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£1m Programme to Help Scottish SMEs Prepare for Net Zero

Michael Behr


Scottish SMEs net zero
With COP26 on the horizon, the new programme will provide businesses with advice and resources to help meet climate change targets.

The University of Edinburgh and Royal Bank of Scotland have partnered to help Scottish SMEs prepare for net zero and become climate change leaders.

The new £1-million programme will combine the expertise of the University’s Edinburgh Climate Change Institute (ECCI) and Royal Bank’s business banking specialists. Together, they help firms identify the opportunities a net zero economy can create while helping make their operations more sustainable.

Being funded by Royal Bank, the partnership will focus on Small to Medium Size Enterprises (SMEs) and aims to assist more than 500 businesses.

ECCI will work closely with the bank to develop the tools, advice and materials that will enable businesses to understand and take action to reduce their climate impact, to fully contribute to tackling climate change, and to identify and realise the business opportunities from being at the forefront of the net zero economy.

Content will include toolkits, online learning, mentoring and peer-to-peer work that will provide knowledge, training, and advice to help SMEs to become key agents in driving a more sustainable and resilient economy.

ECCI Executive Director and Chair in Carbon Management and Education at the University of Edinburgh Professor Dave Reay said: “Our Institute brings together unique partnerships to find the most effective ways to tackle the global challenge of climate change.

“Small businesses have so much to contribute to the transition to a net zero economy, but they need support to understand where they can have most impact and to recognise and respond to the opportunities it presents.

“We’re delighted to be working alongside the Royal Bank to help their small business customers to be climate champions.”


This programme will help small businesses contribute to Scotland’s national target for net zero emissions by 2045, and are ready to succeed in the future net zero economy.

Funding from Royal Bank is being delivered through its 300 Fund – a multi-million pound initiative created to support projects in Scotland making a positive difference in areas such as climate change, financial capability and enterprise.

It will see £1m a year invested in activities across Scotland until 2027, the year the bank celebrates its 300th anniversary.

Chair of the Scotland Board at the Royal Bank of Scotland Malcolm Buchanan said: “We are delighted to work with the University of Edinburgh’s Edinburgh Climate Change Institute to deliver a programme which will make a real difference to the country’s SME community.

“SMEs are the lifeblood of the Scottish economy and as the country prepares to host COP26 in November the work that the ECCI and Royal Bank is about to undertake and the insight it can offer becomes more relevant than ever.

“Royal Bank of Scotland’s 300 Fund aims to support projects which drive meaningful and positive change and as a principle partner for COP26, it feels right to work with the University of Edinburgh to help the country and our communities prepare for a greener future.”

Michael Behr

Senior Staff Writer

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