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BusinessScotland Scottish Chambers of Commerce Magazine

New service for redundant apprentices supports recruitment process Building back skills post COVID-19 Caithness site included for evaluation in major clean energy development

Rally for Growth: a business-led action plan for Scotland’s economy Scottish Chambers of Commerce


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Scottish businesses are adaptable, innovative and resilient Thank you for picking up this edition of the Business Scotland magazine. Scottish businesses are like the people who run them – adaptable, innovative and resilient. As we come out of lockdown and return to normality, we need to work together to restore and renew Scotland’s economy with added vigour, to champion all sectors, and to position Scottish businesses, rightly, as global players. From the grassroots to the G20, the Chambers of Commerce Network is the world’s largest business-to-business network, which is supporting the restarting, reopening and growth of companies across Scotland and the globe. Our flagship, business-led “Rally for Growth” action plan offers a bold set of policies and actions that we believe can turbo-charge the renewal of Scotland’s economy. The policies and actions, as informed by our Scottish business members, prioritises an economy with people at its centre, one that’s collaborative, digital, low carbon, that celebrates unique

Scottish localism, while at the same time attracting diverse global businesses, investors and talent. You can read more about Rally for Growth on Page 6. This edition also celebrates the best of Scottish innovation and sustainability and I am truly encouraged to see the great practical efforts made by Scottish businesses to tackle the big challenges of the decade. Take Dyneval showcasing its innovative technology within Scotland’s biotech sector and being announced winners of the i4 Product Design Awards in January this year and the Biocity Accelerator Glasgow most promising venture award in 2020. Elsewhere you will find outstanding contributions from Visit Scotland around creating long lasting sustainable tourism destinations with COP26 on the horizon and CGI who are emphasising the importance of building a digital future.

Tim Allan

President, Scottish Chambers of Commerce

I hope you enjoy this edition of Business Scotland magazine. Remember, your local Chamber of Commerce is here to support your business. If you need support, connections advice or guidance, just get in touch with our Chamber Experts across Scotland

Featured Stories and Contributors Dr Liz Cameron OBE

Professor Steve Petrie

Lindsay McGranaghan

Ian Carstairs

Caroline McKenna

Tim Allan

Malcolm Roughead

Donald McKinnon

Director & Chief Executive, Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Scottish Enterprise Sustainability team leader

Chief Executive, Visit Scotland

Business Performance Director, Balfour Beatty

Founder and CEO of Social Good Connect

CGI Vice President and Scotland Business Unit Lead

President, Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Managing Partner at Wylie & Bissett

Business Scotland



Rally for Growth: a business-led action plan for Scotland’s economy

Business Scotland



Within weeks of the first cases of COVID-19 being detected in Scotland, thousands of businesses were forced to shut down virtually overnight, as the economy was plunged into the first lockdown on the 23rd March last year.

Business Scotland



By Dr Liz Cameron OBE

Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce From day one of restrictions being introduced the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Network stepped up to the challenge, and ever since, has worked day and night to be the strongest representatives of Scottish businesses at a time when the need to amplify our voices has never been greater. Over the past 15 months SCC have provided tens of thousands of businesses with daily practical support and the information many have needed to access lifeline funding and resources. We have met with Scottish and U.K. Government Ministers to influence policy and to urge greater support for our businesses where necessary, in particular, for those most affected sectors and those businesses unable to operate at all under many levels of restrictions. Throughout the pandemic, the relationship between business and government has also been tested like never before. We have welcomed support where we believe government has got policy decisions right and we have also not been afraid to criticise when we believe they have reached the wrong outcome or failed to provide the clarity and certainty businesses need. If Scotland is to now tackle the big challenges ahead as our economy begins to reopen and we move down the levels system and beyond restrictions, it is essential that commerce and government align in this most critical moment for our economy. It is vital that policymakers and business leaders are talking the same language and recognising the need to balance long-term strategies for growth alongside concrete action in the here and now, to ensure we retain as many businesses and jobs as possible, enabling our economy to rebuild and grow again. Even now, with the prospect of all restrictions being lifted for the first time since the start of the pandemic finally within

