Publication - Strategy/plan

Securing a green recovery on a path to net zero: climate change plan 2018–2032 - update

This update to Scotland's 2018-2032 Climate Change Plan sets out the Scottish Government's pathway to our new and ambitious targets set by the Climate Change Act 2019. It is a key strategic document on our green recovery from COVID-19.

Securing a green recovery on a path to net zero: climate change plan 2018–2032 - update
Chapters 7 Agriculture - 3.7. Agriculture

Chapters 7 Agriculture - 3.7. Agriculture

Introduction

3.7.1 In 2019 Scotland’s agriculture industry contributed around £1.3 billion worth of GVA towards to the Scottish economy, employed 67,000 people (making it a key employer in rural Scotland) and generated a gross output of around £3.3 billion. The Scottish Government supports Scotland’s food and drink Ambition 2030 targets of doubling the value of the food and drink sector by 2030 to £30 billion. This ambitious target has encouraged growth in the sector amongst small, medium and large businesses. That positive messaging on Scotland as a land of food and drink must be maintained but increasingly combined with an added narrative that we also have ambitious climate change targets.

3.7.2 Agriculture and food production rely on natural processes, and will therefore always cause some degree of greenhouse gas emissions; in particular, livestock will always emit some greenhouse gases. Therefore, a fine balance must be found to ensure greenhouse gas reductions can take place while Scotland continues to produce high quality and sustainable food. Brexit also presents key challenges around trade, potential tariffs and the loss of the security of EU support.

3.7.3 However, we do believe that with its temperate climate, reliable rainfall, and permanent grassland, Scotland has a climate ideally suited to livestock farming. We also believe that, with changes in farming practices, we have a sustainable future as one of the places in the world most suited to producing high quality meat, but with our farming approach altered so that this is done in accordance with best practice in emissions reduction. Moreover, were Scotland to cease to produce high quality food, and in particular meat, then that production would simply take place elsewhere, effectively resulting in no change to global emissions and with the potential that our carbon foot print would be higher.

3.7.4 The majority of the emissions in the agriculture sector come from livestock, however, it is important that all farmers and crofters, not just those with livestock, continue to adopt the low carbon technologies that currently exist, as well as those that become available in the future through technological advances. These can also support our wider environmental goals: for example, the use of precision farming techniques can reduce the need for fertilisers and pesticides which has a positive impact on biodiversity.

3.7.5 Farmers, crofters and land managers, through their stewardship, have created the magnificent scenery which we tend to take for granted and which underpins our tourism success. In fact the scenery is the factor most commonly mentioned when people describe why they decided to visit Scotland. That scenery rests on their active management of the land and for that they deserve our thanks and credit.

3.7.6 We know that these landscapes will evolve as we respond to climate change with more woodland and through the restoration of our peatlands as well as an increase in land for growing biomass. We see this as an approach founded not only on nature based solutions but one with people at its heart. Our farmers crofters and land managers must have access to the benefits, both economic and social, that these changes will bring. We also recognise the need to maintain support for existing activities such as mixed livestock production, which promotes managed permanent grassland which can benefit biodiversity. Without that land use, land tends to revert to scrub, bracken, thistles, rushes and wasteland with negative visual appeal.

3.7.7 It is also important that our soils and grassland are managed appropriately, and Scotland’s farmers and crofters play a key role in this. For example, poorly managed soils can become degraded and release carbon, while under good management the use of clover can help reduce the need for fertilisers and soils can actively sequester carbon. It is important that farmers and crofters are supported in positive management of soil as an asset, for food production, as a carbon store and to support biodiversity restoration, particularly in high nature value areas.

