16 WORKING TOGETHER FOR A SUSTAINABLE FUTURE
Earth from space
SCOTLAND'S GREATEST RESOURCE IS ITS PEOPLE. IT IS PEOPLE WHO WILL MAKE THIS STRATEGY WORK, BRING IT TO LIFE, SPOT NEW IDEAS AND OPPORTUNITIES, AND TURN THE PRINCIPLES INTO ACTION
16.1 Scotland's greatest resource is its people. It is people who will make this strategy work, bring it to life, spot new ideas and opportunities, and turn the principles into action. Elsewhere in this document we set out what people can do to contribute towards sustainable development, whether that is as individuals and households, businesses, or community and voluntary sector organisations. This section sets out how we will encourage people to get involved by:
- supporting partnership working
- providing practical support and celebrating success.
16.2 Delivering sustainable development challenges us to work creatively and co-operatively with each other across sectors, responsibilities and policy interests. Many of the case studies we have highlighted in this document are based upon strong, creative partnerships. Of course, partnership working can be difficult, frustrating and time-consuming as well as creative and rewarding: developing the skills to work more effectively together must be just as much a priority for the learning agenda as raising awareness of the issues.
16.3 Public bodies and agencies have a key part to play in delivering sustainable development, in particular SEPA, SNH, Scottish Enterprise, Highlands and Islands Enterprise and Communities Scotland. The SENCE group brings these partners and the Scottish Executive together to identify areas of concern and opportunity, and to develop proposals for joint action. This partnership grouping will play a valuable role in supporting implementation of the strategy.
WE WILL ENCOURAGE PEOPLE TO GET INVOLVED BY:
- SUPPORTING PARTNERSHIP WORKING
- PROVIDING PRACTICAL SUPPORT AND CELEBRATING SUCCESS
16.4 The Executive will also continue to work closely with environmental and other NGOs in taking forward this strategy and to take forward identified projects in partnership with them.
16.5 There is a broad network of individuals, groups and organisations in Scotland who are actively involved in the sustainable development agenda. The Executive will continue to support the Scottish Sustainable Development Forum to facilitate debate, encourage participation, raise awareness and understanding, promote good practice and recommend action in the pursuit of a more sustainable Scotland. The Executive will encourage the establishment of closer links between the Forum, the Sustainable Development Commission in Scotland and others to support delivery of the strategy.
PRACTICAL SUPPORT AND CELEBRATING SUCCESS
16.6 There is a clear need in many sectors to back up high level messages about sustainable development principles and priorities with examples of what this means in practice, case studies of sustainable development in action, and guidance and practical toolkits to support delivery on the ground. This will be a priority for the first year of the implementation plan. The Executive will provide support (including funding) for guidance and toolkits, drawing expertise and advice from the range of partner bodies including the Sustainable Development Commission.
16.7 The Executive will work closely with the Sustainable Scotland Network, Scottish Sustainable Development Forum, Sustainable Development Commission, Forward Scotland and other key stakeholders to improve collective management of experience and case studies through better websites and improved knowledge management. This will make it easier for us to record and celebrate success.
16.8 There is clearly a huge amount of valuable activity already underway in Scotland that is taking us towards sustainable development. Too often however we fail to stop and celebrate the achievements that individuals, groups, businesses and organisations have made. Scotland already runs a number of high profile awards ceremonies from school education to tourism to local authority performance: the aim will be to build a sustainable development category into each of these. The Executive in partnership with key stakeholders will review the major annual awards programmes with a view to including a sustainable category in each of them by 2007.
Cashel Forest: Ethnic Environmental Conservation Programme
Refugees and asylum seekers from disadvantaged areas of Glasgow have been actively engaged in improving the Scottish landscape by planting trees near Loch Lomond. Cashel Forest is one of many Millennium Forest for Scotland projects, with the ambitious collective aim to restore something of the unique ecology of the Caledonian Forest. It is also the setting for an exciting partnership project, involving BEN, the Scottish Refugee Council and BTCV, which aims to give excluded people a chance to use their skills, as volunteers, to contribute to the conservation and sustainable development of the environment in Scotland, and thereby to aid social integration.
The Scottish Refugee Council and Asylum Seeker Environmental Conservation Programme involved a series of monthly outings to Cashel Forest and a successful tree-planting initiative which has led to a new forested area on the site in excess of 200 trees at the last count.
Participants have included refugees and asylum seekers from Colombia, Sudan, Albania, Kosovo, Asia and the Middle East. Many dedicated their tree to people or places they had lost or had to leave behind, but many more made forward-looking dedications to their new found country or the global environment.
