Scotland's Taking Action Toolkit
Scotland’s taking action to tackle the twin crises of climate change and biodiversity loss. Government, businesses, communities and individuals are working together to protect Scotland and our planet. We need everyone across the nation to take action and play their part to reach net zero emissions. Find out how you can get involved in our campaign and together, let’s do net zero.
Following the successful launch of the Climate Emergency campaign with the support of Forth Environment Link and Bantaskine Primary School in Falkirk with the Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero, Energy and Transport Michael Matheson, the campaign moves into its second phase which focuses on the action that Scotland is taking.
As a nation, Scotland is providing leadership and showing that change is possible in a fair and just way that can bring about economic growth. We are coming together to respond and adapt to the changes we have seen in our climate and preparing for the challenges we’ll face as our climate continues to change.
To support the campaign, we have gathered a “collective” of influential, cultural and business voices across five core areas of consumer interest as we come out of the pandemic this summer; music and events; food and drink; fashion and retail; travel and tourism and home and outdoors.
Reinforcing the overarching call to action #LetsDoNetZero, these leading voices will provide an ongoing visibility, awareness and encouragement of activity that will grow from launch in June and continue throughout the summer. Using their channels and networks, they’ll call on people across Scotland, to unleash their net zero potential and act now.
Hayley Scanlan, Fashion Designer
“The fashion industry is growing at an exponential rate and is more accessible than ever before. This, however, brings its disadvantages, such as fast fashion, which is wreaking havoc on the environment. Through this campaign I hope to show how we can move from a ‘take, make and dispose’ economy to a ‘reduce, reuse, repair and recycle’ circular economy where goods and materials are kept in circulation for as long as possible.”
Lee Craigie, Active Nation Commissioner
“In my opinion, active travel should be renamed joyful journeys because travelling this way helps me decompress and reconnect whereas driving makes me feel the opposite. Transport is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland but it doesn’t have to be this way. I’m pleased to be part of this campaign to help share the message that reducing our congestion and pollution levels significantly will also make us healthier and happier in our efforts to reach net zero.”
Mollie Hughes, Adventurer and Influencer
"I’m passionate about the outdoors and implementing ways to help protect it. The impact from the climate emergency on biodiversity is devastating, with many species facing extinction. There are countless ways we can help make space for more nature around us and allow it to truly thrive, which is why I’m so excited to be part of this campaign as we all need to act together now to meet our net zero goals.”
Gary Maclean, Chef
“I always place huge importance on working with seasonal, local produce and reducing carbon emissions wherever possible. Food waste is one of the biggest culprits of greenhouse gas emissions, and it’s so important we educate each other on ways we can help reduce this. By making healthy and sustainable food choices, we can all play our part in helping Scotland reach net zero.”
Geoff Ellis, CEO of DF Concerts
"Reducing carbon emissions in the music and events industry has never been more of a pressing issue than it is now. We can all make changes and innovate in our own areas to help tackle the climate emergency and meet net zero targets. Within our company, we have placed environmental sustainability at the heart of our operations, making sure we are playing our part to help reach the target of net zero in Scotland. Everyone across all areas of the industry can help achieve this goal – from artists to promoters to music fans – and the time to make these changes is now. By everyone getting involved, sharing knowledge on the subject and acting together, we can reach Scotland’s goal of net zero which will transform in a positive way our economy and environment, building healthier and greener places to live."
Show your support on social media
Campaign messaging will be shared from the Net Zero Scotland social media channels - @ScotGovNetZero. We’d love it if you could show your support by liking, commenting on and sharing our content.
Remember to tag us in your posts – @ScotGovNetZero – and use our campaign hashtag #LetsDoNetZero
Below are detailed key messages grouped into key behaviour areas. We appreciate that some of these messages will be more relevant than others for your own channels and activity, so please use whichever messages work best for you. The messages can be weaved into any additional communication platforms that you are using such as blog posts, Whatsapp/ SMS or social media posts.
- Transport is the biggest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions in Scotland, accounting for nearly 36%.
