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.

5. The Environment Strategy for Scotland

The Environment Strategy creates an overarching strategic framework for Scotland’s policies on the environment and climate change. One of its key aims is to support a whole-of-government approach to tackling the climate and nature emergencies. The strategy was placed on a statutory basis by the UK Withdrawal from the European Union (Continuity) (Scotland) Act 2021 ('the Continuity Act'), with Section 47 requiring Scottish Ministers to prepare and publish an environmental policy strategy.

The Scottish Government is taking a phased approach to developing the Environment Strategy. Its vision and outcomes were published in 2020, followed by an initial monitoring framework and website for tracking progress towards these outcomes, published in 2021. Progress reports to update the Scottish Parliament were published in March 2022 and 2023. The current and final phase is to develop ‘outcome pathways’, identifying actions and priorities across government for driving progress towards the strategy’s outcomes.

One Earth. One home. One shared future.

By 2045: By restoring nature and ending Scotland's contribution to climate change, our country is transformed for the better - helping to secure the wellbeing of our people and planet for generations to come.

The strategy’s outcomes are designed to provide focus for the efforts of the Scottish Government and its partners when working to deliver the vision, summarised above.

Three of the outcomes describe the Scottish Government’s ambitions for the environment, focusing on nature, climate change and sustainable resource-use:

  • Scotland’s nature is protected and restored with flourishing biodiversity and clean and healthy air, water, seas and soils.
  • We play our full role in tackling the global climate emergency and limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C.
  • We use and re-use resources wisely and have ended the throw-away culture.

There are established policies and strategies in these areas - the Environment Strategy sets an overall framework for these and explores synergies between them. The remaining three outcomes describe wider ambitions for Scotland’s economy, society and global citizenship – drawing out connections with wider government policies:

  • Our thriving, sustainable economy conserves and grows our natural assets.
  • Our healthy environment supports a fairer, healthier, more inclusive society.
  • We are responsible global citizens with a sustainable international footprint.

The Environment Strategy recognises that playing Scotland part in tackling the climate and nature emergencies will rely on transformative changes across Scotland’s economy and society, based on a just transition. In turn, this can help to achieve wider goals for the health and wellbeing of Scotland’s people and the resilience of our economy.



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