MAKING THE LINKS: WHAT INDIVIDUALS/HOUSEHOLDS IN SCOTLAND CAN DO
16.9 Individuals, families and households can make a positive contribution to sustainable development in very practical ways by taking steps to reduce the size of their environmental footprint. Individuals can also use their power as consumers, investors and electors to demand more sustainable goods and services. They can get involved in action to improve their local environment or make their community a healthier, more vibrant place to live.
Individuals and households can:
- take practical steps personally, and by influencing others, to reduce the size of their environmental footprint by:
- reducing, reusing and recycling waste
- reducing energy use, for example by using energy efficient products
- buying renewable energy
- making different travel choices - walking and cycling more, reducing carbon emissions by flying less or using public transport instead of the car
- use their power as consumers, investors and electors to demand more sustainable goods and services
- take part in and support improvements to their local area
- make their voice heard: debating the issues, helping to raise awareness, supporting the demand for change.
Supported in Scotland by:
- investment in the infrastructure that will make these choices easier:
- more recycling facilities
- better public transport
- safe paths to walk and cycle
- more energy efficient buildings and products
- better consumer information
- opportunities to learn how to live more sustainable lives
- focus on action at community level
- opportunities to get involved through a network of partner organisations across Scotland.
MAKING THE LINKS: WHAT BUSINESSES IN SCOTLAND CAN DO
16.10 Business has a crucial role in helping Scotland make the successful transition to a low-carbon economy. Considerable reductions in emissions can be achieved through better energy efficiency and increased use of renewable sources of heat and power. In responding to the imperative of climate change many businesses are finding that not only have they reduced their impact on the environment but they have made considerable financial savings into the bargain. For many businesses there are additional gains to be made by responding to market opportunities from changing patterns of demand.
- improve productivity and competitiveness by using resources more efficiently
- develop a clear environmental policy for the company which is well understood by all employees
- explore market opportunities for new, greener products and technologies
- work to identify and reduce their impact on the external environment and, where appropriate adopt good neighbour agreements with their local communities
- help employees to reduce their environmental impact - providing cycling facilities or having their own travel-to-work strategy
- routinely monitor resource use and environmental impact, report publicly on them and invite feedback from stakeholders
- consider how they might work more closely with other local businesses to share experience and reduce collective impact
- introduce training programmes to raise awareness and develop skills.
Supported in Scotland by:
- implementation of the green jobs strategy
- improvements to the way in which resource efficiency support is delivered
- the work of organisations such as WRAP, the Energy Saving Trust, Envirowise, SISP and others
- information, guidance and best practice on corporate social responsibility from partner organisations ( SCDI, Scottish Business in the Community, the Business Council for Sustainable Development, CBI, FSB and others).
MAKING THE LINKS: WHAT THE COMMUNITY AND VOLUNTARY SECTORS CAN DO
16.11 Voluntary and community organisations have an important part to play in delivering a more sustainable Scotland. They have a track record in Scotland of joint action that delivers multiple objectives - combining community or environmental impact, economic benefits, building skills and capacity, and improving personal and social well-being. They provide a mechanism for individuals to act and learn together - making people feel more confident and powerful, more likely to deliver and demand change.
The voluntary and community sector can:
- take advantage of the economic opportunities presented by sustainable development: social enterprises may be particularly well placed here, leading to wider benefits in terms of community skills and needs and delivering results for the local economy
- develop local solutions, building stronger communities and contributing towards global sustainable development objectives
- provide volunteering opportunities that are an alternative to consumption based leisure pursuits. Involvement in community and voluntary activities can also address social exclusion and contribute to personal well-being
- contribute towards policy making. The sector is likely to be well-placed to develop more integrated and joined-up solutions to issues and problems
- reduce their environmental impact and use their purchasing power to support more sustainable goods and services.
Supported in Scotland by:
- a range of funding streams and grant programmes that support action by the community and voluntary sectors
- the work of organisations like Forward Scotland
- Community Webnet: a one-stop shop for Scottish community groups carrying out projects that improve the quality of life for local communities
- simplifying funding streams that deliver regeneration, environment and development objectives
- building capacity in civic society through the new Sus It Out project
- working with the sector to identify practical ways to support their work and build on their skills and experience including:
- ways of identifying and evaluating impact in delivering sustainable development objectives
- training needs analysis and support
- guidance and toolkits
- sustainable development award for voluntary organisations.