Conclusions and next steps
The challenge with this approach will be the potential for an apathetic response coupled with the complexity of implementation. This can be overcome through authentic leadership, co-operation, and clear positioning of the purpose and outcomes. Those leading the way must connect with individual businesses to engage, inform, and inspire them with real life examples of how change can be delivered to the benefit of all.
The focus for this group was climate change mitigation but it would be remiss not to make clear that now is the time to challenge the fundamental mindsets that have developed around what the agricultural industry delivers and how its actions influence wider society. Scottish agriculture has the capacity and potential to not only accelerate our transition to Net Zero and enhance biodiversity, but also to:
- Improve the competitive advantage and reputation of our food and drink industry:
- Deliver robust and resilient local/regional food supply chains:
- Create opportunities for skills development and employment, delivering wider economic impact:
- Contribute towards the achievement of national objectives, including well-being, nutrition, and resilient communities:
- Innovate to create new market segments and deliver economic impact through collaboration with research and development organisations and institutes:
- Facilitate the development of new renewable energy opportunities.
The agricultural industry requires a strategy that recognises its fundamental capabilities and opportunities.
It is important that we acknowledge that none of this can be achieved by a group of independent people who come together to agree principles but have no responsibility for action. For Scotland to be a world leader in sustainable food production we need to assign responsibility for strategy AND action. If we do not, we will continue to fail the industry and as a result the role it can play for us all.