- As over half of journeys taken in Scotland are under 5km, we can reduce congestion and pollution significantly and reach our net zero target if we prioritise walking, wheeling or cycling instead of taking the car.
- The Scottish Government is investing over £500 million over the next five years to deliver active travel infrastructure so we can all find more active ways to get around. Choosing to travel those shorter everyday journeys by walking, wheeling or cycling helps more than the environment, keeping us healthier and happier.
- Walking can help prevent a range of health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, obesity, some cancers and Alzheimer’s. It can help us sleep better, help to manage pain and have a positive effect on our mental and social health too.
- Active travel not only benefits the individual, but it’s good for society in general, helping to reduce congestion on the roads and pollution from exhaust fumes which in turn reduces emissions and helps meet net zero targets.
- Interest free loans are also available to help with the cost of purchasing an e-bike or e-cargo bike.
- For more information on how to do net zero by choosing active travel, visit: www.netzeronation.scot/take-action/active-travel.
Travel by Public Transport
- As the nation comes out of the pandemic and restrictions start to ease, the number of people travelling with start to grow. More people using public transport decreases the amount of greenhouse gas emissions entering the atmosphere.
- Whether commuting to work or travelling shorter distances for school, leisure purposes or other reasons, leave the car at home and use public transport when COVID-19 travel guidance confirms it is safe to do so where walking, wheeling cycling isn’t possible.
- Replacing car journeys with public transport can reduce CO2 emissions by 42% if using the bus and 73% if using the train, helping Scotland reach net zero.
- One double decker bus is the equivalent of removing 75 single occupancy cars from Scotland’s roads. Taking the bus is a greener way to travel but we are going further by moving to use ever greener buses in our public service fleet.
- The Scottish Government is investing over £500m in bus priority infrastructure to help tackle the negative effects of congestion on bus passengers and increase the number of people who use the bus to travel – where COVID-19 travel guidance allows.
- The Scottish Government recently invested over £40 million in zero emission buses. Many of these are being built in Falkirk, supporting skilled, green manufacturing jobs in Scotland as well as reducing transport emissions.
- The Scottish Government concessionary bus travel scheme promotes public transport use by providing free bus travel for all over 60s and qualifying disabled people in Scotland. The Scottish Government has also legislated to allow for free bus travel for under 19s and committed to extending this to under 22s.
- Employers and workplaces may have annual travel pass schemes in place that support individuals to leave the car at home and use public transport.
- For more information on how to do net zero by using public transport, visit: www.netzeronation.scot/take-action/public-transport.
Travel by Car
- Around three quarters of people in Scotland have access to a car and cars are responsible for 40% of all transport emissions.
- People have been using cars less during the pandemic as they’ve worked from home, avoided recreational travel and taken part in activities online and from home.
- In Scotland, we’re phasing out the need for new petrol and diesel cars and vans by 2030 to help reach our net zero emissions target and tackle climate change. We’ve invested over £40 million to establish one of the largest electric vehicle charging network in the UK – ChargePlace Scotland.
- If every day journeys aren’t possible through active travel or public transport, switching from a petrol or diesel car to an electric vehicle makes a real difference to emissions. Electric vehicles don’t burn any fuel so don’t release any CO2 emissions into the atmosphere.
- A survey published in 2020 by Which revealed that electric vehicle drivers are the happiest. Electric vehicles are great for both the health and environment of Scotland due to reduced emissions, meaning less pollution and cleaner air.
- There’s an extensive local charging network for electric vehicles with over 1,700 public charging points now available across Scotland, including varying charger types. With developments in battery technology, many vehicles now have the range necessary to meet most journeys without needing to charge. In fact the average electric car can run for 181 miles before needing charged which is 45 miles more than the average motorist clocks up in a week.
- Whilst car sales declined overall last year, there are more electric vehicles on Scotland’s roads. The variety of models coming on the market is also increasing, boosting choice and a wider range of price points.
- Consider your need to travel on a daily basis and choose the most sustainable option to help tackle climate change and reach net zero. For shorter journeys, the best option is always to walk, wheel or cycle.
