Your charity for Scotland’s environment

Public Sector Climate Action: Pathways to 2030

The SSN conference 2016, Public Sector Climate Action: Pathways to 2030, explored how Scotland’s public sector should respond over the next ten years and beyond to delivering on the country’s climate change targets.

The event mixed policy discussion and practical insights, focusing on how to unlock the potential of public sector climate action, how to increase momentum and how to foster improved partnership working.

Just over 200 delegates from 98 organisations attended the event, with 88% rating the conference as ‘excellent’ or ‘good’.

Conference participants heard from four key speakers, and had the opportunity to attend one of nine parallel sessions, which provided insights into a range of topics including climate change co-benefits, sustainable food, energy, sustainable procurement and active travel.


Conference feedback

“I find the SSN conferences very informative and thought provoking.  Moreover, they inspire you to do more and be innovative with regards reducing both your organisation's and own impact on the environment.”

“This is one of the better public sector sustainability gatherings and always provides good opportunities to network with other professionals and to develop understanding of what the trends and challenges are to deliver our targets.”

“I regard the SSN conference as the principal annual climate change event in Scotland.  Good networking opportunities and quality speakers.”



Plenary Sessions

Stuart Nichol, Conference Chair

Chris Wood-Gee, SSN Chair

Conference Welcome

Roseanna Cunningham

Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, Scottish Government

Scottish Government

Ministerial Message

Matthew Bell

Chief Executive

Committee on Climate Change

Pathways to 2030 – A Low Carbon, Climate Resilient Scotland

Matthew provided an overview of where Scotland and the UK currently stand in terms of emissions, and discussed the projects and policies that are required to achieve Scotland’s climate change targets.

Professor Sir Jim McDonald BSc, MSc, PhD, DSc, CEng

Principal and Vice Chancellor

University of Strathclyde

Pathways to 2030 – A Low Carbon, Climate Resilient Scotland

Jim discussed initiatives he is involved with in Glasgow, at the University of Strathclyde, and nationally, and explored challenges that need to be addressed for Scotland to scale up its climate change response.

Andrew Darnton

Managing Director

AD Research and Analysis

Making Change Happen – The Critical Role of Behaviours

Andrew presented an overview of the ISM (Individual, Social, Material) approach to understanding and influencing behaviours, and explored a range of case studies in which ISM was integral to the project’s success.

SSN Steering Group

The Value and Impact of the SSN

Heidi Hauf

Principal Sustainability Advisor

Forum for the Future

Pathways to 2030: Sustainable, Systemic, and Seriously Hard

Heidi discussed a range of projects that Forum for the Future have been actively involved in with businesses, and also highlighted Forum’s ‘Six Steps to Significant Change’, a framework used for designing and learning from big systems change processes, that can also be used at a sectoral and organisational level.

Parallel Sessions

Becoming a Good Food Nation

Tom Andrews Soil Association

Pete Ritchie, Nourish 

This session provided an update to delegates on the Good Food Nation discussion as well as an insight into Soil Association’s Sustainable Food Cities Project. SSN members often express a real interest in engaging more with the sustainable food agenda and this session was an opportunity for participants to examine how their organisations could play a role in furthering this agenda, mature the debate and change habits around food on a local and national level. Delegates noted the importance of robust policy, education and awareness raising and community engagement.

Sustainable Procurement: Delivering Sustainable Outcomes

Barbara Morton, Sustainable Procurement Ltd. 

Maureen Fitzpatrick, Glasgow City Council 

Sustainable Procurement is a topic area which always garners interest for SSN members and this year’s conference was no different. Session participants heard first hand from Maureen Fitzpatrick about Glasgow City Council’s efforts to ensure that sustainable procurement principles were utilised in their procurement department, and she and Barbara fielded a range of questions from the room.

Demonstrating a whole system approach to realise the aims of Scotland’s Energy Strategy

Chris Morris, Local Energy Scotland 

Chris curated a diverse group of speakers to draw attention to the work which is being carried out at government and community level on the Energy Strategy. Delegates heard details of a green hydrogen project in Fife, a community hydro project in Aberdeen and heat storage in East Lothian. There was a wealth of knowledge and experience to draw on for all delegates looking to engage with and develop projects inspired by the strategy.

Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme

Kathleen Robertson, Scottish Government 

Johann MacDougall , Scottish Government 

Another energy-based session took a different approach, when delegates were invited to participate in a very early engagement setting in the early stages of the development of Scotland’s Energy Efficiency Programme. Discussion groups engaged in lively debate about the approach being planned by Scottish Government for the programme and left with a much clearer understanding about how this initiative will be implemented.

How to take control of your business transport

Tom Lessells, Energy Saving Trust 

Gordon Manson, Energy Saving Trust 

Business Transport is an area which most SSN member organisations will need to deal with as they continue to grapple with their organisational footprint and report on emissions as part of Public Sector Climate Change Reporting. Gordon and Tom tailored this session in such a way as to provide meaningful and clear advice to participants, with useful take away messages on economising and improving their business fleet.

"Smarter Choices, Smarter Places": delivering targeted local interventions to influence sustainable transport choices

Janice Gray, Paths for All 

Lynn Slavin, Falkirk Council 

This presentation brought delegates up to date on the progress of the Smarter Places Smarter Choices programme from a pilot project of 6 local authorities to the present day iteration, providing food for thought for those organisations who might wish to engage with the programme in the future. An insight into Falkirk’s use of marketing to promote their project was well received.

Understanding and incorporating behaviours into plans and projects for reducing emissions

Dr. Alex Hilliam, Changeworks 

ISM and behaviours have been popular and topical areas of interest across SSN’s work programme in the last number of years and the interest in the area shows no sign of waning. This session was one of the most sought after of the parallel sessions and Alex shared some key pointers for making this approach work for distinct organisations and ensuring that a behaviours based approach makes a meaningful difference to emissions reduction plans.

Climate Change Co-Benefits

Alison Pridmore, Principal Consultant, Aether  

This session provided an opportunity for delegates to consider the benefits of climate mitigation action which extend beyond the strictest emissions-based discourse. Acknowledging and publicising these broader co-benefits allows us to engage stakeholder, in particular organisational leaders, and increase efficiency and cross sectoral working.

Culture Shift: Working with the arts and culture for mitigation and adaptation

Ben Twist, Creative Carbon Scotland 

Harnessing the energy and creativity of the worlds of arts and culture can deliver meaningful gain for those of us working in climate change. This session explored the potential for climate change practitioners to deploy creative means to communicate key messages and garner support for action on their work programmes.