Net Zero Programme launches Scottish Food and Drink Advisory Group

Pic Alan Richardson Free to use from Scotland Food and Drink Net Zero Iain Clunie and Simon McKeating

29 February 2024

Scotland Food & Drink Partnership Net Zero Programme launches External Advisory Group

The Scotland Food & Drink Partnership Net Zero Programme has launched an external Advisory Group consisting of experts from science, NGOs, and food related businesses, aiming to help the industry meet its Net Zero commitment by 2045.

Chaired by Professor Sir Ian Boyd, Co- Chair of First Minister’s Environmental Council and Biology Professor at the University of St. Andrews, the group will support Scotland’s food and drink industry’s Net Zero journey to ensure that Scotland delivers on our climate targets and makes the most of the changing markets both at home and abroad. The group will support the sector by providing new insights, advice, exploring new opportunities, and leading conversations on the role of food and drink in the wider national effort to reach Net Zero emissions.  

The Scotland Food & Drink Partnership’s Net Zero Commitment is an integral part of the sector’s 10-year national food and drink strategy, ‘Sustaining Scotland. Supplying the World’.

With only 50 countries having clear goals to reduce climate emissions from the food system, the Net Zero Advisory Group has been created to help address emissions within the food system, contributing to one third of all greenhouse gas emissions.

The Scotland Food & Drink Partnership’s Net Zero Programme has been pooling resources from across the sector to accelerate action to meet the Scottish Government’s 2045 Net Zero target since its inception during COP26 in 2021. The first meeting of the advisory group is set to take place on 4th of March 2024, withDavid Thomson, CEO of Food and Drink Federation Scotland, in attendance.

Iain Clunie, Net Zero Programme Director, said: “Scotland has huge potential to be a global leader in climate-friendly food production, and there is an obligation on us to grasp that opportunity.

“That is why we created the External Advisory Group; to support the Scottish food and drink industry’s Net Zero plans to ensure that we deliver on our climate targets and make the most of the evolving market opportunities presented by sustainable food products. One of the group’s first tasks will be   navigating the complex issue of the just transition – what does it mean for the Scottish food and drink industry and how can we deliver on it?”

Professor Sir Ian Boyd, Chair of the External Advisory Group, added: “We can all see that climate change has already had a severe impact on food security last winter, with the scarce availability of certain fruit and vegetables due to the severe weather conditions in the Mediterranean. With the new Advisory Group, we hope to accelerate efforts of the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership’s Net Zero journey.

“It was refreshing to see food security taking precedence at COP28 last November, with 134 countries signing on to a first-of-its-kind declaration pledging to put food systems and agriculture at the heart of their climate ambitions, and this lends itself well to customers’ demand for more sustainable food options. Scotland has an ambition to be at the forefront of the international community on sustainable food and drink production and the Advisory Group will play a pivotal role in realising that ambition.”

Members of the Net Zero Advisory group are: 

  • Professor Sir Ian Boyd FRSB FRSE FRS, Co- Chair of First Minister’s Environmental Council and Professor of Biology at the University of St Andrews
  • Professor Julie Fitzpatrick, Chief scientific Advisor to the Scottish Government
  • David Hay, Managing Director Compass Scotland, Compass Group UK & Ireland
  • Pete Ritchie, Director of NGO Nourish and Member of Scottish Food Commission 
  • Mads Fischer-Moller, Food Policy Advisor at WWF Scotland
  • Professor Wendy Russell, Plant Specialist at Aberdeen University
  • Colin Smith, CEO of the Scottish Wholesalers Association
  • Nigel Millar, Ex NFUS president
  • Iain Clunie, Programme Director, Scotland Food & Drink Partnership Net Zero Programme

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