3.7.8 There are multiple pressures on agricultural land use. Food production, forestry, peatland restoration, bio-energy, feedstock production and habitat restoration are all competing, meaning it is important to consider optimal land use, as discussed in the LULUCF chapter (Part 3, Chapter 6). There is no doubt, however, that we will want to continue to support rural population growth, including by keeping people on suitable land to produce food as the basis for a thriving Scottish food and drink sector, and indeed we wish to repopulate parts of rural Scotland where the local population has dwindled and fallen and revitalise our communities by encouraging and enabling more people to live there. Encouraging more localised and regionalised supply chains can build resilience to disruption and provide market support to high quality sustainable food production.

3.7.9 We have taken forward a range of actions in the agriculture sector since the Climate Change Plan was published in 2018. We have increased the provision of advice, with a corresponding increase in uptake and support through the Farm Advisory Service and Farming for a Better Climate; we have undertaken a range of research and knowledge transfer projects to inform low carbon farming and to help develop our understanding of low carbon technologies and the opportunities they present for Scotland; we have supported farmers to improve efficiencies and therefore reduce emissions; we have encouraged the integration of trees on farms and crofts; and we have secured improvements on how agriculture emissions are recorded in the Greenhouse Gas Inventory. We have also seen the good work that is already being undertaken by farmers and crofters to reduce emissions, and have encouraged peer to peer support through our Climate Change Champions and Monitor Farms. With support from the Forestry Grant Scheme and local forestry advisory initiatives, over 200 farmers and crofters each year are already creating new farm woodlands and diversifying their farming businesses to include forestry.

Farming for a Better Climate helps farmers and land managers identify low or no-cost greenhouse gas mitigation measures for everyday activities on the farm. Delivered by SAC Consulting and funded by Scottish Government, the Farming for a Better Climate initiative has worked with 12 volunteer climate change focus farmers and their discussion groups, showcasing practical measures and sharing ideas as they work towards improving farm efficiency and reducing the farm carbon footprint. Farming for a Better Climate is currently exploring soil regenerative agriculture techniques with the help of five arable farmers in the North East of Scotland, charting their experiences and activities to protect and enhance farm soils, and the accompanying benefits for the business. The Farming for a Better Climate webpage and social media accounts help to promote and share ideas, highlight what other farmers are doing and provide a hub of information for farmers and land managers looking to reduce their farm carbon footprint and respond to the climate challenge. More info at www.farmingforabetterclimate.org

3.7.10 We have directly supported farmers, crofters and land managers to play their part in cutting emissions, addressing climate change as well as delivering wider bio-diversity and environmental benefits, with a third of Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) schemes providing funding in this area.

3.7.11 This work has laid the foundations, but the introduction of the emissions reduction targets set out in the Climate Change (Emissions Reduction) (Scotland) Act 2019 means that the urgency has increased. There is now an opportunity, as we support farmers and crofters alongside wider land managers through the impacts and recovery from COVID-19 and Brexit, towards agricultural transformation. This ambition and support for transformation is reflected in the new policy outcome and policies outlined below. We are already working in partnership to develop new rural support measures that will result in a rapid and widespread uptake, to transition to a sustainable sector that more directly and explicitly supports our climate and environmental ambitions. We will build on this.

3.7.12 The multi-dimensional nature of farming, crofting and land use means that this is complex and challenging. We will work with and support farmers, crofters and land managers through this transition, recognising that the existing work underway to consider wider future rural policy must be allowed to conclude.

New context

3.7.13 The COVID-19 crisis has created significant challenges for the agriculture and food and drink sectors. Yet it has also demonstrated the power of localism and connecting people with nature, reminding us why we must tackle the climate emergency and biodiversity loss, while reconnecting people with their food producers. Consumers increasingly value sustainability and resilience in food production, including high animal welfare standards, environmental credentials and transparency in the food supply chain. The crisis has also reminded us about the need for food security and producing our own food given the fragility of international food chain supply arrangements, and tariff imposition.

