Spotlight on Scottish public sector carbon emissions

Report summarises data from first year of standardised climate change reporting. The first mandatory report analysing climate change activity in Scotland’s public sector has been released. It reveals that public bodies across Scotland are implementing carbon saving projects and taking steps towards preparing for a changing climate.

The report, produced and published by Keep Scotland Beautiful on behalf of the Scottish Government as part of the charity’s work to support and develop the Sustainable Scotland Network, is the first following the introduction of the obligatory Public Bodies Climate Change Reporting process by the Scottish Government last year.

The document summarises data provided by 145 public bodies for the period 2015/16 and provides headline recommendations to support the sector to better deliver on their climate change duties in the future.

The report reveals that, based on projects and measures implemented to reduce emissions, the sector saved 91,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e).

Other highlights include:

  • The 145 participating public bodies reported their total emissions for 2015/16 at 3,268,592 tCO2e
  • 105 bodies reported having some form of renewable installation, with the most popular form being solar PV
  • Overall, these renewable energy installations helped to save 66,000 tCO2e over the reporting period
  • 88 bodies have specific climate change mitigation and adaptation objectives in their corporate plan or similar
  • 49% of public bodies reported taking action and/or raising awareness on adapting to climate change

The reporting process is designed to assist better decision making and strategic planning, alongside identifying opportunities for cost savings. The analysis has also outlined a series of key recommendations under the following five themes:

  • Improving reported data
  • Focussed support to address gaps in performance
  • Sharing good practice to build capacity
  • Making better use of existing tools
  • Clearly linking governance and management to projects and targets


Environment Secretary Roseanna Cunningham said: “I welcome the publication of this report that shows the vital role public bodies have to play in tackling climate change.

“This report outlines the wide range of action being taken across the public sector to support the Scottish Government’s efforts to reduce emissions by 66% by 2032 and makes recommendations to help public bodies deliver on their climate change duties in the future.”


Chris Wood-Gee, Sustainable Scotland Network Chair, commented:

“The release of today’s report marks a pivotal point in the progression of public sector climate change reporting. The introduction of an annual mandatory reporting process has provided significant insight into the public sector’s sustainability initiatives.

“Prior to the advent of Public Bodies Climate Change Reporting, organisations reported on their climate change action on a voluntary basis, using a number of different frameworks. The new standardised reporting system brings all this rich information together in the same place for the first time. This improved data collation in turn improves our analysis, which is absolutely critical to identifying gaps in action so that we can target support effectively.

“The reporting process also allows us to identify the many examples of innovative work taking place within our public bodies to address climate change. Sustainable Scotland Network is committed to now taking steps to showcase, share and consolidate these good practice examples to accelerate emissions reduction across the sector.”

The Sustainable Scotland Network is managed by Keep Scotland Beautiful and helps to improve Scotland’s public sector performance on sustainability and climate change. The Network is a partnership between the Scottish Government, Keep Scotland Beautiful and its members throughout the public sector.


Derek Robertson, Keep Scotland Beautiful Chief Executive, commented:
“Scotland has made significant progress in reducing its carbon emissions and our public sector plays a critical role in delivering this. Keep Scotland Beautiful is proud to manage the Sustainable Scotland Network and help the public sector report on their impacts, identifying opportunities and challenges for taking on climate change.

“The Sustainable Scotland Network forms a cornerstone of Keep Scotland Beautiful’s activities, along with the support we give to help communities take action on climate change through the Climate Challenge Fund that we administer for the Scottish Government. The public sector and our communities together are leading the way when it comes to ensuring that Scotland has a low carbon future.”


The full analysis report and a summary briefing can be found at: http://www.keepscotlandbeautiful.org/ssnclimatechangereport

25 April 2017


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