sight, Scotland and its businesses still face three immediate threats. First, is the health pandemic. The success of the vaccine rollout is the silver bullet that provides a us with a path back to economic growth and Scotland’s business communities will do all they can to support the NHS, the wellbeing of employees, customers and communities across Scotland to bring forward the restart, re-opening and re-building of our economy. Secondly, facing up to the lasting consequences of putting the brakes on the economy during these arduous months of lockdown, with the potential long-term consequences on consumer confidence and businesses finances. Finally, and crucially, ensuring that we use this moment, right now, to reset the relationship between business and government. To this end SCC published our flagship, business-led “Rally for Growth” action plan, ahead of May’s Holyrood elections with the specific aim of calling for this relationship reset between businesses and politicians and highlighting the need to develop a new, closer, more effective relationship with our parliamentarians and government. The pandemic brought into sharp relief the gulf that existed between business and policy makers and the need to improve that relationship. By fostering a better understanding and recognition of the value and importance of business in the policy making process, we can ensure that as we go forward there is better synergy in place between government and businesses to support both our and their economic ambitions. Our report offers up a blueprint to Scotland’s decision makers on how they can support that ambitious economic recovery in the wake of the damage caused by the coronavirus, impacts of leaving the European Union, and a legacy of sluggish growth in Scotland. It offers a bold set of policies and actions that we believe can restore and renew Scotland’s economy with added vigour, to champion all sectors, and to position

Scottish businesses, rightly, as global players. Scotland cannot afford to sit on the sidelines, and we need to forge a better and bolder new direction for business now with an economy with people at its centre, is collaborative, digital, low carbon, that celebrates unique Scottish localism, while at the same time attracting diverse global businesses, investors and talent. To achieve this, we want the re-elected Scottish Government to Pass a ‘Business Growth Act’ to address some of the most urgent issues facing businesses right now, including reducing upfront business costs; boosting international trade; upskilling, and reskilling the workforce; major digital and infrastructure investment; business mobilisation on COP26, faster action and increased investment around renewable energies; redesigning our cities. The Advisory Group on Economic Recovery recommended that “Scottish Government

Scotland’s workforce and skills will also be central to success. Our people are at the heart of our businesses, and we need access to the best talent to drive business growth and a clear plan to upskill and reskill our workforce at all levels. Business Scotland



and the business community should take urgent action to develop a new collaborative partnership on the strategy for Scotland’s economic recovery”. We successfully argued that now is the time to begin that relationship reset between business and government and our calls for a Joint Economic Partnership to be established have been incorporated into Scottish Government plans to create a Council for Economic Transformation. This follows our recommendation to bring together the Scottish Government’s Council of Economic Advisors and the Heads of the Scottish Business Representative Groups in an effort to boost economic output, and time alone will tell if this new group lives up to it’s potential. In addition, the Scottish Government should redouble its efforts to support the economy by adopting a firmly pro-growth and proenterprise stance to attract investment and drive job creation. Not all of Scotland’s economic stagnation can be attributed to the pandemic, as the relentless Brexit uncertainty has also negatively impacted on investment and immediate action is needed to stimulate the economy and reverse negative investment trends. Business and government must therefore work together to send a clear signal that Scotland is open for business and remains a great place to invest. The Scottish Government could support this by slashing upfront business costs and reviewing their long-term approach to taxation and supporting a model which incentivises investment and job creation, moving beyond punitive short-range revenue raising measures which continue to hurt business. Scotland’s workforce and skills will also be central to success. Our people are at the heart of our businesses, and we need access to the best talent to drive business growth and a clear plan to upskill and reskill our workforce at all levels. Productivity growth is the sustainable way to secure active growth in quality jobs and increase our output, an area where successive governments have struggled to make any meaningful improvements. Our view is that the single most important contributing factor is education, training and upskilling at all levels. By expanding retraining opportunities to help people back into work and expanding upskilling opportunities to help those out of work secure jobs that are being created in emerging and growing sectors now and in the future, we could realise a step change in Scotland’s employment outlook and economic development. All of this of course is underpinned by Scotland’s infrastructure and by fast-