3.7.14 The agricultural sector, as part of the critical national infrastructure for food, has played its part in ensuring food supply chains continued to operate throughout the COVID-19 crisis, particularly in rural and remote areas. It is too early to formally assess the overall impacts of COVID-19 on agricultural businesses but the recognition of food production as being critical, alongside continued EU funding, has maintained the sector. The pandemic highlighted the vital importance for agricultural businesses to have live contingency plans in place, so that in emergency situations animal welfare needs can be met and food production can continue. The Scottish Government is committed to delivering a green recovery from the pandemic, with farming and food production and the wider agricultural supply chain playing a key part.

Green recovery and just transition

3.7.15 We must build a sustainable food production sector for future generations whilst reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing carbon sequestration, as well as helping to improve biodiversity, air and water quality and allowing households access to fresh and affordable local Scottish produce.

3.7.16 There is an opportunity to work alongside agriculture and land based industries to develop new policies aimed at delivering on climate change and wider environmental outcomes, such as: restoring biodiversity; improving water, soils and air quality; and encouraging natural flood management as well as climate adaptation to facilitate a sustainable future for farming. The COVID-19 pandemic has allowed people to rediscover nature and, where appropriate, the countryside, and to value the important role that farmers, crofters and land managers play as custodians of our rural landscapes. We must build upon this.

3.7.17 Partnership is key to achieving a fair transition. The proposals set out in this Climate Change Plan update are founded on a co-development approach. We have committed to farmer-led groups, working with farmers and crofters and other stakeholders in the food and drink sector. The aim is to support farmers, crofters and agricultural businesses to cut their emissions to the lowest level possible and to commit to low carbon, sustainable farming. We will achieve this by progressing appropriate policies, developing new support mechanisms, and providing appropriate advice and support to secure further positive behavioural change within the industry.

3.7.18 This will also allow us to build further on the levels of innovation we have already seen across the sector, with farmers, crofters and land managers presently using a range of approaches to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from their businesses, as well as the potential to maintain and enhance carbon storage from our land.

3.7.19 At the same time, we must optimise land use: we want farmers and crofters to produce food for people and livestock more sustainably, but we also want them to use appropriate land to support carbon sequestration and storage through planting trees and restoring peatland. We will also encourage them to farm products which can contribute to renewable energy ambitions, and to take a whole-farm approach to their emissions. We will work with the industry to consider the complex issues around multi-faceted land use and decisions that impact on them, while we identify the best way to ensure delivery of these outcomes. As reflected in the LULUCF chapter, we need to take people with us as our land use changes and we will initiate a conversation with communities, particularly those likely to be most impacted, to ensure people understand what we are doing and why.

3.7.20 We must also recognise the role that farmers, crofters and land managers play in supporting our thriving natural capital, landscapes and green tourism, along with food production. These can all offer opportunities for upskilling and diversification, which will need investment and support mechanisms in place to ensure such opportunities are maximised. The Scottish Government is committed to developing the natural economy and creating clean, green jobs and skills.

3.7.21 The scale of the change necessary will also present opportunities for some farmers, crofters and land managers to access new income streams either through established industries such as tree planting or from more novel approaches such as growing bioenergy crops. We will work with the sector to ensure farmers crofters and land managers as well as the wider rural and island communities share the benefits that come from these opportunities.

Positive vision for 2032 and 2045

3.7.22 By 2032, the agriculture sector in Scotland will have adopted and be competently using all available low emission technologies throughout the whole sector, such as maximising efficiencies, minimising inputs and maximising outputs, precision farming, optimal slurry and manure usage and storage. There will also be increased innovation in areas such as feedstuffs and use of fertilisers, making a significant contribution to meeting our climate change targets as well as wider environmental and biodiversity impacts for the whole of Scotland.

3.7.23 Through partnership working between government and industry, agricultural businesses will have the skills and access to training that they need to shift to low emissions and sustainable farming. Through Scottish Government support to the industry, farmers and crofters across Scotland will benefit from increased climate-conscious consumption and sustainable investment from retailers. In addition, there will have been significant changes in use of appropriate land to accommodate a large increase in afforestation and peatland restoration/management, along with further integration of woodland and hedges on farms and crofts across Scotland.