- Once you have an electric vehicle, the running costs are a lot lower, with no road tax and electric charging proving to be cheaper than fuelling by petrol or diesel.
- There is financial support available to support the switch to electric vehicles including a grant to have a charge point installed at home. So far, we’ve provided over £80 million of funding to help people make the switch to low carbon vehicles.
- For more information on how to do net zero by switching to an electric vehicle and the financial support available, visit: www.netzeronation.scot/take-action/electric-vehicles.
Nature and the Outdoors
- Biodiversity refers to all the different types of animals, plants and other organisms in our natural world. Scotland has an exciting and biodiverse landscape and is home to over 90,000 animal and plant species.
- Our natural environment has shaped much of our history, culture and identity and is one of our greatest national assets.
- The impact from the climate emergency on biodiversity is devastating with 11% of our species in Scotland facing extinction and nearly 25% of our wildlife lost with more at risk.
- Our land provides the potential to create nature-based solutions to climate change, by increasing forestry and woodlands and also restoring peatland. We have already created over 22,000 hectares of new woodland in 2019/20 and 2020/21, and we will continue to invest to increase overall forest cover in Scotland through the Low Carbon Fund which will increase new planting and nursery capacity. Restoring peatlands (which account for more than 20% of Scotland’s land cover) means they can actively remove and store carbon from the atmosphere, support habitats and species and help to improve water quality and manage flood risk.
- There are plenty of health benefits to spending lots of time outdoors from helping to de-stress and unwind to improving our physical strength.
- During the pandemic, we spent a lot of time getting outdoors and for many there was a greater appreciation for the environment around us.
- By helping nature, it can truly help us. There are lots of ways that we can help to make space for more nature around us and allow it to thrive.
- Recycle any food scraps - if you have any seeds or leftover, softened fruits, leave them out for the wildlife in your garden, whether that be badgers or birds.
- Rewild your garden – leave some areas of your garden overgrown, let leaves, twigs and pockets of rainwater gather in areas for insects, toads, frogs and other small animals to benefit from. especially in the colder months.
- Feed the birds – put up bird feeders and keep them clean and topped up. Providing water always helps too.
- Grow a hedge rather than build a fence – growing a hedge offers a habitat for wildlife that fences just can’t match.
- Protect the compost bin – try not to disturb any compost heaps or bins until spring time, as many creatures hibernate and shelter there over the winter months
- For more information on how to do net zero by helping nature, visit: www.netzeronation.scot/take-action/nature-and-outdoors.
- Greenhouse gas emissions come from the energy and resources required to produce, process, package, transport and cook food.
- Food waste is any leftover or unwanted food and if this is thrown in landfill instead of being properly recycled, it rots, creating the destructive greenhouse gas methane which is even more harmful to the planet than carbon dioxide.
- Around a third of the food we produce is wasted worldwide each year – that’s 1.3 billion tonnes of food that is never eaten and thrown away.
- Food in all its stages contributes significantly to climate change and is currently estimated to account for 31% of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide.
- If food waste were a country, it would be the world’s third-largest greenhouse gas emitter.
- In total, almost two thirds of food waste in Scotland comes directly from households (61%).
- When it comes to tackling climate change, food waste is an area where individuals, companies and organisations can all make a difference.
- If we stopped all food waste, the environmental impact would be the equivalent of taking almost one in five cars off Scotland’s roads.
- There are lots of things you can do to limit the impact on the climate from food from buying locally produced items, following food seasons, using meal planning to make sure you only buy what you need to eat, recycling food waste or using the unavoidable food waste in garden spaces as compost for soil improvement or food for the wildlife.
- 80% of households in Scotland have access to a local food waste collection service but only 55% of those households use it.
- During the pandemic food waste recycling may have been negatively impacted due to waste service disruption, but services should be resuming, so now is the time to act.
- By making healthy and sustainable food choices, we can all play our part in helping Scotland reach net zero.
- For more information on how to do net zero by eating greener visit: www.netzeronation.scot/take-action/eating-greener.
