Collective responsibility on climate key motivator for signing Climate Compact

Tue, 02/23/2021 - 14:29

There is a role we can, and should, all play in encouraging a green recovery and transition to a sustainable future.

And, as a member of the Edinburgh Climate Commission and Head of Clean Energy at Shepherd and Wedderburn, I have seen first-hand the tremendous potential we have in this country to become a world leader in renewable energy.

Shepherd and Wedderburn has been at the forefront of innovation in the clean energy sector for almost three decades.

We understand the existential threat posed by climate change. And, we have been supporting clients across the UK in developing clean energy projects.

We believe it is our responsibility to go further.

We need to lead by example in protecting and nurturing the natural environment. We need to tackle the climate emergency, for the sake of current and future generations.

Making a collective difference

I am passionate about the Edinburgh Climate Compact. It shows the determination of businesses and organisations to work together with the common purpose of achieving Edinburgh’s net zero goal.

I believe we can really make a difference and show the world what we can achieve if we put our mind to it. Signatories span both the public and private sectors. And their determination to make a collective difference is a huge step forward in ensuring sustainable business practices are a normal part of working life.

I have worked in the clean energy sector for over 20 years. During that time there have been many well-intentioned pilot projects across the UK that have, unfortunately, failed to significantly shift the dial on sustainability.

We have had a tendency to reinvent the wheel each time. Instead we should seek out collaboration and knowledge to leverage success.

The Compact has the potential to become a template for cities across Scotland and further afield. By sharing best practice and the lessons we learn, we can set out a routemap to decarbonisation that others can follow.

Aligning to international climate goals

On the day Shepherd and Wedderburn signed the Compact, we also announced our commitment to achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.

This followed a root-and-branch review of our sustainability policy. Our enhanced sustainability policy is informed by the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and is aligned to those of the cities of Edinburgh, Glasgow and London which have committed to becoming net zero by 2030.

Our policy covers three core areas: our people, our clients and our business.

As a minimum, we expect our business activities to comply with, and exceed where practicable, all applicable environmental legislation, regulations and codes of practice. We will integrate sustainability considerations into all our business decisions. We will also report our greenhouse gas emissions and progress against our net zero target to internal and external stakeholders. This will be done annually, using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol Corporate Reporting Standard methodology.

As host nation for COP26 later this year, this is a hugely exciting time for Scotland and the UK.

The green recovery is the catalyst we hope will galvanise the whole country to lead the way.

We can make an enormous difference if we all work together, as businesses, organisations and individuals, with the common goal of building a better, more sustainable future.


By Claire Foster, Commissioner, Edinburgh Climate Commission and Head of Clean Energy at Shepherd and Wedderburn

image credit: "Wind turbines" by ali_pk is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0