tracking infrastructure investment the Scottish and U.K. Governments can better support our immediate and long-term economic recovery. Our action plan set out several key areas that require focused investment with committed timelines. Infrastructure connects people to jobs, businesses and trading opportunities locally, nationally and globally. Ensuring that every part of Scotland is well connected both physically and digitally will drive a fairer recovery, ensuring no business is left behind. That is why rapid investment in new transport technologies, digital connectivity, energy transition to net-zero, rail expansion and more will play a critical role in supporting Scotland’s net-zero targets. Alongside this, there should be a new Scottish Aviation Strategy to kick-start growth and restore Scotland’s airports, which are critical to attracting international investors and tourists as well as facilitating trade. Before the election, we put our action-led policies to Scotland’s perspective politicians to share our vision of recovery, economic growth but also our frustrations, organising a series of on-line National Party Leader Events with all the main Scottish parties represented to facilitate discussion about the challenges facing our economy and what Scotland’s business community needs to not only survive, but thrive, post-pandemic. This series of SCC Network events were well attended and highlights included the opportunity for Network members to put questions directly to the First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, on a range of issues such

as what next Scottish Government would do to support growth, how crucial services and election promises would be funded, and how government can help Scotland improve economic performance. Now we are through the election period, SCC has once again been meeting with Scottish Government Ministers and other key decision makers to pursue our Rally for Growth policies on behalf of our members and to make good on the commitments given to the business community during the campaign from all political parties. As our economy now gradually reopens and restrictions ease over the coming days, weeks and months, it’s crucial that governments carefully think through how they support a long-term sustainable recovery. Continued financial support will be needed to ensure that all the pain of the pandemic that businesses had to endure was worth it and that the economy and country we help to build back will truly appreciate that Scottish businesses are like the people who run them – adaptable, innovative and resilient. And, at the heart of a healthy economy. From the grassroots to the G20, the Chambers of Commerce Network is the world’s largest business-to-business network, best placed to support recovery, growth and jobs creation. We have a unique opportunity to deliver something new, the change we want to see to support Scotland’s businesses in the coming decade, I am confident that together we can deliver it.

Business Scotland



Building back skills post COVID-19

Dr Liz Cameron OBE, Chief Executive of SCC highlights the skills challenges ahead and how apprenticeships form a vital part of the solution. The pandemic has brought to the forefront skills challenges that existed pre-pandemic as well as bring to light new challenges that will have to be addressed collaboratively. Pre-pandemic, the challenges included skills gaps; availability of talent; equality of opportunity & progression; training & development; and migration. Now as a result of the pandemic, those issues have been exacerbated as well as creating new challenges to manage including new modes/patterns of working; risk of rising unemployment; industry & skills transitions; skills and talent gaps to support recovery; and tailored reskilling and upskilling interventions. It should come as no surprise that apprenticeships have also been disrupted

Business Scotland


by the pandemic given it is businesses that create the opportunities for workplace learning. On this basis, employers have been in a desperate battle to retain the jobs they have, with little left over to create new ones. Where they could, I know Scotland’s employers have worked incredibly hard to create apprenticeship opportunities for young people throughout a challenging period for sectors across the board. Those employers believed that choosing to recruit or upskill staff through work-based learning would support them now and in the future. In the last year, Scottish Government backed incentives such as the Apprenticeship Employer Grant and enhanced funding within Adopt an Apprentice have been welcomed. As a member of the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board (SAAB), the Scottish Chambers of Commerce took part in the consultation to help define some of the detail of the Grant, ensuring that it was suitable, accessible and had real impact for businesses. I was pleased with the final outcome – more than double that available

through the equivalent scheme in England. During the pandemic period of business disruption, strong partnerships between employers and learning providers have enabled our young people already in apprenticeships to continue to learn, progress and achieve outside the workplace. As we continue to see restrictions on businesses ease in the coming weeks, existing and new apprentices should be at the heart of how business will rebuild and invest in the future, talented workforce. Looking ahead, we know that the impact of Covid-19 is already having a disproportionate economic effect on young people, reducing job opportunities just as they are starting out on their careers. I am encouraged that the government’s strategy through the Young Person’s Guarantee places apprenticeships as a vital part of the solution. Moreover, as the newly formed Holyrood administration gets to work, it’s positive to see their preelection manifesto commitment to build apprenticeship starts back up to 30,000 a year and further will now be actioned.


Eyes of the world will be on Scotland The eyes of the world will be on Scotland as host nation for the UN Climate Change Conference (COP26).

