Proud to Pledge

Written By Iain Gulland - Director, Zero Waste Scotland  |  25 Apr 14

On Wednesday I helped launch our Resource Efficiency Pledge at the Scottish Exhibition and Conference Centre (SECC) in Glasgow.  The SECC is the first business to sign the pledge.  We were also joined by Glasgow2014, who will act as ambassadors for the pledge, promoting it across all G2014 venues, as well as to their suppliers and associated event organisers in the run up to the Commonwealth Games. 

The purpose of the pledge is to help Scottish businesses realise the potential £2.9 billion of savings which could be made if more resource efficient behaviours and practices were adopted.  Signing up to a pledge is a great way for organisations to publically commit to taking action; which we know from past experience is useful in helping businesses to implement the measures that have been identified.  A pledge is also a great way of demonstrating to employees that a business is serious about becoming more resource efficient, helping to get the workforce engaged and empowered. 

But for me the Pledge is also about providing recognition to businesses and organisations who are investing in efforts to become more resource efficient.  There is much happening already, with individual businesses benefiting from savings and growth through implementing actions to reduce waste, energy and water.  Some have been on this journey for some time and are seen as trailblazers, whilst others have perhaps just set out tentatively on the back of our support through the first year of the Resource Efficient Scotland programme.  No matter which category a business falls into, I think it’s important that there is recognition for the work underway, and  that the Pledge should be about demonstrating the commitment to customers, suppliers and the wider community. Promoting action already underway by Scottish business in the area of resource efficiency will encourage others to take the first steps as well as send out an important market signal to drive an increased demand for resource efficient products and services.  Many of which can be home grown, multiplying the economic impact of the shift.  This should be no quiet revolution but one that is loud, celebratory and confident.

On a personal note, I see the signing of the Pledge as an opportunity to refocus effort and commitment closer to home.  At Zero Waste Scotland you would expect us to be an exemplar of resource efficiency.  I’ve presented before both internally and externally about the need for us to practice what we preach, but even we recognise that we could do better.  Sometimes we as an organisation hide behind the fact that we have too many new staff starting, a dynamic office configuration, an old building as an office, and a landlord who needs to be convinced.  All of these obstacles limit us going the extra mile, although we know how important that extra mile is in the attainment of national targets on carbon reduction. 

So Zero Waste Scotland has signed up to the Pledge too.  We’re making a commitment to re-engage with the staff team and identify what more we can do, set new targets and implement new actions. The pledge for us is about demonstrating how serious we are about going as far as we can in shaping a low carbon and zero waste economy future.  We are serious – are you?

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