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Scotland the best

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, the Scottish Government was last night hailed for its leadership in making Scotland one of the leading nations in the world working to create a more circular economy.

Written By Iain Gulland  |  17 Jan 17

We’re proud to be working closely with the Government and other partners to drive that shift, and this award – made at the prestigious annual The Circulars awards – is testament to all the hard work that’s going on in Scotland to make the most of the valuable resources we have and make them work for our future.  It’s a clear endorsement for Scotland as a leader on the circular economy and signifies that our commitment to making things last is valued by the global community.

Of course, it has been a long time in the making.  Arguably, the seeds were sown back in 2010 when Scotland’s then zero waste plan set out some of the most ambitious targets anywhere in the world and proposed a regulatory overhaul designed to help make them a reality.  But, perhaps more importantly, it set out a direction to view Scotland’s ‘waste’ as a ‘resource’ upon which we could realise economic opportunities, creating jobs and social benefit.  It led to the creation of Zero Waste Scotland and has set the tone for much that’s happened since, as we’ve moved what was primarily seen as an environmental concern to part of our nation’s mainstream economic story.

Zero Waste Scotland has been at the heart of that and we are leading the way on making Scotland a circular economy nation.  We’ve become circular economy experts and our insights continue to inform Government policy in this area.  Importantly, we’re also supported (by the Scottish Government and with European Regional Development Funding) at a level which means we’re able to make a tangible difference by investing in real world examples of the circular economy, which in turn are inspiring others.   When I speak with others around the world, there’s a common refrain about Scotland: that lots of people are talking about a circular economy but we’re one of those that’s really making it happen.

At the heart of that success is the unique approach we have in Scotland, with multiple agencies working together, with Government, in a collaborative approach.  From early research being worked on jointly by ourselves, SEPA and Scottish Enterprise, there’s now a much broader range of partners in the mix including education and skills bodies, academia, innovation centres and funding bodies.   The circular economy no longer sits in a neat box – it’s an idea that’s being shared across different parts of the policy landscape and is all the richer for it.  

Sometimes success leads people to rest upon their laurels: not us – we’re determined to use this as a springboard for even faster and deeper progress.  The circular economy is a dynamic space in which to operate so we’re determined to keep moving.  The planned Circular Economy Bill which will go before the current Scottish Parliament is a huge opportunity to take further strides, as, more immediately, is our £18 million circular economy investment fund.

At our flagship Scottish Resources Conference last year, the Cabinet Secretary, Roseanna Cunningham, said that while Scotland’s circular economy strategy was called Making Things Last, now we needed to make things happen.  And at Zero Waste Scotland we are determined that this international recognition can help us and our partners do just that.

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