By Malcolm Roughead OBE Chief Executive, VisitScotland

It presents a platform for not only Glasgow but the whole of the country to show the sustainable actions taking place within business and local communities. VisitScotland, itself, is committed to working with the industry and communities to create a long-lasting sustainable tourism destination which will protect the environment and benefit visitors and residents alike. Sustainable practices have become a core part of our operations, including working with businesses to support the decarbonisation of the tourism sector. VisitScotland has reduced its CO2 emissions by 74% since 2008 (prior to covid-19), which includes a 38% reduction in our travel related emissions, making great progress towards achieving the interim reduction target of 75% by 2030 on the way to NetZero by 2045. Last year we became the first national tourism body to sign up to Tourism Declares, recognising the climate emergency. Since 2015 our Quality Assurance programme, which has around 5000 tourism businesses, incorporates sustainability

advice on issues such as energy efficiency, food waste, low carbon transport, accessibility, and supporting our natural and cultural heritage. Our Taste Our Best scheme highlights those businesses who are providing and promoting quality Scottish food and drink. Meanwhile, the Rural Tourism Infrastructure Fund, administered by VisitScotland on behalf of the Scottish Government, has been integral in funding infrastructure projects to alleviate pressure points and support the development of facilities. Sustainability is embedded in the national tourism strategy, Scotland Outlook 2030, which was launched in the weeks prior to lockdown in March last year. The bold new approach moves away from the economic model of growth by focusing on creating a thriving and sustainable tourism sector. It puts our communities, people, visitors, businesses, and environment at its heart. As Scottish tourism recovers from the pandemic, and travel restrictions ease, this will be even more important. We don’t want to repeat the issues of the past. A sustainable tourism sector is not just good for the environment and society, it is economically beneficial. Our research has found for several years that it is a key driver for visitors choosing a destination, and the pandemic is only accelerating this desire.

There are some great examples of tourism businesses who have taken a sustainable approach and are reaping the rewards. East Cambusmoon Farm in Loch Lomond and Trossachs National Park built self-catering cottages with low energy design at their heart, from solar panels to ground source heat pumps, while on-site renewables produce most of the electricity needed for their business and family home. As early adopters of electric vehicle (EV) charging points, they are finding an increasing number of guests are EV owners with many visitors discovering them through EV listings. For touring company, Rabbie’s, its ethos is driven by respecting, preserving, and looking after Scotland’s environment and communities. It has been doing this by travelling in small groups, working with local communities, and giving back to the places where they travel, whilst offsetting their transport carbon emissions. Travel and tourism sustains communities and makes for a more inclusive and sustainable society. We need to strive to maintain economic activity whilst maximising the positive environmental and social impact.

Business Scotland



First shoots of recovery but challenges still lie ahead The Scottish Chambers of Commerce (SCC) partners with the internationally recognised economic research unit, the Fraser of Allander Institute, to produce a Quarterly Economic Indicator (QEI) periodically. This QEI survey is the longest running data series of its kind, which in turns provides a regular and respected insight into the fortunes of key Scottish sectors.

July, revealed that for the first time in over a year, businesses in Scotland are now seeing the first shoots of recovery as COVID-19 restrictions begin to lift.

With a focus on key industrial areas including manufacturing, construction, finance, business services, tourism and retail, it measures several economic indicators including business optimism, investment and performance to provide a comprehensive understanding of the Scottish business landscape.

Whilst the findings indicate more positive growth across all sectors surveyed, this growth is from a historically low base and caution remains the watchword for many businesses.

A highly respected and influential publication, the QEI is consistently reported across the national media and commented on by senior Scottish business leaders. It plays an essential role in setting the business agenda and informing the most senior levels of government and policy making of the needs of local chambers and their members. The SCC’s most recent QEI for the second quarter of 2021, published on Tuesday 6th

Business Scotland


Analysis of the QEI clearly showed that the pent-up demand in the marketplace has been unleased with all sectors reporting substantial rises in confidence and domestic sales, owing to the easing of general and domestic travel lockdown restrictions. This increased demand drove the most positive set of results from businesses since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic providing a positive direction for businesses as restrictions ease further. Despite this increased positivity and optimism amongst Scotland’s business

community there is still a degree of caution looking ahead. All sectors that took part in the survey projected positive expectations for Q3, on balance, likely boosted by the expected further easing of lockdown restrictions. However, while firms are optimistic about sales revenue, they are more cautious around investment and staff levels with most firms envisaging no change to these in Q2. International trade has also faltered in the past quarter with continuing Covid-19 disruption and Brexit fallout affecting the market, resulting in trading difficulties for businesses in services, manufacturing and retail as evidenced by falls in export sales and orders across these sectors. Looking at the bigger economic picture there are also growing concerns over a rapid rise in inflation, which has reached 2.1%, breaking the Bank of England’s 2% target for the first time in over two years. This was reflected in the QEI with all sectors recording


