Just Transition to Net Zero incorporating EDAS AGM 2022
Thursday 8th December, 2022
The event included a panel discussion from key speakers representing key economic development agencies – Highlands and Islands Enterprise, Scottish Enterprise, South of Scotland Enterprise, Skills Development Scotland – as well as EDAS partner Zero Waste Scotland.
This was the final event of an eventful year for EDAS and economic development in Scotland.
AGM minutes will be made available to EDAS Members.
- Liz McEntee, Chair, EDAS
- Donald Jarvie, Treasurer, EDAS
- Ray Georgeson, Head of Policy, Impact & Evaluation, Zero Waste Scotland
- Martin Johnson, Director of Strategy and Regional Economy, Highlands and Islands Enterprise
- Chris Brodie, Director of Regional Skills Planning and Sector Development, Skills Development Scotland
- Susan Harkins, Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, South of Scotland Enterprise
- Suzanne Sosna, Director of Economic Opportunities and Climate, Scottish Enterprise
Click the image below to play.
Welcome from Chair of EDAS, Liz McEntee
Welcome everyone to our EDAS AGM for 2022 and thank you being here. As always, we want to reach as many in our membership and wider community as possible and judging by our online audience, we are reaching all parts of Scotland today, which is great to see.
We will begin this afternoon with our AGM business and then move on to focus on an update on our economy and progress by key agencies towards Net Zero and a Just Transition. I will introduce each of our speakers in turn before taking questions and comments from the audience but safe to say, I think it will be a really interesting and informative session. You can of course use the chat box at any time during proceedings to raise any questions or comments you wish to share.
So, to begin our AGM, I just want to give a brief Chair’s summary of what was achieved during 2021-22. As expected, we had another very busy period, continuing to operate primarily online in delivering our services. The year saw continued challenges and opportunities for our members in responding to the needs of people, places, businesses, and communities as the pandemic continued, with new strains and restrictions impeding recovery and often frustrating progress. And just when we felt we were through the worst of the virus, other major global developments – war in Ukraine and an energy and cost of living crisis – brought more turmoil, adding further complexity to the economic problems you as planners and practitioners address daily in your working life.
If the last few years have shown us anything, it is that we are all inextricably inter-connected – globally, nationally and locally – and, whilst we may feel powerless at times when faced with the enormity of such seismic global events – our priorities, decisions, actions and behaviours – both professionally and personally – matter. This is especially so when it comes to climate change and how we value and treat planet earth.
Our speakers today will elaborate further on how their organisations are responding and seeking to support the achievement of a just transition to Net Zero.
For EDAS, our role continues as a key facilitator of learning and development for members, enabling access to information, knowledge and expertise through our events and communications and the provision of protected spaces for conversations that make a difference.
ACHIEVEMENTS AND PERFORMANCE
In terms of our key achievements in 2021-22, our membership grew again, by around 200 to 3,200, spanning all sectors – public, private, third sectors and academia. We also retained the majority of existing members throughout the year (98%).
Our digital presence remained strong with over 3000 contacts, over half of whom engaged with us via Twitter. As a board, we created a new communications strategy and employed additional external communications support to redesign our website and promotional activities and increase our emphasis on LinkedIn engagement – something which we can see is bearing fruit in this current year. And I’d like to thank the team at Message Matters for their support with this. Combined with our regular parliamentary briefings, we aimed to ensure our members were well briefed and knowledgeable about relevant current policy development and events.
We continued our focus on regular events and increased these to 28 during the year (from 25 previously), attracting almost 1300 participants across the year. This covered a series of 3 conference events focusing on climate plus a range of seminars on current and relevant topics which aligned with our strategic priorities framed around People, Place and Planet.
Our CPD levels were maintained with 9 courses delivered throughout the year covering An Introduction to Economic Development; Appraisal and Evaluation and Inclusive Growth, which included a new emphasis on net zero. In doing so, we almost doubled the attendance rates across our CPD offering, once again demonstrating that online learning offers greater accessibility for our members across Scotland. And I’d like to give thanks for the fantastic contributions and continued support of our colleagues, Prof Alan McGregor and Prof Graeme Roy from Glasgow University in delivering our CPD activity and in achieving such positive feedback from participants in the process.