Case study: James Hopkinson, Cloud Farming

James Hopkinson is one of five farmers working together as part of the Soil Regenerative Agriculture Group under Farming for a Better Climate. James is a partner and founder of Cloud Farming and Arable Ventures, combining the family farm Lindertis and Walker-Munro Farms, growing winter wheat, spring barley, winter barley, oats, peas, linseed and beans.

To protect and improve farm soils, James and his team have moved away from conventional ploughing across to direct drilling, non-inversion & shallow scratch tillage, causing less disturbance to soils and keeping soils covered under permanent cropping, stubbles or suitable cover crops where possible. James knows that he must first have healthy soil to support the farm to move away from the use of chemicals and synthetic fertilisers. James said “I believe that it is becoming rapidly unviable to consider only treating the symptoms of poor soil health, such as pests & diseases, and that we need to be addressing the root causes which are poor soil structure, restore chemical balance and improve biological activity. I hope that this project will help us gain a clearer understanding on how to change and improve soils on our farms and work towards reducing our farm carbon footprint”.

This is just one example of an innovative use of technology in agriculture. More info about this and other best practice examples can be found at www.farmingforabetterclimate.org

3.7.24 In 2045, our agriculture industry will have been transformed into a low emissions, holistic and integrated food production system that has a low environmental impact as well as benefitting nature, restoring biodiversity and contributing to our economy.

3.7.25 This will have been achieved through widespread adoption of all applicable low emission farming practices, with these existing as usual practice, rather than good practice. New innovative technologies will have emerged, to reduce the greenhouse emissions associated with food production, and these will be readily taken up by farmers and crofters. A whole-farm, low carbon approach will be the standard, and farmers will grow more biomass crops for both their own and industry use.

3.7.26 Farmers and crofters will have sustainable businesses, recognised for not just high quality, sustainable food, but also the delivery of natural capital outcomes, including on climate, soils, air, water and biodiversity. Continued professional development will be the norm so that farming practices continue to evolve to embrace new technologies as they emerge. Consumers will recognise the value of high quality, sustainably produced local produce, and producers will be much more responsive to market demand. Supply chains will be stronger and more localised, and value will be more fairly distributed.

3.7.27 The trees planted in the years since 2011 will have matured and be sequestering carbon at scale. Productive timber harvesting will be followed by restocking to begin repeating the process, where appropriate. Farmers and crofters will have facilitated peatland restoration and management along with the growth of crops for biomass at scale.

3.7.28 As outlined in the LULUCF chapter, land use will provide green economic and employment opportunities, offer public health benefits, help to address rural depopulation and provide social benefits to communities across Scotland. We will have ensured that farmers and crofters are benefitting from these opportunities with new, additional sources of income and investment in these land use changes.

Emissions Reduction Pathway to 2032
The target-consistent emissions-reduction pathway for the agriculture sector to 2032

Route Map to 2032

2020

New schemes and approaches developed to support low carbon, sustainable farming, informed by farmer-led groups.

2021

Agricultural Transformation Programme scaled up.

Environmental Conditionality introduced.

New on farm and croft tree integration demonstrator network launched and other opportunities to support increase planting of trees, hedgerows and agroforestry developed, boosting existing support.

New and expanded peer to peer knowledge transfer initiative launched, based on the success of our Young Climate Change Champions work.

Established advisory and knowledge transfer programmes and initiatives realigned and enhanced.

Management of storage and application of organic materials such as silage, slurry and liquid digestate reviewed.

Advice provided for farmers and crofters who wish to step back from agricultural businesses by providing an opportunity to consider alternative land-uses or alternative agricultural uses.

Work undertaken with stakeholders on options to increase peatland restoration on suitable agricultural and crofting land.

Work undertaken with Scottish Forestry to help remove barriers for those on agriculture holdings, particularly in the tenanted sector, who want to engage in woodland creation.

