3 BUILDING A STRONG, SUSTAINABLE ECONOMY
ECONOMIC GROWTH IS OUR TOP PRIORITY - BUT NOT AT ANY COST. WE MUST RECOGNISE THAT ECONOMIC GROWTH AND THE PROTECTION OF OUR WORLD FOR THE FUTURE GO HAND IN HAND. THE CHALLENGE IS TO MAKE ECONOMIC GROWTH SUSTAINABLE, BREAKING THE LINK WITH ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE
3.1 We are committed to pursuing the goal of sustainable development in an integrated way, through a
sustainable, innovative and productive economy that delivers high levels of employment, and a just society that promotes social inclusion, sustainable communities and personal well-being. This will be done in ways that protect and enhance the physical and natural environment, and use resources and energy as efficiently as possible.
3.2 The chapters that follow describe the future we are building: improving the well-being of people in Scotland, supporting Scotland's thriving communities, protecting our natural resources for the long term, and making a fair global contribution. A strong, sustainable economy has a key role to play in securing this future.
3.3 The Framework for Economic Development in Scotland ( FEDS) 3 articulates a clear vision - to raise the quality of life of the Scottish people, through increasing economic opportunities for all on a socially and environmentally sustainable basis. These priorities are reflected in our strategy for the Enterprise Networks, A Smart, Successful Scotland4.
Kilmarnock Company gives off good vibes for the environment
Kilmarnock-based Dana Glacier Vandervell Bearings ( DGVB) manufactures aluminium and bronze bimetallic materials for bearing components.
DGVB, which employs around 500 at its Kilmarnock site, won a national Vision in Business for the Environment ( VIBES) award in December 2004 in the large company category. Through improved environmental measures the company has cut copper and lead emissions to air by more than 50 per cent, saving £43,000 in 2003 alone. The reduction in material usage produced further savings of £26,000.
Image: Ocean Power Delivery LtdThe closure plan of an oil-fired power plant on site reduced oil usage by 49% between 2002-2004. Lead emissions to water also decreased by 44% over this same period. Energy was reduced and material utilisation improved through revising and optimising working procedures.
DGVB has a specific environmental policy which is displayed on the intranet site and company website and also has a designated 'Environmental Champion'. Company representatives discuss and highlight the policy with their customers on a one-to-one basis. Furthermore, all suppliers are audited and complete an assessment of environmental matters.
3.4 This economic framework is complemented by the Executive's commitment to Closing the Opportunity Gap. The six objectives of Closing the Opportunity Gap5 will tackle poverty and disadvantage, including action to increase the chances of sustained employment for the vulnerable and disadvantaged; to improve the confidence and skills of the most disadvantaged children and young people; and to increase the rate of improvement of the health status of people living in the most deprived communities.
3.5 Economic growth is our top priority - but not at any cost. We must recognise that economic growth and the protection of our world for the future go hand in hand. The challenge is to make economic growth sustainable, breaking the link with environmental damage. To achieve this we need to make dramatic improvements in business resource efficiency, to seize the economic opportunities that sustainable development represents and to become more mindful as businesses and consumers of the social and environmental consequences of the way we live our lives.
3.6 The actions in this strategy reinforce the approach set out in FEDS and will help us deliver sustainable economic development in Scotland: improving transport, investing in infrastructure, regenerating communities, protecting our natural resources and releasing the skills and creativity of Scotland's people.
3.7 Our vision is of a vibrant, low-carbon economy with Scotland a leader in green enterprise. In exploiting business opportunities, we want to focus on innovation and high value activity. By improving resource efficiency, we can compete more effectively in global markets. The recently published Going for green growth: a green jobs strategy for Scotland6 highlights the wealth of business and employment opportunities arising from the shift towards a sustainable future and the potential in sectors like waste management, recycling and renewable energy.
3.8 It also highlights how companies of all types and sizes can improve their productivity and competitiveness by using resources more efficiently. Improving productivity through smarter use of resources, whether water, energy, or raw materials, can help increase the competitiveness of Scottish businesses, safeguarding jobs and providing a basis for further job creation.
3.9 There is huge scope for improvement in Scotland. An estimated £1.3 billion is lost to the Scottish economy every year through energy wastage. In addition, the unproductive use of resources costs the manufacturing sector in Scotland around £300 million every year, which could be reduced by waste minimisation.
3.10 Becoming more energy efficient is a major priority for Scotland, for both economic and environmental reasons. Energy efficiency measures are expected to contribute half of the UK's objective of a 60% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 2050. Energy efficiency has a key role to play in our approach to the problem of climate change - possibly the biggest long-term threat facing businesses in Scotland.
3.11 The business case for sustainability is simple. Smarter use of resources does not just make good economic sense; it is absolutely essential for our long-term survival.