A significant additional achievement was the delivery of a series of Community of Practice events, funded by the Scottish Government and offering expertise and learning to an extensive audience of representatives from public, private and third sector as well as community representatives and academics. These events encouraged the building of new connections and broader conversations across the country, as local authority areas committed to deliver CWB in different ways, anticipating the legislation that is to come.
Again, I’d like to thank Neil McInroy, formerly of CLES and now of Scottish Government, for all the support he gave to this programme and the learning content he so ably adapted for our EDAS members.
In building important links across our community, we developed an important collaborative partnership with the Scottish Land Commission, recognising that our aspirations and strategic objectives are in close alignment, especially around our work to promote CWB.
We were also delighted to continue strategic partnerships with HIE; Scottish Enterprise and SDS whilst bringing SOSE into the EDAS fold. The ongoing financial support of these key agencies as well as their active involvement in what we do, is key in enabling EDAS to deliver our up to date and wide-ranging programme of activities each year.
LOOKING TO THE FUTURE
Looking ahead, we know the next year is likely to be challenging, given the pressures already being placed on public sector budgets. We recognise that being asked to do more with less is frequently what our members are facing. Our board will meet early in the new year to review our strategy and operating plans – with a view to ensuring what we offer to members continues to be a vital mechanism to support knowledge and practice going forward. Your thoughts and ideas as EDAS members would be welcome as part of this.
EDAS is a small organisation and we rely heavily on an active board to support a very small team. We pride ourselves on offering value for money in punching above our weight in terms of the breadth of services and support we offer to members. But it is important that we continue to review and listen to you in developing our activities in the year ahead – so we give you what you need in this complex, fiscally challenged and ever-changing environment.
In the meantime, I’d like to thank the EDAS board of directors; our core team and the Message Matters team; our funders (SE; SDS; HIE and SOSE) and the Scottish Government and especially you, our members, for your continued loyalty.
Key Speaker Points
Ray Georgeson, Head of Policy, Impact & Evaluation, Zero Waste Scotland
- Work on the circular economy really needs to spread and embed across all aspects of economic thinking and development, as opposed to a separate entity. This is fundamental to Zero Waste Scotland’s engagement with EDAS as a partner for the coming year.
- The UK is a consumption orientated society; we use too much, waste too much, and we’re not in anyway sustainable when it comes to the use of materials and resources. This also stands for other western developed nations across the EU. Our approach to consumption needs to change, we need to find new ways to live well whilst consuming less. To do this we need to advance the circular economy, not as a concept but as a reality.
- Zero Waste Scotland have supported more than 250 businesses in Scotland, through grants and advice; results of which are several hundred green jobs in the last few years. Good partnerships and collboration with key enterprise agencies are the start of advancing circular behaviours.
- The Circular Economy Bill is currently being drafted, ZWS supporting government in the formation of this bill. Expected to come to parliament in the Spring. This bill will include a statutory duty to produce a circular economy strategy, which is a gateway to the next few years of required action.
- Alongside this, the Circular Economy Route Map, built on historic waste and resource management strategies in Scotland, will take the form of guidance that’s more focused on circularity and the use of resources, including a range of interventions that will likely come to public consultation around February / March.
Martin Johnson, Director of Strategy and Regional Economy, Highlands and Islands Enterprise
- Scottish Government’s new ten year strategy sets out how we’ll achieve a greener, fairer, and wealthier society. As a result of this HIE, SE and SOSE are refreshing their five years strategies they have in place, in line with the new strategy. A key part of these strategies (published in Q4 of this financial year) will reflect how to tackle the challenges that are bringing cost pressures to Scotland’s Economy.
- HIE’s strategy will include a matrix split across three themes – Fair Work, Just Transition to Net Zero, and Key Strategic (regionally transformative) Projects. These will also cover the perspectives of people, place, prosperity, and planet. This will then cascade into annual operating plans for each region. Around Just Transition, the focuses are around three things: what are HIE doing for people; what are HIE doing for businesses and community organisations; what are the economic opportunities that arise for HIE’s region, particularly in relation to Net Zero.
- All HIE staff are undertaking training and upskilling in relation to Net Zero, so that staff can pass on learnings to business and individuals they are dealing with, or signposting to the appropriate experts who can provide in-depth advice on Net Zero and the Just Transition.
