Scotland well-placed to benefit from circular economy, report finds

16th January 2015

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Business & Industry ,
  • Manufacturing ,
  • Pollution & Waste Management ,
  • Products ,
  • Life Cycle Analysis


Neil Cleverly

Scotland's strengths in sectors such as oil and gas could unlock "hundreds of millions of pounds" of value from materials they use, according to a report by the Green Alliance.

The report, which was commissioned by Zero Waste Scotland with support from the Scottish Council for Development and Industry, looked at how to make the Scottish economy more circular by assessing potential opportunities in three sectors: oil and gas, food and drink, and finance.

Opportunities identified by Green Alliance include converting whisky by-products into feed for the fish-farming industry, which is estimated to be worth around £1,500 a tonne.

Decommissioning offshore oil and gas assets is estimated to cost up to £35-50 billion by 2040, but some of the cost could be recovered by reusing infrastructure, in particular for carbon capture and storage, the report suggests.

To enable partnerships between different industries to reuse each others' waste, Scotland needs a "targeted, challenge-led innovation strategy", the report recommends. It advocates involving bodies such as Zero Waste Scotland or Scottish Enterprise agencies in such initiatives as a way of driving technically risky, but potentially big win pilot projects.

The report outlines how "challenge-led" models have already proved successful in driving innovation on other environmental issues. It highlights the example of a challenge run by the Confederation of European Paper Industries, which used two teams of scientists and business people to devise a way of reducing the industry's CO2 emissions by 80%, while increasing the amount for which they can sell their products by 50%.

Dustin Benton, senior policy advisor at Green Alliance and author of the report, said: "Scotland is a long way ahead of other parts of the UK in its policy support for resource productivity.

"Its track record of success in renewables, combined with its research strengths and business support bodies, put it in a strong position to develop the technologies needed to capture high-value, innovative manufacturing opportunities in a circular economy."

Richard Lochhead, cabinet secretary for the environment, commented: "The report highlights some of the potential benefits for a number of Scotland's key industries and I look forward to discussion on these issues in the coming months. This also marks the start of a six-month period of engagement and debate led by the Scottish government on the opportunities of a more circular economy."


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

EU and UK citizens fear net-zero delivery deficit

Support for net zero remains high across the UK and the EU, but the majority of citizens don't believe that major emitters and governments will reach their climate targets in time.

16th May 2024

Read more

There is strong support for renewable energy as a source of economic growth among UK voters, particularly among those intending to switch their support for a political party.

16th May 2024

Read more

Despite cost-of-living concerns, four-fifths of shoppers are willing to pay more for sustainably produced or sourced goods, a global survey has found.

16th May 2024

Read more

One in five UK food businesses are not prepared for EU Deforestation Regulation (EUDR) coming into force in December, a new survey has uncovered.

16th May 2024

Read more

Each person in the UK throws a shocking 35 items of unwanted clothes and textiles into general waste every year on average, according to a new report from WRAP.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Taxing the extraction of fossil fuels in the world’s most advanced economies could raise $720bn (£575bn) by 2030 to support vulnerable countries facing climate damages, analysis has found.

2nd May 2024

Read more

The largest-ever research initiative of its kind has been launched this week to establish a benchmark for the private sector’s contribution to the UK’s 2050 net-zero target.

2nd May 2024

Read more

Weather-related damage to homes and businesses saw insurance claims hit a record high in the UK last year following a succession of storms.

18th April 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close