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Sustainable Scotland Network: Public Bodies Climate Change Reporting

The Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) has published its fifth analysis of mandatory public sector climate change reporting, showing a continued decline in emissions.

Co-delivered by ECCI, SSN is Scotland’s largest network of public sector sustainability professionals.

SSN analysis provides valuable insight into the public sector's response to the climate emergency and its progress towards meeting Scotland's ambitious climate change targets.

The report analyses 2019/20 Public Bodies Climate Change Duties (PBCCD) Reports, submitted in November 2020, by Scotland’s public bodies classified as ‘major players’ by the Scottish Government. Major players report on areas such as governance, adaptation, and corporate emissions.

The PBCCD Analysis Report 2019-20 presents key findings on public sector corporate emissions, highlighting important emission reduction projects and renewable energy initiatives.

Key findings

  • A decrease in Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions: Reported emissions from the public sector continue to decrease, with Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions down 28.5% since mandatory reporting began in 2015/16.
  • Reduction in energy use: Emissions from energy use in buildings and from transport dropped by 3.5% on the previous year. This is due in large part to further decarbonisation of the UK electricity grid with more renewable generation coming on-line.
  • Increase in renewable energy: Generation of renewable energy increased 9% compared to 2018/19 (314GWh), with over 70,000 tonnes of emissions displaced by renewable energy plants.
  • Emissions saved through environmental initiatives: Public sector projects increased emission savings by 2%, compared to 2018/19. Projects included energy efficiency measures, waste reduction and diversion from landfill. Waste projects were responsible for nearly half of the savings, exceeding savings from electricity projects for the first time.
  • Emission targets: 75% of public bodies have one or more emission targets. Over 20 bodies have already set a net zero target that aligns with or is more ambitious than the 2045 national target.
  • Submitted reports: A healthy majority of reports were submitted by public bodies submitted (156 out of 180), despite the challenges and disruption from COVID-19.
  • COVID-19: Emissions from the education sector signal some impact from homeworking and lockdown. It is unlikely the full effects of COVID-19 will be realised until data becomes available for the 2020/21 reporting period.

Kathyrn Dapré, SSN Chair, said:

“I am extremely proud of my public sector colleagues in returning good quality climate change reports last year, in spite of the ongoing Covid pandemic and the extra pressures this has put on organisations.

"Public sector greenhouse gas emissions have now fallen by over 28% in the last 5 years, and 22 public bodies have set net-zero carbon targets that either meet, or are more ambitious than, the national net-zero target of 2045. But we do not underestimate the scale of the challenge we face in meeting those targets.

"The analysis shows that decarbonisation of heat will be the biggest of these challenges, and only through working collaboratively will public bodies overcome this.

SSN remains committed to our members and to Scottish Government in supporting emissions reduction efforts and a green recovery across the Scottish public sector.” Kathryn Dapré, SSN Chair

Read the report in full

Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN)

The Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN), co-delivered by ECCI, is Scotland’s largest network of public sector sustainability professionals.

It helps Scotland’s councils, health services, universities and other public bodies work together on ambitious, evidence-based climate action and adaptation.