zero, the new report recommends actions in seven key areas: Industry, Energy, Connectivity, Place, People, Finance and Nature. These include:

  • Help create new jobs and decarbonise fuels for heating, transport and industry by investing in biotech innovation, including the transformation of Grangemouth into a biorefinery
  • Helping reduce fossil fuel usage by boosting investment in hydrogen as a cleaner energy source
  • Pilots for ‘20-minute neighbourhoods’ with reduced traffic, improved air quality, strengthened local economies and community bonds
  • Reach Net Zero in new buildings from 2023 by introducing standards that require ultra-energy efficient design and use of low carbon heating
  • Help those both in and out of work to pick up green job skills through a voluntary and inclusive National Service scheme for Net Zero job and volunteering opportunities
  • Support the transition to lower-carbon farming methods by introducing a new system of farm support for sustainable agriculture

Sara Thiam, SCDI’s Chief Executive, said:

“Our vision is for Scotland to be a world leader in Clean Growth, which delivers for people, for our economy and for our planet. This report sets out a positive plan for action for Scotland, one that all sectors and geographies can get behind. We firmly believe that these recommendations will create to a cleaner greener Scotland, which is fit for the future, not just in the aftermath of the global pandemic but for decades to come.”

Francesca Osowska, CEO of NatureScot, highlights the economic opportunities associated with preserving our natural environment, saying:

“We welcome the importance placed on a nature-rich future in the report. We look forward to working further with industry and business given the broad benefits that nature brings to the economy and society. The report provides an excellent platform for our discussions at the SCDI Forum next week.”

Sustainability Director Mike Tholen from OGUK, The UK Oil and Gas Industry Association, believes this has been an extremely positive partnership, which brings civic Scotland together to drive change to deliver a successful, inclusive and fair transition towards a lower carbon future:

“This report shows how Scotland’s changing oil and gas industry can help meet our climate ambitions while also using our essential expertise to secure the exciting new energy jobs of the future. With government support and constructive partnerships across industry, we can make best use of our homegrown talent, protect consumer affordability and support energy communities to adapt, thrive and capture new opportunities.”

Councillor Joe Cullinane, Leader of North Ayrshire Council and Cabinet Member for Community Wealth Building, said:

“It is clear now more than ever that we need a new economic model – one that works for people and planet. North Ayrshire Council published our Economic Recovery and Renewal Approach in September which sets out a local Green New Deal and how we will build back our economy better, fairer and greener through Community Wealth Building. We’re ready to play our part and are taking action now to reach net zero by 2030, ensuring economic, social and environmental justice for the communities of North Ayrshire

Dave Gorman, Director of Social Responsibility and Sustainability, University of Edinburgh, valued the variety of solutions created in the report, commenting:

“‘Now more than ever we need an economy that works for the climate, for nature and for people. This Manifesto for Clean Growth sets out a wealth of ideas for government, businesses and citizens to tackle the great challenges we face in a way that benefits everyone. The University of Edinburgh is delighted to be part of the SCDI’s Clean Growth Leadership Group and is committed to ensuring we assist in delivering the skills and training society needs now and in the future.”

Andy McDonald, Scottish Enterprise’s Head of Low Carbon Transition, said:

 “We have worked closely as part of SCDI’s Clean Growth Leadership Group to ensure we can tackle the challenges and support businesses to look to the opportunities around climate change.  I welcome the key areas set out within the Manifesto for Clean Growth as it is important as leaders to work together for the economy, climate and Scottish communities as we grasp the economic opportunities a net zero future offers the Scottish economy.”

Will Gardiner, Drax Group CEO, said:

“Scotland can kickstart a green economic recovery by embracing flexible technologies like pumped hydro storage at Drax’s iconic Cruachan power station.

“Innovative pumped hydro storage projects like Cruachan 2 are essential to delivering a net zero electricity system. With an appropriate investment framework, projects like this will be transformative for Scotland, the UK and our climate – expanding capacity to support more wind power whilst creating skilled jobs in rural Scotland.”

Councillor Murray Lyle, Leader of Perth & Kinross Council said:

“Perth & Kinross Council is committed to being at the forefront of the green revolution for the health and economic benefit of all our citizens, as our Climate Emergency Action Plan and the development of the Perth Eco Innovation Park demonstrate.

“This is more important than ever as we recover from the Coronavirus pandemic. Our work with the SCDI’s Clean Growth Leadership Group helps set out not just the challenges of Scotland moving to Net Zero but the enormous opportunities available through Clean Growth.

“What this report clearly shows is that failure to act is not an option and it will require commitment and collaboration across all sectors to achieve Net Zero by 2045.”