Decarbonisation in the public sector

We recognise that the public sector - as a provider of services, a major employer and procurer of goods and services - has an important role to play in decarbonising Scotland.

We expect Scotland's public bodies to lead by example in combating climate change and making a valuable contribution towards achieving our emissions reduction targets.

We publish climate change reports for our own estate within the yearly sustainability reports.

Climate change reporting by public bodies

The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 requires public bodies to:

  • contribute to carbon emissions reduction targets
  • contribute to climate change adaptation
  • act sustainably

The Act also allows ministers to:

  • impose other climate change duties
  • require reports on compliance with climate change duties
  • designate one or more bodies or persons to monitor compliance and carry out investigations

Some of these powers have not yet been used, however following public consultation and parliamentary scrutiny we made The Climate Change (Duties of Public Bodies: Reporting Requirements) (Scotland) Order 2015, requiring the public bodies listed within to annually report on compliance with the climate change duties.

We fund the Sustainable Scotland Network (SSN) to provide operational support for this reporting process. SSN acts as a single point of contact for the submission, publication and analysis of all public bodies' reports. It also communicates our public sector's good practice and actions on climate change to a wide audience of decision makers.

SSN also works with other funded programmes, such as Resource Efficient Scotland and Adaptation Scotland, to provide public bodies with free advice and practical tools to help deliver climate change action and reduce emissions and costs. SSN provides reporting forms, user guidance and a list of the major players.

Public sector engagement on climate change

Climate Week

We hold an annual Climate Week in September to raise awareness of and inspire action on climate change, with a focus on the public sector. The aim of Climate Week is to get organisations across Scotland to host events highlighting the importance of reducing emissions and adapting to a changing climate.

Read more information on Climate Week.