This year has been both exciting and challenging as we pursued our aim of making Scotland clean, green and sustainable. Working closely with local communities, our activities reached one in five people across Scotland, enabling and empowering them to take action to improve our precious environment.
Our Annual Review shows some of the highlights of our work across Scotland, in your local community, supporting national and local government, in your local school and working with the public, private and third sectors. In the following pages, you will be able to see the difference that we are making together across Scotland to protect, conserve and enhance our environment by changing behaviours and improving the quality of people’s lives.
You will also find reference to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This year we have fully integrated them into the heart of our strategy and activities, and we hope to encourage people to link everyday action to improve the environment with important international challenges.
We recognise that we cannot achieve any of this in isolation and we are very fortunate to have a diverse range of supporters, funders, donors and partners as well as a talented team of people working and volunteering with us.
We thank everyone who has helped us during the year to keep Scotland beautiful.
We launched our Edinburgh based innovative anti-littering campaign, Neat Streets, in partnership with charity Hubbub and Edinburgh City Council.
We awarded NHS Tayside with our National Award for Environmental Excellence®.
Chivas Brothers invited us to take part in their Responsib'ALL day, where we showed both individuals and the organisation as a whole how to improve their local environment.
We exhibited the Wrigley Litter Less work of 13 schools in the Tall Ship in Glasgow, which was viewed by 67,000 people.
We assessed the 60 beaches across Scotland that fly our Beach Award flag.
Following a month of public voting in September, Strathaven Park in South Lanarkshire was voted as the People’s Choice Green Flag Award winner in Scotland and placed in the UK’s top ten parks.
As part of our management of the Climate Challenge Fund, we ran a three-day public exhibition in Edinburgh, which took visitors on an informative climate change journey from the present day to 2030.
We held the Sustainable Scotland Network conference for 200 public sector professionals working to improve Scotland’s response to climate change.
Our new campaign ‘Give your litter a lift. Take it home.’ was launched to the general public, using a range of exciting litter characters.
We completed the process of mapping our charity’s objectives and purpose to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
The Scottish Government announced that £10 million would be available for us to award to communities through the Climate Challenge Fund.
We became one of the first countries in the world to award 2,000 schools with their first Eco-Schools Green Flag Award.
The year also saw us make great progress on our internal ‘greening’ work. Following a comprehensive internal auditing process, we were proud and pleased to achieve the internationally recognised Environmental Management Standard ISO14001:2015 in July 2016. And, the following month we achieved a Cycle Friendly Employer Award from Cycling Scotland.
To show our commitment to reducing our carbon impact, in December 2016 we completed a voluntary climate change report. We submitted this to the Sustainable Scotland Network as part of their mandatory public sector climate change reporting process and have committed to take part in this process in future years.
We continue to operate in challenging times, financially, politically and internationally. However, the quality of Scotland’s environment remains an important priority given the wider impacts the environment has on our quality of life.
Recognising the significance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals will continue to be a focus for us. We will continue to raise awareness of how our work supports the outcomes of the goals, whilst also supporting the Scottish Government’s international commitments to them. We will encourage and inspire our young learners and educators to make connections to the goals through our refreshed Eco-Schools Scotland programme.
We will seek to better understand the state of local environmental quality in Scotland’s communities by continuing to produce research and evidence following our report in March 2016 which highlighted a worrying deterioration.
We will develop a more integrated approach to supporting communities across Scotland who want to improve their local environments, be that cleaning up their neighbourhoods or cutting their carbon emissions. Where applicable we will support the roll out of the NHS Scotland Place Standard tool in partnership with others.
A number of policy areas will influence our work over the coming months, including the Climate Change Plan and proposed Bill, the Good Food Nation consultation, the Community Empowerment Act, Learning for Sustainability, Developing the Young Workforce Strategy, the Scottish Attainment Challenge and the 2018 Year of Young People.
We will continue to support and celebrate the success of the numerous local authorities and community-based environmental groups across Scotland that we work with. And, we will continue to provide them with relevant training, capacity building and resources.
We are confident that as your charity for Scotland’s environment we will continue to play a huge part in supporting people to take action to make our country clean, green and sustainable.