Options explored for land-use change to optimise uses beyond traditional farming and food production to multi-faceted land use including forestry, peatland restoration and management and biomass production.

2022

New policy on rural support developed, including: emissions reduction, sustainable food production, improving biodiversity, biomass crops and appropriate land use change in line with just transition principles.

The actions we are taking

3.7.29 The agriculture policies outlined in this Plan update provide a route map for agricultural transformation, starting in 2020 as we begin piloting and introducing new mechanisms of support for farmers, crofters and land managers to meet Scotland’s climate ambitions, as well as delivering wider biodiversity and environmental benefits and continuing food production. We will take a co-development approach, working with stakeholders and farmer-led groups to secure increased uptake of low emission farming measures through new schemes and approaches, the development of environmental conditionality and enhanced advisory support. Assistance will also be provided for farmers and crofters who wish to retire or leave the industry with dignity by providing an opportunity to consider alternative land uses or alternative agricultural uses. We recently consulted on a package of new agricultural permitted development rights, including for the conversion of agricultural buildings to new homes. This measure will help to encourage the re-use of surplus buildings and the provision of much-needed housing in rural areas, including in support of farm succession.

3.7.30 We believe that the best way to deliver our climate change ambitions in agriculture is to persuade farmers, crofters and land managers to change the way they produce food and farm the countryside. The work of the farmer led group is aimed as the objective of devising a new deal for them and a new deal based on a clear vision of a Scottish farming sector which produces high quality food for itself and for export; but which does so in a way which seeks to make emission reductions and thus tackling climate change a key objective. These shall be the two twin imperatives that drive our policy and will guide us in devising new programmes of financial support.

3.7.31 For that vision to be able to become a practical reality, it is essential that we continue to provide regular reliable income support for our farmers and crofters; but in exchange for that income we will expect them to farm in different ways in order to reduce emissions. We see this as a social contract with our farmers and crofters and through provision of fair and reasonable income levels we will recognise their hard work and effort in food production and environmental stewardship.

3.7.32 In delivery of this vision, the input of advice, expertise and experience of farmers and crofters (alongside scientists and others) will help us secure the support of the broader farming and crofting communities. In order to transform this vision into a series of pragmatic programmes, we are asking farmers and crofters to accept conditionality, requiring them to deliver on environmental standards, principally in emissions reduction but also in biodiversity. We will work with farmers and crofters and their representative bodies to implement these programmes in a way that provides the time, advice, and capacity to be effective, and over a reasonable transitional period move towards making such conditionality mandatory.

3.7.33 Alongside initiating transformation of the agriculture sector, we will continue to develop an altered approach to rural policy, having left the EU Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Our approach will build on the programmes brought by the work of farmer led groups, to include and combine this with forestry, peatland restoration and other methods of reducing emissions. We will also open a discussion on optimum land uses beyond just farming and food production to multi-faceted land use including forestry, peatland restoration and management and biomass production.

3.7.34 In recognition of the need for agricultural transformation, we have introduced a new outcome (detailed in Annex A) for a more productive, sustainable agriculture sector that significantly contributes towards delivering Scotland’s climate change, and wider environmental outcomes, through an increased uptake of climate mitigation measures by farmers, crofters, land managers and other primary food producers.

3.7.35 Under this outcome there will be a number of new policies that will help transition and begin the transformation of farming and food production. These are listed below, along with new and boosted policies under the existing five outcomes in the Climate Change Plan (shown in context in Annex A).

Future Rural Support

3.7.36 In the future farmers and land managers shall be able to access advice in order to encourage positive land stewardship that contributes to tackling climate change. We have introduced a new policy proposal to develop rural support to enable, encourage and, where appropriate, require the shift to low carbon, sustainable farming through emissions reduction, sustainable food production, improving biodiversity, planting biomass crops and appropriate land use change, developed in line with just transition principles. This will consider how a policy specifically designed to deliver outcomes for Scotland can be introduced to replace the existing EU CAP regime.

