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Agencies help businesses be more environmentally competitive

Published: 22/04/2022

Around 50 Scottish companies are calculating the carbon savings of their innovative new products and services after taking part in a pilot project.

Rachel Hunter, HIE's director of service delivery (credit: Gillian Frampton)

HIE and Scottish Enterprise (SE) teamed up to run the project, aimed at helping companies meet the growing requirement to accurately forecast their environmental impacts.

The two-month pilot recognised that environmental impact is increasingly becoming a deciding factor in a company’s overall attractiveness to investors and customers. It was aimed at raising the competitiveness of the participating companies in the marketplace by enabling them to present accurate data.

Rachel Hunter, HIE’s director of service delivery, said:

“There has never been more attention on the need to address the impacts of climate change. As part of this we can expect customers to become increasingly discerning and want their suppliers to be taking measures to reduce their carbon footprint and contribute to the country’s net zero targets.

“This pilot project has enabled companies to demonstrate to their customers, stakeholders and investors that they are doing just that. It supports them through their net zero journey and helps them achieve their climate goals.”

Renewable Parts Ltd in Argyll took part in the pilot. Michael Forbes, general manager of the company, said:

“This training and the impact forecasting tool has been of real benefit to the business. We were already monitoring and reporting on the carbon savings our customers make by buying recirculated goods as opposed to new, but the tool is a much more effective way of capturing the data and effectively displaying it back to the customer.

“We are currently rolling this process out across all of our refurbished products so we can report back individually on a saving per product type, or collectively for a customer per year or per quarter. The training was interactive and engaging and outputs of the tool are already being put to use!”

After a tendering exercise, Impact Forecast was chosen to provide its digital forecasting tool as well as coaching each company on life cycle assessment and producing carbon savings estimates which were then independently validated.

The project gave participating companies free access to these services, which would typically require a costly exercise. The programme closed with a workshop on how companies can pitch their low carbon credentials to potential investors and customers.

Feedback from companies highlighted that the programme had improved their knowledge of carbon estimation with participants advising that it will impact their work and competitiveness in future from product development to encouraging investment opportunities.

Cabinet Secretary for Finance & Economy Kate Forbes said:

“The forecast impact tool will help companies across Scotland to monitor the effects they are having on the environment and in turn will be able to reduce their carbon footprint.

“The Scottish Government is fully committed to helping Scotland meet our ambitious goals to be a net zero country by 2045.”

Interim managing director of business growth at Scottish Enterprise Rhona Allison said:

“It is vital that businesses can effectively measure their green credentials.

“We know that those companies who can provide credible low carbon figures will gain a competitive edge with customers, investors, funders and suppliers. Scottish Enterprise is supporting businesses to be more sustainable as well as cultivate economic climate opportunities as part of our net zero framework that will help drive a greener economy in Scotland.

“It is great to see this project with Impact Forecast deliver a business tool that works for the environment and the economy.”

Alongside the participating companies, 50 representatives of Scotland’s economic development agencies and partner organisations also took part to increase their awareness of carbon lifecycle analysis.

This included staff from HIE and SE, South of Scotland Enterprise (SoSE), Zero Waste Scotland, Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI), Censis, The Data Lab, Industrial Biotechnology Innovation Centre (IBioIC) and Net Zero Technology Centre (NZTC). The 40 SE-supported companies were funded via the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

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