SCOTTISH Enterprise is launching a free online Net Zero Accelerator tool today (Monday 25 July) to support more businesses to develop net zero plans and further the economic development agency’s commitment to embedding sustainability across its work.
The new tool helps businesses by making recommendations across five key areas on how they can adapt and work towards developing a practical, data-led and people-focused net zero road map.
Companies using the tool can analyse the impact of their operations on the environment to help them set net zero targets as well as identify opportunities to innovate or adapt. The tool also looks at leadership and staff engagement on climate change issues so that businesses can take staff on the journey to net zero with them.
According to the Office for National Statistics only 23% of companies with 250+ employees have a climate change strategy in place and figures from the British Business Bank highlight that only 9% of SMEs in the UK are measuring their carbon footprint.
A more positive trend in research from the Fraser of Allander Institute shows that 59% of Scottish businesses have either committed to, or achieved, net zero targets, slightly ahead of the rest of the UK at around 57%.
Feedback from companies Scottish Enterprise supports highlights that businesses are opting to become greener due to demand from consumers as well as attracting staff and government support available to sustainable initiatives.
The fluctuating cost of energy is also a concern for business leaders and the Net Zero Accelerator tool includes the use of resources in the mix to guide businesses on ways to reduce costs too.
Ian Carstairs, sustainability team leader at Scottish Enterprise, said: “Scotland hosted COP26 in Glasgow last year but we need to maintain the momentum and encourage action to further the economic and ecological advantage for Scotland.”
“We are supporting more businesses to reduce their environmental impact and have made great progress with a quarter of our projects in 2021/22 equating to over 3,250 green jobs and delivering a reduction of over 280,000 tonnes of Co2.”
“The free tool launching today will help more companies accelerate their journey to net zero as Scotland has huge potential in this area and we are fully committed to grasping the net zero opportunities that will deliver a just and fair economic transformation.”
The new tool launches hot on the heels of Scottish Enterprise updating its own net zero framework that focuses on areas such as innovation, place development and climate training for its employees.
Scottish Enterprise is committed to supporting Scotland’s economic transformation to net zero and has reduced its own emissions by over 80% as well as delivering a reduction of 285k tonnes of Co2 from its supported businesses and projects.
The enterprise agency is also furthering climate training for employees to build on initiatives such as leadership training and carbon lifecycle analysis that formed part of a pilot earlier this year.
Alongside wider support Scottish Enterprise has also delivered specific green jobs funding of over £10m during 2021/22 to support and safeguard more than 750 green jobs and also has a range of targeted initiatives available from the low carbon manufacturing challenge fund to the zero emissions mobility fund targeted at heavy duty vehicles.