- Meeting our net zero targets means reducing and ultimately removing emissions from heating our homes by upgrading them to make them more energy efficient, comfortable and cheaper to heat.
- How we heat our homes contributes significantly to our climate change emissions and around 23% of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions comes from heating our homes and workplaces. Sustainably managing home energy efficiency is a key factor in helping to reach net zero targets for 2045.
- Due to COVID-19, there is an increased pressure on many household energy bills as a result of increased usage with people spending more time at home.
- Making homes more energy efficient will also help us to tackle fuel poverty by making homes cheaper to heat as well as warmer.
- Upgrading to a zero emissions heating system and insulating your home can dramatically help improve the efficiency of your heating. A home that isn’t well insulated can lose more than 50% of its heat through its roof and walls so making improvements can help your finances as well as lower emissions.
- To achieve net zero, existing homes and buildings across Scotland will need to get to an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) equivalent rating of C – and we’re making good progress. Already 45% of homes in Scotland have an EPC rating of C or better.
- The reformed EPC will also contain an indicator for the cost of heating which will inform building owners and tenants of the impact of energy efficiency and heating measures on their energy bills.
- The Scottish Government funded Home Energy Scotland advice service provides clear, free and impartial advice on how you can make your home more energy efficient. There are a range of grants and support available to make homes warmer and cheaper to heat, including renewable and low carbon measures. Contact Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282 to find out what support is available or visit www.homeenergyscotland.org.
- Over 90% of households currently use gas or oil to heat their homes but renewable heat energy is becoming more and more popular from a variety of sources including solar panels, boilers that burn biomass or low carbon gases and from heat pumps that extract heat from the soil, air or nearby water source.
- You could get funding to help with the cost of installing energy efficient and zero emissions measures, such as an interest-free loan of up to £13,500 with cashback or help worth up to £5,000 to cover the cost of installing measures. Find out what help is available by visiting www.netzeronation.scot/take-action/home-energy or call Home Energy Scotland on 0808 808 2282.
- Upgrading your heating system or insulation can have a big impact on household emissions but there are lots of smaller changes you can make around your home to help you save money and energy, such as turning your heating down by just one degree, investing in smart heating controls, understanding your energy bill, draught-proofing windows, doors and cracks, switching appliances off standby and getting your boiler checked so it is operating as efficiently as possible.
- For more information on how to do net zero by sustainably managing home energy efficiency, visit: www.netzeronation.scot/take-action/home-energy.
What We Buy
Carbon emissions are made through the creation of materials, goods and services as well as when they are disposed of, so by keeping existing materials in circulation for longer we can significantly help to reduce their carbon footprint and help Scotland meet its net zero target.
Four-fifths (80%) of Scotland’s carbon footprint comes from the materials, goods and services that are produced, used and then often disposed of after just using only once.
Over the past 20 years, Scotland’s progress in reducing waste emissions has been striking – we’re recycling more than we send to landfill and the amount of waste going to landfill is at its lowest since records began. But there’s still a lot of work to do to reduce waste further and meet our net zero emissions target.
As shops open up again, it’s important to consider our buying habits and how essential it is to make new purchases. Reducing, reusing, repairing and recycling clothing, furniture and electrical items, will lower the carbon emissions that come from purchasing everything new all of the time.
It’s important for Scotland to move from a ‘take, make and dispose’ economy to a ‘reduce, reuse, repair and recycle’ circular economy where goods and materials are kept in circulation for as long as possible.
There are plenty of quick and effective ways people can do net zero through what they are buying whether that’s considering whether that item is necessary to purchase or deciding if it can be borrowed from family or friends, rented or if not, whether a second hand purchase can be made.
For more information on how to do net zero through reduce, reuse and recycle visit: www.netzeronation.scot/take-action/reduce-re-use-recycle.
To support the different behaviours people can take to help reach net zero emissions, we have created a range of assets to support action. Below are links to campaign films which can be downloaded and shared across your channels or embedded within your own websites.
