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Scotland’s environment experts to inform economic recovery

Environmental protection must be prioritised in economic recovery plans, Scotland’s top sustainability experts are to tell decision-makers next week.

5 Jun 20

Around 50 of the nation’s thought-leaders on the environment and the green economy are to come together on Monday (8 June) to outline their vision for a sustainable recovery from the coronavirus.

An online summit hosted by the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS) and sponsored by Zero Waste Scotland will bring together industry experts, transport chiefs, academics and policy advisors to shape the environmental considerations that must be at the core of Scotland’s strategy for economic recovery post-pandemic.

Delegates at the invite-only Green Recovery Summit are expected to discuss a number of considerations, from financing the green recovery to sustainable procurement, then collectively decide which options to prioritise before the half-day event concludes. A report from the summit is expected to help shape recommendations to the Scottish Government ahead of a recovery plan for Scotland.

The Green Recovery Summit builds on four earlier events designed to generate solutions to the climate emergency – including most recently the role of the construction industry in driving the circular economy, in which products and materials are made to last for as long as possible.

Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“We are all aware that swift, decisive action is needed to avoid deepening the climate emergency we find ourselves in. Scotland has long been recognised as a leading nation on the circular economy, and as we emerge from the coronavirus pandemic we have an unprecedented opportunity to reaffirm our commitment to a more sustainable future.

“The circular economy has huge potential for Scotland with economic opportunities worth up to £3billion estimated before coronavirus impacted the economy, as well as significant benefits for our environment. As we set out key next steps that will shape how we live and work for years to come, it’s vital that we ensure progress towards a greener, more resilient economy is right at the heart of our plans.”

Mike Robinson, Chief Executive of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society (RSGS), said:

“The coronavirus pandemic has transformed our societies both nationally and globally, and we have borrowed a huge amount of money to get us through this crisis. It is vital we use this coming period to build and shape our continuing emergence from this crisis in a way that ensures we best protect ourselves from any future ones. Climate change has to be the most profound of these, and it would be a huge missed opportunity not to use this forced change as a springboard for a transformation to a more sustainable society.

“The upcoming Green Recovery Summit is a perfect platform to propose positive changes and present solutions.”


Notes For Editors

About the Climate Emergency Summits

The Climate Emergency Summits provide a space for motivated people from across the sectors to come together in a safe, open workshop environment to identify ways in which Scotland can and should take positive action to help address climate change. 

Each of the four summits to date has involved around 40+ organisations, experts and senior government representatives and led to reports that have fed into a variety of policy discussions, consultations and the programme for government. The Summits are fast-paced, solutions and action focused events, which use the convening power and expert networks of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society to provide an opportunity for motivated, senior people from across the sectors to come together in a safe space.  

Topics to date have ranged from taxes and incentives to nature-based solutions and specific measures for the construction industry. There are still more planned on procurement, green investment, soil carbon and transport, amongst other topics, and there is a great appetite for us to run more, especially as we have created a model which works really well in a virtual format.   

About the circular economy

The circular economy is about making things last: developing new business models, designing products more smartly, remanufacturing and reprocessing to create new products from old, and repairing what we can – all to keep products and materials within the economy for as long as possible.

According to a report produced by Zero Waste Scotland before the coronavirus pandemic, adopting circular economy principles could benefit the Scottish economy by up to £3billion. There’s also potential for Scotland to grow a new, ‘green’ manufacturing industry – thereby creating jobs.

About Zero Waste Scotland

Zero Waste Scotland exists to lead Scotland to use products and resources responsibly, focusing on where we can have the greatest impact on climate change. 

Using evidence and insight, our goal is to inform policy, and motivate individuals and businesses to embrace the environmental, economic, and social benefits of a circular economy. 

We are a not-for-profit environmental organisation, funded by the Scottish Government and European Regional Development Fund.

More information on all Zero Waste Scotland’s programmes can be found at https://www.zerowastescotland.org.uk/. You can also keep up to date with the latest from Zero Waste Scotland via our social media channels - Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn

The Scottish Government is the Managing Authority for the European Structural Funds 2014-20 Programme. For further information visit our website or follow @scotgovESIF.


About the Royal Scottish Geographical Society

Founded in 1884, RSGS is a dynamic educational charity with an illustrious history, far-reaching influence and a modern-day mission to inspire and inform. By thinking geographically, championing good practice, working with leaders and experts, and engaging with public audiences, RSGS is precisely placed to inform policy, influence joined-up decision making, and inspire action, all to help address national and global challenges.

We organise inspirational public talks and events, publish an informative quarterly magazine, recognise exemplary geographic practice, share ideas through our broad network, engage in important policy discussions, champion and support the teaching of Geography, maintain a fascinating historical collection, and develop exciting projects including, most recently, an online Climate Solutions course for business leaders. 


For media enquiries contact:

Harriet Brace, PR Project Manager                                                                                                        t: 01786 237 342
m: 07816 226323
e: harriet.brace@zerowastescotland.org.uk

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