Hutton sets targets for net zero emissions

05/09/2023
Stefan Jindra (The James Hutton Institute)

INDEPENDENT research organisation The James Hutton Institute has set out a target to reach net zero emissions from its activities by 2035.

In its new Climate Action Plan 2035, the Hutton also commits to reach net zero emissions from other indirect sources, such as emissions from suppliers, by 2040. 

In addition, it has a target to increase the proportion of its suppliers with net zero emissions targets by 5% of its total spending, year on year.

Stefan Jindra, Sustainability Coordinator at the Hutton, said: “We recognise the scale of the challenge and know we have to lead by example. We’re doing this through our research into ways to find creative scientific solutions to the nature and climate crises, and also how we operate.

“Since 2019, we’ve already reduced our emissions by 15%, through more efficient buildings, replacing lighting, changing our ultralow temperature freezer settings, and using wind, solar and biomass heating, as well as native woodland planting, agroforestry and restoring peatland at our Glensaugh research farm.

“But there’s much more we must do. At our main campuses in Invergowrie and Aberdeen, the focus is on heat and power. We’re working with a local community benefit organisation in Invergowrie on a solar array for renewable power and will be using heat pumps to replace our gas heating. In Aberdeen we’re considering options for heating, including using heat recovery from wastewater.”

The James Hutton Institute has more than 550 scientists and professional staff across its campuses as well as three research farms, all of which are focused towards finding sustainable solutions around land use and the environment.

Professor Colin Campbell, the Hutton’s Chief Executive, commented: “A lot of our research is about mitigating and adapting to climate change, such as developing drought resilient crops, protecting biodiversity and how land use effects soil carbon stocks. Through our Just Transition Hub project in Aberdeen, we’ll be helping build capacity and share expertise in these areas.

“At Glensaugh, our Climate-Positive Farming Initiative’s HydroGlen project will test how a farming community can run entirely on renewables, largely through green hydrogen, while we also test and demonstrate how we can monitor the impact of land use change on soil carbon stocks.

“To move towards UK and Scottish Government net zero ambitions, innovation is needed and through initiatives like these and our International Barley Hub (IBH) and the Advanced Plant Growth Centre (APGC), Scotland is at the forefront of tackling these issues.”

The Climate Action Plan 2035 goals are to reach net zero Scope 1 and 2 emissions by 2035 and net zero Scope 3 emissions by 2040. Scope 1 and 2 are those directly emitted or caused by energy use and travel, while scope 3 emissions include those from suppliers of goods or services.

The Hutton’s Climate Action Plan 2035 builds on its 2021 Climate Action Plan, which committed the institute to a two thirds reduction in scope 1, 2 and 3 emissions by 2030. 

The Hutton’s plan was part of its submission to the Kings Award for Enterprise for Sustainable Development, which they were recently awarded.

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