New agricultural support measures

3.7.37 A new commitment to develop new schemes and approaches to support low carbon, sustainable farming, including through the Programme Board for the Beef Suckler Climate Group[147] and other farmer-led groups on arable, dairy and high value, nature farming and crofting which will report in 2021[148].

Agricultural Transformation Programme

3.7.38 A new commitment to scale up the Agricultural Transformation Programme[149] across all the policies, including monitoring to assess the effectiveness of the pilot Sustainable Agricultural Capital Grant Scheme that will enable farmers and crofters to purchase equipment that should assist in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions, and support practice change[150].

Environmental Conditionality

3.7.39 A new policy proposal to introduce environmental conditionality in the agriculture sector from 2021 via implementation of the Beef Suckler Climate Report and more widely from 2022 through the review of existing CAP Greening, which will extend the requirements to all farmers and crofters to undertake environmental actions.

Further provision of advice for farmers and crofters who wish to retire

3.7.40 A new commitment to work with stakeholders to provide advice, including further extending the Land Matching Service and guidance for farmers and crofters who wish to step back from agricultural businesses by providing an opportunity to consider alternative land-uses or alternative agricultural uses. We also consider that transition of use and succession of outgoing farmers will be a process that can be facilitated by a more relaxed approach to planning and the provision of housing on farm.

Agriculture, Biodiversity and Climate Change Network

3.7.41 A new and expanded peer to peer knowledge transfer initiative based on the success of our Young Climate Change Champions work, whilst also incorporating wider environmental interests. This will allow peers to raise awareness of the issues, opportunities and best practice for low carbon farming along with wider environmental and land use considerations.

Advice and knowledge transfer

3.7.42 Since the 2018 Climate Change Plan, we have supported the dissemination of information and advice on climate change mitigation measures in agriculture through a range of communication methods, utilising technology and all media to best effect. This advice and knowledge transfer is essential and we will develop this through a new policy to realign and enhance our established programmes and initiatives such as the Farm Advisory Service, the Knowledge Transfer and Innovation Fund and Monitor Farm Programme to create a more cohesive approach to ensure advice and support is focussed on helping the industry to professionalise and support sustainable farming. This will also boost a range of existing policies in this Plan update.

Nitrogen Use

3.7.43 Policies on nitrogen use have been boosted though the development of a whole economy Nitrogen Balance Sheet.

Reduced emissions from the use and storage of manure and slurry

3.7.44 A new policy proposal to review management of storage and application of organic materials such as silage, slurry and liquid digestate, including what support may be required to ensure best practice. It is also boosted through funding slurry equipment and slurry store covers under the pilot capital grant scheme that was available in 2020[151].

Livestock emissions

3.7.45 We have boosted our policies on livestock emissions intensity through finalising research into the practicalities and feasibility of using feed additive methane inhibitors at scale in Scotland; and supporting research and development into livestock greenhouse gas emissions reduction including in areas such as methane capture and breeding for low emitting livestock. This research will allow consideration, including by the farmer-led groups, of how we can support further development and uptake of emerging technologies in Scotland.

Land use change

3.7.46 A new policy proposal to explore options for land-use change to optimise uses beyond traditional farming and food production to multi-faceted land use including forestry, peatland restoration and management and biomass production.

Woodland creation

3.7.47 Boosted existing support and agro forestry scheme through the launch of a new on farm and croft tree integration based demonstrator network and an additional £1.5 million to further support the integration of small woodlands on farmers and crofts across Scotland[152]. A new policy proposal, building on the successful work integrating woodland with farming businesses, to help remove barriers for those on agricultural holdings, particularly in the tenanted sector who want to engage in woodland creation, including exploring the potential to reform legislation where appropriate.

Peatland

3.7.48 A new policy proposal to work with stakeholders on options to increase peatland restoration on suitable agricultural and crofting land, to support delivery of policies in the LULUCF chapter. We will map peatland against this land which will allow modelling options for land-use change and inform opportunities for targeted support of peatland restoration and management.

