Act now to protect Scotland’s natural capital, say businesses

Central Scotland Green Network encourages businesses to use green infrastructure

Nearly three quarters of Scottish businesses believe urgent action is needed to protect and enhance Scotland’s natural capital, according to new research from the Central Scotland Green Network (CSGN).
Three fifths of Scotland’s businesses are located within the central belt and as Europe’s largest greenspace initiative, the CSGN is working to transform the area into a place where the environment adds value to the economy and where enterprise can flourish.
The survey found that 72% believe action is needed urgently and whilst 84% of businesses understand the importance of local greenspace and in particular an attractive frontage to the business, over half (54%) of those surveyed think the area surrounding their premises which they are responsible for is of average or poor quality.
The findings also revealed that businesses would like to know more about green infrastructure with over three fifths (61%) stating they are interested in making their business more environmentally sustainable.
In particular, 26% of businesses highlighted their concern about flooding and storm-water management and 37% said they are interested in knowing more about surface water management solutions, whilst 16% are keen to find out more about green roofs.
Simon Rennie, chief executive of the Central Scotland Green Network Trust, the organisation which drives forward delivery of the CSGN, said: “Our findings demonstrate that businesses know local greenspace can be commercially important and if used effectively can contribute to their bottom line.  But despite this acknowledgement, many feel they are not making the most of their greenspace and would like to know more and a large proportion are concerned over flooding issues which have become more widespread in recent months.
“We’re encouraging businesses in the central belt to re-examine their green assets and consider adopting green infrastructure approaches.  As well as benefiting the environment, innovative sustainable practices can help to cut costs, generate new business opportunities and create a competitive advantage, whilst enhancing the quality of life for staff and boosting company reputation.”
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon highlighted the importance of the work of CSGN at the recent World Forum on Natural Capital.
She said: “Preserving natural capital often involves enhancing common assets – our environment, woodlands, natural resources – which everybody benefits from.
“CSGN aims to transform Central Scotland over the next three decades and that’s an area of 3.5 million people. It’s the largest greenspace project in Europe and it brings major environmental benefits – that in itself makes it worthwhile. But it will also help us to tackle inequality. The network prioritises action in disadvantaged areas. Its projects provide employment, training and volunteering opportunities.”
The CSGN area stretches from Ayrshire, Inverclyde and Dunbartonshire in the west, to Fife and Lothians in the east, encompassing 19 local authorities across 10,000 sq km.
As the biggest greenspace project of its kind in Europe, the CSGN has the potential for 3.5million people to benefit, equating to 70 per cent of Scotland’s population.

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