Ground-Breaking Collaboration Between Citizens & Politicians on Scotland’s Journey to Net Zero

The Scottish Government has welcomed all 81 recommendations produced by Scotland’s Citizen’s Assembly and those of the Children’s Parliament

I am delighted to support this package of recommendations from Scotland’s Climate Assembly.

FM of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon

The actions undertaken will also adhere to the principles of a Just Transition.

The Scottish Government’s paper has responded to all 81 recommendations with the actions they will take to move Scotland towards a more sustainable future.

A series of 16 goals has been set.

Goal 1 Resources

  • Regulations to ban some of the most problematic single-use plastic items will come into force on 1 June 2022.
  • Based on new research from Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), we will explore how reducing both packaging and food waste can be achieved, taking account of the Assembly’s recommendation as we develop policy.
  • We will bring forward a Circular Economy Bill and consider the Assembly’s recommendations as part of this
  • We will legislate for an EPR system for packaging in partnership with other UK administrations, and will consider the inclusion of lifetime product emissions as recommended by the Assembly.
  • We will help fund a new national network of community sharing libraries and repair cafes across Scotland.

Goal 2 Building Quality

  • We will ensure the recommendations on standards made by the Assembly are included within the response to a consultation on proposed improvements to the energy standard within Scottish building regulations.
  • We will investigate the feasibility of legislation on the design of buildings for recycling and reuse and provide an update on this before the end of 2022.
  • We will investigate opportunities for whole life emission reporting and will provide an update on this before the end of 2022.

Goal 3 Retrofit Homes

  • We will co-produce a new ‘Heat in Buildings Supply Chain Delivery Plan’ by Summer 2022 which will set out further detail on support for workforce development and retraining, in line with the Assembly’s recommendations.
  • We will keep our fuel poverty targets under review, and in 2025 will identify whether it is possible to bring the target dates forward.

Goal 4 Standards and Regulation

  • We will consult on measures to support businesses in transitioning to net zero including, for large businesses, annual public disclosure of how climate change will affect their business.
  • We will consult on requiring a published carbon management plan for achieving emissions reductions at a level consistent with Scotland’s 2045 net zero target for businesses receiving grant or loan / equity funding of over £500,000 and for major contracts.
  • We will review our public sector food procurement guidance document Catering for Change, alongside other work, considering how to integrate healthy, nutritious, plant-based and low carbon foods including sustainably produced fruit, vegetables, fish, seafood and meat, into public sector canteens.

Goal 5 Public Transport

Implement an integrated, accessible and affordable public transport system and improved local infrastructure throughout Scotland that reduces the need for private cars and supports active travel.

Goal 6 Travel Emissions

Lead the way in minimising the carbon emissions caused by necessary travel and transport by investing in the exploration and early adoption of alternative fuel sources across all travel modes.

Goal 7 Carbon Labelling

  • We will explore the feasibility of implementing food carbon labelling in Scotland.
  • We will undertake a feasibility study to explore implementation options for product carbon labelling in Scotland, and the benefits and challenges associated with each.

Goal 8 Education

  • We have established a Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan Implementation Steering Group to drive activity and develop an Implementation Plan to set out a route map for skills provision in Scotland, supporting the retraining and upskilling needed for the transition to net zero.
  • We will publish a bespoke public engagement strategy for heat in buildings.
  • We are updating and strengthening our Learning for Sustainability Action Plan and will ensure the content of this takes full account of the Assembly’s recommendations.

Goal 9 Land Use

Balance the needs of the environment, landowners and communities across Scotland for sustainable land use that achieves emission reductions.

Goal 10 Communities

  • We will be working with the Scottish Community Development Centre (SCDC) to explore and develop Green Participatory Budgeting initiatives.
  • We will consider the Assembly’s recommendations as we review the Land Rights and Responsibilities Statement, and as part of the new Land Reform Bill.

Goal 11 Circular Economy

  • We will consider the Assembly’s recommendations as we develop plans for our Circular Economy Bill.
  • We will consider the Assembly’s recommendation to incentivise the use of Scottish grown and produced materials in house construction as we develop our construction sector Recovery Plan.
  • Our Retail Strategy will promote local production and a reduced carbon footprint in response to the Assembly’s recommendations.

Goal 12 Work and Volunteering

  • Drawing on Assembly recommendations, we launched the Green Jobs Workforce Academy in August 2021.
  • We will consider the Assembly’s recommendations as we develop a Volunteering Action Plan with stakeholders.

Goal 13 Business

  • We have committed to develop: a set of wellbeing indicators to ensure that environmental, economic, human and social
    capitals are embedded; creation of a green industrial catalyst fund; and provision of tailored support for businesses with alternative ownership models.
  • We will continue to explore options to support award schemes and/or provide funding to support sustainable practices and innovation adaptation in businesses

Goal 14 20 Minute Communities

We have commissioned a programme of work with Scottish Futures Trust to help facilitate a wider roll-out of work hubs across Scotland.

Goal 15 Taxation

We have committed to work with our agencies and stakeholders to design and implement a skills guarantee for workers in carbon intense sectors.

Goal 16 Measuring Success

Reframe the national focus and vision for Scotland’s future away from economic growth and Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in order to reflect climate change goals towards the prioritisation of a more person and community centred vision of thriving people, thriving communities and thriving climate.

The Scottish Citizen Climate Assembly will meet again in 2022 when it will examine the goals and actions set by the Scottish Government and how these will have progressed by then.

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Net Zero Secretary in the Scottish Government Michael Matheson said:

“Scotland’s Climate Assembly has been a truly historic process and involved a ground-breaking collaboration that engaged people from across the country.

“As we work towards net zero, we will ensure the Assembly’s recommendations continue to guide decision-making.  It is particularly fitting, to be publishing the government’s response now, as we seek to ensure a lasting legacy from COP26.

“The Climate Assembly has worked closely with the Children’s Parliament, to ensure that, for the first time, children have directly been involved and we will ensure young people continue to be part of the decisions around our net zero future.

“It is another example of the unique approach we are taking to tackle climate change in Scotland, ensuring a greener, fairer future for everyone.”

Image credit Martin Laird