Our call to others

The UK Government

3.7.49 The Scottish Government has called upon the UK Government for funding to support this work as a contribution to delivery of UK climate change targets. The level of that support must reflect the large contribution Scotland’s land mass has to offer in sequestering and storing carbon, not only to meet our climate change targets, but to help the whole of the UK meet theirs. The Scottish Government also expects the UK Government to uphold commitments to provide replacement EU funding to ensure that farmers, crofters, land managers and rural businesses can continue to receive support.

3.7.50 We have also asked that the UK Government ensures that future trade deals do not undercut the high agricultural and environmental standards delivered by Scottish farmers. The Scottish Government published clear proposals for the next 5 years in its stability and simplicity paper aimed at providing farmers with financial certainty in the face of Brexit. We are working to ensure that sustainability and inclusion lie at the core of future trade policy and we want the emission intensity of agricultural goods, and livestock in particular, to be a consideration when assessing future trade deals.

Scottish public sector organisations

3.7.51 The support and expertise of public sector partner organisations will be vital as we take forward the policies and proposals included in this Plan update and a new rural support policy. It is important that we work in collaboration and public sector partners must also engage farmers, crofters and land managers and owners in the formulation and delivery of new policies and programmes.

3.7.52 We will therefore continue to share knowledge and best practice, for example through our collaborative work with public sector organisations such as NatureScot and Forestry and Land Scotland, particularly on land use change and delivery of outcomes at a landscape scale. One example is our work with NatureScot on Piloting an Outcome Based Approach in Scotland. Another is the work that FLS are doing on the restoration of the damaged industrial landscapes of the Central Belt. Restoring the damaged landscape, a legacy of heavy and the extractive industries, with the aim of returning to a more natural but nonetheless productive countryside that people can enjoy. This is an exciting and transformational, landscape scale set of interventions truly aimed at community payback and environmental improvement.

3.7.53 Regional Land Use Partnerships will involve government, land owners, stakeholders and local communities working together to meet regional priorities, whilst also supporting our national endeavour to end Scotland’s contribution to climate change.

Scottish businesses and industry

3.7.54 Scottish businesses and industry have a key role to play as we decarbonise the agriculture sector. The Scottish Government will continue to work in partnership with stakeholders and farmers to highlight solutions, as well as taking forward actions in this Plan update and through the development of future rural support required to create a sustainable Scottish agriculture sector. For example, we encourage businesses to support farmers, crofters and land managers by investing in high quality Scottish produce, promoting sustainability within the agriculture sector. The wider agricultural supply chain also has a role to reduce their emissions and enable the quick adoption of new methods, equipment, tools and products.

3.7.55 The private sector also has a role in supporting investment in nature based solutions, bringing forward novel approaches for natural accounting investment vehicles that farmers and land managers can access.

Individuals/households

3.7.56 The Scottish Government has long supported the need for a healthy diet, and Food Standards Scotland have a well-established set of guidelines on how to achieve this. This guidance includes the need for a healthy level of consumption of red meat and dairy products and a marked increase in the consumption in fruits and vegetables within the average Scottish diet.

3.7.57 The Scottish Government encourages this healthy diet, and would further encourage the people of Scotland to consider the positive impacts of eating locally sourced food and, crucially, minimising food waste. Through buying high quality local Scottish produce, including red meat and dairy products, we can work with our food production sector to ensure it is produced in a truly sustainable manner and avoid simply off-shoring emissions to other countries. Creating greater security and resilience in our food supply chains will also create opportunities for innovation, skills and jobs in the wider food and drink sector.

3.7.58 As has been highlighted within the waste chapter (Part 3, Chapter 5) of this update, reduction of food waste also has an important role to play in driving emissions reductions within Scotland, and can result in significant cost saving for households.


Contact

Email: climate_change@gov.scot