Scotland’s Taking Action 40” Film
15” Energy Efficiency Film
15” Food (Eating Greener) Film
15” Active and Sustainable Travel Film
15” Reduce Waste Film
The Scottish Government appreciates the exceptional work that is already taking place by many of our partners. Climate change and biodiversity loss are twin crises that should be tackled together and when accomplished collectively all of our voices will help reinforce the urgency to the nation to #LetsDoNetZero. Below is a selection of projects from some of our future-thinking partners, who you may also want to support.
Across Scotland’s creative sector an enormous amount of work is happening to improve sustainability, to influence and inspire, using art and creativity to inform opinion, provoke action, to challenge and, ultimately, change behaviour.
With support from Creative Scotland, Creative Carbon Scotland has developed a framework for carbon reporting to improve sustainability across the culture sector and brought together a network of 300 arts organisations committed to sustainability through the Green Arts Initiative.
In 2021, a major nation-wide project led by Creative Carbon Scotland and supported by Creative Scotland is Climate Beacons. This will see art and cultural organisations across the country collaborate with environmental organisations to develop a range of creative activities focused on addressing the climate emergency, stimulate public conversation and amplify the role of art in Scottish climate action.
Cultural organisations including An Lanntair, Taigh Chearsabagh, Lyth Arts Centre, Timespan, Dundee Repertory Theatre, V&A Dundee, ONFife, Cove Park, The Beacon Arts Centre and RIG Arts will collaborate with organisations including SEPA, Community Energy Scotland, British Geological Survey, James Hutton Institute and Argyll and the Isles Coast & Countryside Trust, amongst others on the long-term public engagement programme in the lead-up to and following the COP26.
To find out more about the work of Creative Carbon Scotland and the role of the arts, screen, cultural and creative industries in contributing to a more environmentally sustainable Scotland please visit: https://www.creativecarbonscotland.com.
“Every short journey cycled rather than driven will make a difference in tackling the climate emergency.”
Cycling Scotland offers a variety of programmes that are tackling the climate emergency.
Just launched is Cycling Scotland’s annual Give Cycle Space campaign which aims to encourage drivers to give space to people in bikes. It’s this fear of road traffic that is the number one reason people don’t cycle. Supported by Police Scotland, the key message is around legal consequences of close passing - it’s a dangerous driving offence to close-pass and can lead to three points on your licence and a fine. For Scotland to achieve net zero emissions, we need more journeys by bike, so we have to tackle safety concerns that are the major barrier.
Cycling Scotland also run its Bikeability Scotland programme for school children, designed to give children the skills and confidence to cycle safely on the roads, and encourage them to travel by bike. Cycling reduces emissions and at a time of global emergency, cycle training is fantastic to give children some control of these issues and by learning to cycle they are able to do something about it.
This video explains how Bikeability trainings helps tackle the climate emergency: https://youtu.be/qucCODcqacM.
VisitScotland recognises tourism is not exempt from the causes and impacts of climate change, despite the immense challenges the industry faces due to the coronavirus pandemic. Sustainable practices have become a core part of VisitScotland’s operations, including the decarbonisation of the tourism sector. VisitScotland as an organisation has reduced its CO2 emissions by 74% since 2008 (prior to covid-19), which includes a 38% reduction in our travel related emissions, making great progress towards achieving the interim reduction target of 75% by 2030 on the way to NetZero by 2045.
VisitScotland also recognises its role to engage and influence the Scottish tourism and events industry and destination communities to enable and encourage adoption of responsible and low carbon tourism practices. Since 2015 its Quality Assurance programme, which has around 5000 tourism businesses, incorporates sustainability advice on issues such as energy efficiency, food waste and low carbon transport.
Certification schemes like Green Tourism, with over 800 Scottish business members, also highlight the range of sustainable best practice within the industry, doing their part to transition to a NetZero Nation. And last year, VisitScotland became the first National Tourism Organisation to join the Tourism Declares initiative, confirming its commitment to addressing the climate emergency working collaboratively with industry, destination communities and international partners.
