Food and drink leaders launch net zero strategy

From left: Lucinda Bruce-Gardyne and James Withers, Scotland Food & Drink; Scottish Government rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon; David Thomson, chief executive of Food and Drink Federation Scotland.

THE Scotland Food & Drink Partnership (SFDP) has launched a new roadmap that sets out a path to net zero emissions for Scotland’s food and drink industry.

SFDP – which comprises ten industry bodies, five public sector organisations and one research body –  has launched its Net Zero Commitment to support the sector as firms makes the transition to net zero emissions.

Launched at a COP 26 event on 9 November, the new strategy contains five long-term commitments: placing net zero “at the heart of all Scotland Food & Drink’s sector strategies”; supporting firms with planning and “practical interventions” to cater for “their specific challenges and needs”; talking “key shared challenges” through collaboration beyond the “existing full supply chain approach”, encompassing other sectors including energy, packaging, waste and carbon sequestration; using data to drive activity; making the sector’s net zero transition “just” by supporting green skills, “fair work” and lifelong careers in rural and urban areas of Scotland.

Practical interventions outlined at the launch included introducing a pilot ‘Net Zero Advisor’ programme to support businesses, hosting learning events, and a realignment of the sector’s Ambition 2030 growth strategy to incorporate climate change commitments.

David Thomson, chief executive of SFPD member organisation Food and Drink Federation Scotland, and chair of the Net Zero Taskforce, said: “In Scotland we are blessed with some of the world’s finest ingredients and natural resources which allow our businesses to prosper.

“However, climate change poses some very real challenges to our industry and it is critical that we take ownership over our role in combating it. This will inevitably involve changing some of our methods and doing things differently than how we did them before, but change is the only way we will be able to continue to produce world renowned food and drink in Scotland for generations to come.

“Our Net Zero Commitment sets out how the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership aims to go about making those changes, so that we can capture opportunities while tackling challenges in the race to deliver the Scottish Government’s 2045 Net Zero target.”

Scottish Government rural affairs secretary Mairi Gougeon said: “Scottish food and drink, ranging from iconic, traditional produce to new and innovative brands have quite rightly earned an enviable reputation for quality at home and abroad.

“Consumers too are taking an increasing interest in where their food comes from – people rightly want to be assured that their food and drink purchases are the best quality, are locally and sustainably sourced and produced and especially, are helping to address the environmental impacts of production and processing.

“Food and drink is one of the most important sectors in our economy, employing more people in manufacturing than any other, contributing hugely to our exports and supporting thousands of jobs across rural Scotland. We want it to have a sustainable future.

“The sector has a key role to play in helping deliver our net zero ambitions and I am delighted it is rising to the challenge, demonstrating real leadership on environmental issues at a time when the eyes of the world are on Glasgow for COP26.”

Partners in the The ScotlandFood & Drink Partnership are:

  • Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB)
  • Dairy UK
  • Food and Drink Federation Scotland
  • Highlands & Islands Enterprise (HIE)
  • NFU Scotland
  • Opportunity North East
  • Quality Meat Scotland (QMS)
  • Seafood Scotland
  • Scotch Whisky Association
  • Scottish Agricultural Organisation Society (SAOS)
  • Scottish Bakers
  • Scottish Development International (SDI)
  • Skills Development Scotland (SDS)
  • Scottish Enterprise
  • Scottish Government
  • Salmon Scotland (formerly Scottish Salmon Producers’ Organisation)
  • South of Scotland Enterprise