- Collaborative approach has been taken to deliver support for businesses (including Just Transition guidance). The Business Support Partnership uses a digital platform that’s accessible to businesses, containing all useful information, including that around Net Zero.
- The ‘Net Zero Ladder’ within HIE allows operatives to navigate how to help businesses become more literate in green issues. If they are at the bottom of the ladder when they first engage, there are a number of steps HIE can take to lead a business through the journey to be more aware (and more active) on issues that involve the Just Transition to Net Zero.
Chris Brodie, Director of Regional Skills Planning and Sector Development, Skills Development Scotland
- The Climate Emergency Skills Action Plan, published in 2020, was about the skills response to the Just Transition to Net Zero and covered five main topics: Importance of inspiring young people to think about green careers, the importance of supporting people to upskill and move into green careers, the importance of the future talent pipeline for green jobs, the importance of focusing on businesses, and the importance of driving this change in the skills system at pace.
- In practice, the response to this has seen rapid expansion of climate education in schools, at SDS green skills have been embedded into apprenticeship programmes, the green jobs workforce academy launched in August 2020, deployment of significant resources through the National Transition Trainign Fund to help people reskill, a huge amount of work has gone into assessing the needs of the future green jobs pipeline and having this pipeline in place, colleagues in Zero Waste Scotland and HIE, SOSE, and SE have been working with businesses through the green jobs fund over the past two years. And all of this is being driven by a cross organisation steering group which, as well as economic development agencies, includes colleagues from Transport Scotland and the SQA.
- SDS just published a piece of work on defining green jobs, something that has never been done before. The definition that has been pulled together by academics broadly looks across three types of job: new and emerging jobs which come alongside the development of new technologies; those jobs where the skills content is going to have to change as a result of adapting to new technology or the climate crisis; jobs that already exist that we are going to need many more of as the transition to net zero accelerates.
Susan Harkins, Head of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, South of Scotland Enterprise
- As well as working to the Scottish Government’s NSET strategy, SOSE have a regional economic strategy that identifies six key themes: skilled and ambitious people; innovation and enterprising; rewarding and fair work; culture and creative excellence; thriving in distinct communities; and green and sustainable economy.
- The Just Transition is an opportunity for the South of Scotland. SOSE’s Net Zero directorate have noted that having Net Zero siloed within the agency doesn’t necessarily work, therefore the ambition is to embed Net Zero and green jobs into the wider organisation and create a cultural shift. This is done through upskilling and training for all staff in the organisation, including front facing staff.
- Key focuses are promoting the benefits of investing in a greener future now, to businesses across the region; supporting businesses and enterprises to adopt new, greener practices; supporting the decarbonisation of regional supply chains as well as embedding in adaptations in business resilience planning; working collaboratively to help bring forward new market opportunities arising from just transition (example – hydrogen).
- Some of the initiatives surrounding the green and sustainable economy include: FuelChange, a programme that takes employed 16 – 24 year olds and gives them the opportunity to tackle industry challenges around Net Zero. Another is an environmental placement programme, placing graduates in businesses to help with just transition plan. A strategic partnership with Zero Waste Scotland has also resulted in a circular economy advisor who works from the entrepreneurship team so the the effect is embedded into the wider organisation and enables partnership working.
Suzanne Sozna, Director of Economic Opportunities and Climate, Scottish Enterprise
- The future economy of Scotland could benefit from numerous opportunities that Net Zero brings, but to make the most of these opportunities there needs to be wider buy in across Scotland its businesses, and its economic development agencies, as well as accelerated pace for action.
- Scottish Enterprise has published a Net Zero Framework for Action, for the second year in a row, that summarises the focuses on an annual basis. This is broken down into segments: how to support innovation in business and organisations; introducing green conditionalities for funding; increasing conditionalities around fair work.
- SE has an aim to become a net zero development agency, so reducing its own carbon footprint. One challenge is being present in local regions and working at a local level, but in a climate friendly way.
- The Hydrogen market is potentially, for Scotland, a huge opportunity that’s equivalent to the economic opportunity presented by oil and gas 60 – 70 years ago. Other potential markets that are transformable for Scotland are renewables (wind, ground, and tidal resources).