Chapter 8.2 Business and Industry

Boost business participation in climate action

Proactively harness the power of businesses across Scotland for climate action and sustainable development by investing in awareness raising, and cultural and behaviour change programmes; asking more from businesses, including ensuring those accessing public money are, at a minimum, required to commit to learning about climate change and their role in driving transformative climate action, and stressing the opportunities and longterm business benefits of acting on climate change.

UK Govt
Scottish Govt
Local Authorities
Emissions reduction
Behaviour change

Scotland should deepen understanding of climate change across all kinds of businesses while creating platforms for meaningful and sustained public engagement.

While the introduction of an Environmental Impact element to the voluntary Scottish Business Pledge was positive, it remains optional and the Scottish Government should use public procurement to drive improved business practice through greater conditionality. The Scottish Parliament’s lead committee on climate change previously said that businesses in receipt of public money should “demonstrate credible action” in delivering social and environmental objectives. This should be embedded within initiatives like Fair Work First, or equivalent procurement focused schemes, making it compulsory for decision-making managers to undertake climate training (for instance, RSGS’ Climate Solutions) and then to identify specific actions to support transformative climate action in support of Scotland’s national climate change aims.

A significant factor in uptake of climate measures within public and private sectors is a lack of traction and knowledge of solutions within senior positions. A fairly simple way to rectify this, beyond universal education, is to introduce minimum requirements for board membership, so that every board is encouraged to appoint at least one climate lead with relevant expertise. This would help embed the commitment to net zero, embolden people within organisations to bring forward changes, and protect the organisations by ensuring they had market prescience and clarity around risks and opportunities attached to innovation and investment. It should be a reasonable expectation of any organisation with a serious net zero commitment and helps evidence that commitment, providing a strategic voice which challenges tendencies of short termism and one dimensional fiscal predominance in decision making.

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Version 1.0: September 2023

The contents of this document will be updated on a regular basis.