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.

Dr Lindsay
Montgomery CBE

Chief Executive

We have worked hard to engage with a wide range of people and communities across Scotland to make a positive change in behaviour and improve quality of life.
Engaging effectively
More than 9,000 people enjoyed a One Planet Picnic to celebrate food which is good for you and good for the environment. And, we received 80 entries to our Pocket Garden competition from schools investigating their food and plant heritage.
Educating together
We worked with 75 secondary school pupils and their teachers to develop knowledge and experience of sustainable food production models and local food networks as part of our Young Food Entrepreneurs programme. With the University of Glasgow, we worked on a European food waste education project “Don’t Waste Our Future”, involving 80 schools, 2,800 students and 160 teachers across seven European countries.
Strengthening capacity
We developed Scotland’s first accredited Carbon Literacy training course for communities, with The Carbon Literacy Project, enabling 83 people over the year to build confidence and identify opportunities to reduce carbon emissions. Alongside this, we ran 26 events for over 300 people as part of our Community Action Support Programme which provides training and resources to community groups looking to take action on climate change.
Carbon Literacy

“A really good mix of breadth and depth of information backed up by useful resources and tools on climate change, carbon reduction and communication.”

A Carbon Literacy training participant
Over 9,000 volunteers were involved in our Litter Pick Plus initiative, which inspires and educates about local environmental quality improvements.
We engaged with over 1,400 people to create and maintain cleaner, safer and more sustainable local environments.
We distributed £4.3m through the Climate Challenge Fund and development grants to communities in disadvantaged areas.
Campaigning effectively
In the last year, 29,500 people took part in our Clean Up Scotland campaign, cleaning and greening their local area. We also distributed an impressive 1,350 #2MinuteCleanUp bags, enabling people to incorporate a quick clean up into their daily activities. The combined strength of these campaigns has resulted in over 5,800 tonnes of litter being removed from our villages, towns and cities in the last five years.
Enabling and empowering
Working with Scotrail, we supported and encouraged biodiversity projects in stations across Scotland, by distributing £20,000 to 15 Adopt a Station groups. By providing this support we hope that over time, the stations will become powerful case studies for biodiversity impact and community action.
Celebrating success
During 2016, we celebrated the 50th anniversary of Beautiful Scotland and It’s Your Neighbourhood, our environmental improvement and beautification campaigns. As part of these golden celebrations, we rewarded the fantastic work of 200 community groups from across Scotland at two celebratory events.
Beautiful Scotland

“The Beautiful Scotland award ceremony gets communities coming together from across Scotland to celebrate what is one of the most outstanding campaigns.”

George Anderson, Beechgrove Garden
Our dedicated volunteers gave over 220,000 hours of their time to our Beautiful Scotland and It’s Your Neighbourhood campaigns.
Over 37,000 people attended conferences or events we organised to promote environmental sustainability and action.
24 teachers from 14 local authorities joined our Energy, Enterprise and Environment professional learning programme which we launched in partnership with EDF Energy.
During the year we made great progress towards our ambition of enhancing Scotland’s environment to create clean, safe, healthy and sustainable places.
Educating and engaging
We engaged with over 3,000 schools across the country which are registered for our Eco-Schools Scotland programme, supporting whole-school action on sustainable development issues including Learning for Sustainability. Over 1,000 of these schools are located in the most disadvantaged parts of our country.
Enabling and empowering
Through the Climate Challenge Fund, we distributed £9,400,000 to communities to help them take action against climate change and reduce local carbon emissions. This provided support to 116 different projects in 29 local authority areas across Scotland.
Facilitating networking
We manage and develop the Sustainable Scotland Network to improve Scotland’s public sector performance on sustainability and climate change. During the year we worked with the 150 ‘major player’ organisations, sharing information, good practice and providing information and support on relevant policy areas.
Eco-Schools Scotland

“Eco-Schools is a fantastic initiative that lies at the heart of demonstrating the elements of our curriculum which are so important to ensure young people are equipped for the modern world.”

Deputy First Minister, John Swinney MSP
Our Sustainable Scotland Network team received, analysed and published 146 mandatory climate change reports from Scotland’s ‘major player’ public sector organisations.
We awarded 70 parks in 15 local authority areas with a Green Flag Award.
We audited over 17,000 sites across Scotland to assess the quality of the local environment, noting important indicators including litter and dog fouling.
Encouraging place-making
Working on our innovative, anti-littering campaign, Neat Streets, we promoted civic pride in the Grassmarket area of Edinburgh by providing easy and interesting ways for people to responsibly dispose of their rubbish. We developed the campaign using the Individual, Social, Material (ISM) behaviour change model.
New alliances
During the course of the year we developed new partnerships within the housing sector which led to us designing and carrying out 14 bespoke housing audits, using our National Award for Environmental Excellence® to support environmental quality improvements.
Environmental Quality

"Quality Scotland wants to acknowledge the work of Keep Scotland Beautiful in supporting organisations to deliver ‘excellence in environmental quality’. Environmental quality and links to the wider community where it is being applied has the potential to add value for customers, creating a positive perception of the organisation. It also fits within the holistic European Foundation for Quality Management Excellence Model. (EFQM)"

Claire Ford Chief Executive Officer, Quality Scotland
We supported 150 It’s Your Neighbourhood groups to improve and beautify their local communities.
We presented 60 beaches in 11 local authority areas with a Beach Award, acknowledging clean, well-managed and sustainable beaches.
We supported Climate Challenge Fund groups to recycle over 27,000 tonnes of waste.


