Environmental Impact

Putting sustainability at the heart of your business can boost productivity, open up new markets and benefit your local community.

In a nutshell

Climate change is one of the greatest challenges faced by us all, and everyone has a part to play in reducing our impact. This means managing your business in a sustainable way that reduces greenhouse gas emissions and improves resource efficiency.

What's the business benefit?

Managing your business in a sustainable way can improve business efficiency, help you be at the forefront of emerging markets and technologies, and enhance your brand with increasingly aware customers.

By improving your environmental impact, you will not only help to meet the demands of your existing customers, but also generate new customers, who are looking for environmentally friendly businesses.

As our environment changes, and by improving your environmental impact you will be making your business more resilient to these changes.

Why is this included in the Scottish Business Pledge?

Seizing the opportunities in the transition to a carbon neutral economy, using finite resources wisely, and protecting and enhancing our natural environment are vital to the future success of Scotland’s economy and businesses. They are also essential in order to tackle climate change and fulfil the rights of people in Scotland and around the world to benefit from a safe, clean and healthy environment.

It is increasingly important that everyone plays their part. Environmental challenges will be solved by all parts of society working together to change the way things are done.

Businesses have a central role, together with government, to play in growing a greener, fairer more resilient Scotland, with environmentally sustainable and inclusive economic growth.

Why is this good for Scotland?

There is a huge economic benefit by being at the forefront of the global transition to a low-carbon economy. The International Finance Corporation indicates that the Paris Agreement will help open up $23 trillion worth of opportunities between now and 2030.

There are also enormous opportunities in the ‘circular economy’, which encourages the development of business models that re-use products and materials, turning waste into economic value. Adopting circular business models can improve productivity and efficiency and open up new markets. This also benefits the environment by conserving finite resources and minimising pollution and waste.

Scotland’s range of natural resources, known as our Natural Capital, is worth a staggering £291 billion to our economy and society, and is fundamental to a wide range of businesses. Protecting and enhancing natural capital can help to improve the long-term productivity of your business, manage risk and demonstrate your green credentials. It also helps to conserve wildlife and the services from nature, such as clean water and flood protection, on which we all depend.

Not only do these approaches benefit businesses and the environment, they will also create co-benefits for your local community and for the whole of Scotland. For example, cleaner air and more active travel will help make the population healthier.

What should I do now?

We will recognise your Business Pledge if you can show that you have assessed the environmental impact associated with your activities and have taken action to address it. Examples of actions might be:

  • Business planning, including actions that address environmental improvements and efficiencies;
  • Re-designing products and services to minimise waste;
  • Investing in energy efficiency measures (such as improving building insulation, choosing low energy appliances and processes);
  • Investing in low (or zero) emission heat and energy (such as heat pumps, solar or wind powered electricity);
  • Setting targets for reducing your energy consumption;
  • Switching to renewable energy sources. Eg. investing in EV / hybrid vehicles, or encouraging more sustainable modes of transport for employees;
  • Introducing measures to protect and enhance biodiversity;
  • Larger companies using the natural capital protocol when developing policies;
  • Working with your supply chain to address these issues.

Larger businesses can also be aware of the Natural Capital Protocol and take into account the environmental impact of their decisions.

What help is available if I can't make the commitment right now?

For further information see the links below:

Zero Waste Scotland

Natural Capital Coalition

Energy Saving Trust

Scottish Government – Energy Efficiency Advice and Support