Looking ahead, VisitScotland is developing opportunities around a more responsible and resilient tourism sector, supporting the transition to a low carbon economy, benefitting businesses, communities, visitors, and our stunning environment.
Scottish Land Commission
The Scottish Land Commission is launching the #MyLandScotland campaign on 7 June 2021, and running for four weeks. The aim of the campaign is to connect people in urban areas to the land around them, using inspiring stories to show how Scotland’s land is owned, used and managed impacts you and the lives of those around you.
The campaign will feature the MyLand.scot hub to connect the public with land and how it has an effect on everyday life, from how it affects work and employment, to how it can affect house prices within Scotland, to how green spaces in urban areas can positively contribute to climate change and the road to net zero, and much more. The campaign aims to inspire Scottish residents in urban areas to participate in land-related conversations, ensuring land is used fairly and productively. MyLand.scot is also a place where residents within Scotland can find relevant information and resources.
Hamish Trench, Chief Executive of the Scottish Land Commission said, “The way we own and use land influences many parts of lives. From the price and availability of housing, access to greenspace, the effects of derelict sites in the heart of our communities, our ability to take climate action to giving people the means and confidence to building businesses and communities. ‘MyLand’ shines a light on communities taking an interest in the land around them so that it benefits everybody. We hope that these stories inspire people to have a look at the land around them and stir interest to take action. Helping to create a Scotland where everybody benefits from the ownership, management and use of the nation’s land.”
As part of the campaign, the Scottish Land Commission will be launching a brand new podcast, The Lay of the Land hosted by filmmaker and broadcaster Calum Maclean. This new podcast aims to explore what land means to the people of Scotland. From the way it is used and owned and how those decisions are made, to the reuse of derelict sites and the wonderful transformations that have happened in communities across Scotland.
Follow #MyLandScotland, @mylandscot and access myland.scot to join the conversation.
Edinburgh Climate Commission
As Scotland counts down to hosting COP26, Edinburgh has a unique opportunity to show the world the power of collaboration and the difference we, as a City, can make to address the climate emergency with The Edinburgh Climate Compact.
The Edinburgh Climate Compact, set up by the Edinburgh Climate Commission, is a commitment by the leading businesses and employers in Scotland’s Capital to take action within their own organisation and sectors to contribute to a green recovery and radically reduce the city’s carbon emissions. The Compact is for those organisations who are committed to being leaders in the race to net-zero and who are dedicated to moving forward, faster, together.
The Edinburgh Climate Commission will convene, catalyse and challenge organisations that commit to the Edinburgh Climate Compact, recognising and celebrating not just what those organisations are doing now, but what they will do in the journey to net-zero and a green recovery. The Edinburgh Climate Compact represents a step on the path to a new normal of sustainable business practice in a thriving green city.
Get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like your organisation to be considered as part of the Edinburgh Climate Compact.
NatureScot has launched its Make Space For Nature campaign this summer, urging everyone to take simple steps to help local wildlife, reverse nature loss and help fight climate change.
NatureScot’s research during the pandemic found 50% of people wanted to do more to help local wildlife, and summer is a great time to start making changes.
As part of the campaign, NatureScot has outlined 14 easy ways to take simple, but important, steps to help our wildlife thrive. Some of the steps outlined include introducing flowerpots or window boxes to encourage pollinators, providing water for wildlife, sharing plant cuttings with friends or neighbours, adding a bird box or feeders and taking an empty bag while outdoors to do a quick litter pick.
NatureScot Chief Executive Francesca Osowska said: “Nature loss and climate change are inextricably linked. Scotland has already lost nearly 25% of its wildlife, with birds, butterflies, mammals and moths showing an overall decline of 31% since 1994. But there is hope if everyone takes action now. If each and every one of us commits this summer to do something for nature – be that providing a pond, nature volunteering, planting pollinator-friendly flowers, mowing less or leaving areas in our gardens to flourish – we have the collective power to help reverse this trend.”
For more ways to help nature this summer, visit the Make Space For Nature ideas page.