Festival shows our businesses are committed - Liz McAreavey

Scotland’s ambitious target for net zero requires the commitment from all elements of society and industry if we are to be successful in addressing the climate challenge.
Liz McAreavey, CEO at Edinburgh Chamber of CommerceLiz McAreavey, CEO at Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce
Liz McAreavey, CEO at Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce

Edinburgh has committed to the even more ambitious target of net zero by 2030 and this seems to have been fully embraced by the Capital’s business community, as over 170 businesses have signed up to the Edinburgh’s Business Festival.

The event, which focused on the just transition to a net zero economy, was organised by the Chamber and held with the support of City of Edinburgh Council and Royal Bank of Scotland at the bank’s Conference Centre at Gogarburn on Friday.

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Edinburgh Chamber is pleased to welcome Humza Yousaf as Scotland’s sixth First Minister, we hope he recognises that despite an extremely difficult economic climate, businesses are ready and willing to engage on important issues such as the net zero transition. In most cases, businesses are committed to doing the right thing, even when faced with their own enormous challenges.

It is clear that the cost and complexity of doing business continues to pose an existential threat to many. Businesses need Government at all levels to work with them to create a positive, supportive environment in which they can engage, contribute and grow.

Edinburgh Chamber continues to voice our concern about the cumulative impact of the multiplicity of legislation coming forward – from both the Scottish and UK Governments and from within the city council – and the barriers that can be inadvertently raised through these well-intentioned measures.

During recent engagement with our members, concerns have been raised around individual proposals such as the Deposit Return Scheme; however, these are simply examples of a bigger picture that is seeing business costs increase as new measures are being introduced, despite the vulnerability of many sectors.

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Businesses are asking the new First Minister and his political colleagues at all levels, to view the wider picture if they are serious about creating the right environment for an economic recovery that will be just, sustainable, and avoid leaving people and sectors behind. And importantly, to pause to consider potential unintended consequences of any new initiatives or policies.

During the Business Festival, a key topic of discussion was how the drive to net zero can afford real opportunities for businesses, provided they have the right policy environment to get fully and confidently on board. The opening speaker, The Mayor of Greater Manchester, Andy Burnham, shared his low carbon vision for the region, through priorities that include developing a London-style integrated transport system and transforming Greater Manchester into one of the greenest city regions in Europe. Key to his message was working together with all stakeholders in the region, towards this shared vision, bringing everyone on the journey.

It is to be hoped that Humza Yousaf will deliver on his declared desire to place a high priority on Scotland’s economy and its recovery. Businesses want to contribute, they want to engage, and they want to be part of a greener, brighter future, with all the opportunities this brings. We look forward to supporting Scotland’s leadership and transition to a healthy and successful Green Economy.

Liz McAreavey, CEO at Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce

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