Q1 - 2016

We launched our Edinburgh based innovative anti-littering campaign, Neat Streets, in partnership with charity Hubbub and Edinburgh City Council.‎


Q1 - 2016

We awarded NHS Tayside with our National Award for Environmental Excellence®.‎


Q1 - 2016

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.‎


Q2 - 2016

We exhibited the Wrigley Litter Less work of 13 schools in the Tall Ship in Glasgow, which was viewed by 67,000 people.‎


Q2 - 2016

We assessed the 60 beaches across Scotland that fly our Beach Award flag.‎


Q2 - 2016

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.‎


Q3 - 2016

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.‎


Q3 - 2016

We held the Sustainable Scotland Network conference for 200 public sector professionals working to improve Scotland’s response to climate change.‎


Q3 - 2016

Our new campaign ‘Give your litter a lift. Take it home.’ was launched to the general public, using a range of exciting litter characters.‎


Q4 - 2017

We completed the process of mapping our charity’s objectives and purpose to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.‎


Q4 - 2017

The Scottish Government announced that £10 million would be available for us to award to communities through the Climate Challenge Fund.‎


Q4 - 2017

We became one of the first countries in the world to award 2,000 schools with their first Eco-Schools Green Flag Award.‎

We continued to develop and build on our work to shape and influence legislation, policy and practice. We promoted and supported action across the public, private and voluntary sectors on local, national and global sustainability issues.
The chair of the Sustainable Scotland Network, which we manage and develop, gave evidence to two Scottish Parliament Committees on the draft Climate Change Plan. The plan is part of the strategic framework for the transition to a low carbon Scotland. The Sustainable Scotland Network evidence focused on the impact of the planning system on creating sustainable practices and travel.
Strategic engagement
In his role as president of the Clean Europe Network, our Chief Executive Derek Robertson, played a significant role in the EU level debate which helped inform European anti-litter legislation. This legislation is a crucial step towards achieving a litter free Europe by 2030.
Developing policy
By responding to a UK Government consultation on the use of plastic microbeads, our position that microplastics should be banned in all cosmetic and personal care products was supported in the commitment by Scottish Ministers to ban these products from sale in Scotland.
Delivering International Policy

We were delighted to welcome Keep Scotland Beautiful as a partner member or UKSSD in early 2017. We look forward to working together to inspire, influence and inform people, communities and organisations to transform the UK into a truly sustainable society, using the Global Goals for Sustainable Development as a mechanism."

Emily Auckland, Network Director, UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development
We held a parliamentary briefing for 8 MSPs highlighting the environmental issues set out in our report: Scotland’s Environment in Decline.
We are a member of the Stop Climate Chaos coalition and we worked with them to promote the “Show the Love” campaign.
In September 2016, 10 parliamentary motions were raised which celebrated the success of the 50th anniversary of Beautiful Scotland celebrations.
Working collaboratively
We worked in partnership with East Dunbartonshire Council and NHS Health Scotland on the development of a pilot project using the Place Standard tool in Hillhead and Harestanes in East Dunbartonshire. The tool supports the development of high quality places and maximises the potential of the physical and social environment to support health, well-being and a high quality of life.
Expanding our horizons
In 2016, we became a member of the Scottish Food Coalition, which enables us to work with a range of third sector organisations on the just transition to a fair, healthy and sustainable food system.
Keeping Edinburgh Beautiful

“We are constantly striving to improve the appearance of our streets for residents, visitors and tourists alike, which is a particular challenge during the festival season. By working with Keep Scotland Beautiful during the summer, we were able to explore new and innovative ways of encouraging the public to dispose of their rubbish responsibly, helping to create a more tidy and welcoming environment for everyone.”

Councillor Lesley Hinds, Environment Convener, City of Edinburgh Council
In January 2017, we joined the UK Stakeholders for Sustainable Development, a multi-stakeholder network representing organisations from across the UK that span the business, civil society, academic and public spheres.
During the year, we issued 21 media releases in collaboration with other organisations, celebrating and raising awareness of our partnership working.
We ran 16 capacity building workshops to support young people become Young Food Entrepreneurs.
We recognise the strategic importance of the UN Sustainable Development Goals to our work, particularly with young people, and we seek to play an active role in supporting the outcomes of all 17 goals. To enable us to do this, during the year we completed an extensive review of how our work aligns to the goals and how we can contribute to their success.

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 receive income from various sources including grants, donations and sale of services. We are extremely grateful to those who provide financial resources in support of our charitable activities, no matter how much or how little. Our finances are illustrated by income type and, most importantly, where we spend our funds. The figures shown for both income and expenditure are exclusive of the income we receive from the Scottish Government for the Climate Challenge Fund grants, which was circa £9.4 million in 2016/2017.
Where our income comes from
What we spend our money on
We gratefully acknowledge the support of the Scottish Government for Eco-Schools Scotland, Food & Environment and the Sustainable Scotland Network. The Climate Challenge Fund is a Scottish Government programme, which we are contracted to manage and administer on its behalf.

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.