The Environment Strategy for Scotland: Driving the Transition to a Nature Positive Economy - A Synthesis of Policy Levers for Governments

This report supports the research project ‘Delivering the Environment Strategy Outcome on Scotland’s Economy: Evidence base and Policy levers’. It focuses on the transition to a nature positive economy, summarises key evidence, and presents a synthesis of potential actions.

4. Aims

This report will support the development of the Environment Strategy for Scotland. In particular, it will help to provide the evidence base needed to inform the development of a ‘pathway’ for one of the Environment Strategy outcomes: ‘Our thriving, sustainable economy conserves and grows our natural assets’[1].

Achieving this outcome will mean transforming Scotland’s economy so that it thrives within the planet’s sustainable limits. In particular, it will mean supporting the just transition to an economy which is:

  • Nature positive – promoting nature’s recovery by rebuilding natural capital and driving a shift to sustainable production and consumption - ensuring that our economic activities are designed to replenish and regenerate the natural systems on which our economy and wellbeing depend.
  • Net zero - rapidly decarbonising across sectors and investing in nature-based solutions to reach net zero by 2045, while also reducing the carbon footprint of our consumption of imported goods and services.
  • Circular - shifting from a linear ‘take, make, waste’ economy to a circular economy which is regenerative and minimises waste – in turn, supporting decarbonisation and reducing pressure on nature.

This report focuses on the transition to a nature positive economy and aims to summarise key evidence in the scientific and practice domains which underpin recommendations in international reviews of relevance, notably that of Dasgupta (2021) in their reporting on the economics of biodiversity. The EOI framework is then used to organise the evidence in relation to levers which can be used by government, and other relevant actors, to achieve the aim of a nature positive economy.

The report contributes to a wider project led by the New Economics Foundation (NEF), which aims to gather and analyse existing sources of evidence to draw conclusions on Scotland’s current performance in progressing towards a just transition to a net zero, nature positive, circular economy; and to recommend the policy levers that could be used most effectively by the Scottish Government to drive progress towards this goal. The findings from this evidence review have been made available to NEF, in draft and final forms, as background information for the development of recommendations on how the Scottish Government can strengthen its approach to achieving the outcome ‘Our thriving, sustainable economy conserves and grows our natural assets’ (also referred as the ‘Economy’ outcome).



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