Commenting on the findings of the 2021 QEI, Tim Allan, President of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce said: “The success of the vaccine rollout has enabled the easing of restrictions and the gradual reopening of the economy, unleashing pent-up demand in the economy. This has allowed some sectors to rebound more quickly than others, however, the route to economic recovery will be a marathon, not a sprint. “It’s clear that concerns remain around the ongoing impact of Covid-19 as businesses grapple with huge uncertainties over what the economy will look like post-pandemic. Towns and city centres face new challenges as more people work from home and more flexibly, impacting on footfall and changes to consumer behaviour. The needs of employers and employees alike need to be finely balanced as we shape the recovery of our city centres which will impact on a wide range of sectors and supply chains. “Equally, sectors such as tourism and international travel, which continue to operate with severe restrictions, are having to adjust to increased domestic demand, a simultaneous fall in international travel and a tightening supply of skilled labour. The sector needs continued financial support and greater clarity on when confusing and burdensome travel regulations will end, allowing greater numbers of international visitors to return.

increases in concerns over inflation, which may escalate further as more consumers spend savings accumulated over the last 17 months and create more uncertainty for business in terms of their costs and prices. This has also been compounded by a flat labour market, with only a slight increase in employment across all sectors, apart from retail, which saw no change over the quarter. Most firms also reported that they expect little change in Q3 which could result in continued sluggish jobs growth, with further challenges expected as the furlough scheme is withdrawn.

“As we approach the end of restrictions businesses are increasingly turning their attention towards how to achieve long term growth and renew Scotland’s economy. We have recorded the first shoots of growth returning to our economy, and it is essential now that both the Scottish and UK Government’s do all that they can to stimulate demand and boost confidence in the coming months. Priority must be given to continuing the provision of targeted financial support where it is needed most and looking ahead, both Governments must create the right environment for businesses to get back on their feet, create jobs and trade successfully again.”

Commenting on the results, Mairi Spowage, Director at the University of Strathclyde’s Fraser of Allander Institute, said: “In April, we saw growth in the Scottish economy of 2.0%. This takes us above the previous post-pandemic peak in October. However, the economy still remains 3.7% below the pre-pandemic peak. “Despite the optimism in the economy, there are risks to recovery which could provide headwinds to growth. The dislocation in global trade was significant due to the pandemic. However, we also know that the end of the EU Transition Period has caused significant issues for manufacturers and others trying to rebuild these supply chains since the start of this year. This chimes with today’s survey results, which show significant negative impacts on exports. “Recent announcements of the delay to the restrictions roadmap will lead to calls from some sectors that there should much more extensive business support to get them through to a position where they can properly operate. As well-meaning as initiatives like a new Council for Economic Transformation may be, practical policy measures to help these businesses survive through the winter are likely to be needed.” The full QEI results for Q2 of 2021 can be found on the Scottish Chambers of Commerce website at: uploads/2021/07/SCC-QUARTERLYECONOMIC-INDICATOR-Q2-2021-Report.pdf Over the next quarter the SSC Network will be coming together to look at a redesign of the QEI with a view to providing greater regional and sectoral insights to support Scotland’s business community and use the information provided to better inform key policy and decision makers on the needs of Scotland’s businesses. To become involved in supporting this redesign, please contact the Scottish Chambers of Commerce Policy and Communications team by emailing Colin Campbell or John Erskine.

The success of the vaccine rollout has enabled the easing of restrictions and the gradual reopening of the economy, unleashing pent-up demand in the economy. This has allowed some sectors to rebound more quickly than others, however, the route to economic recovery will be a marathon, not a sprint. Tim Allan, President of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Business Scotland



Six sustainable tips to save tonnes of CO2 and take your business to net zero too With Glasgow set to be the host of climate conference COP26 in November there’s no better time for businesses to be thinking about more sustainable practises, as not only are there benefits for the environment, but also, increased efficiency too. There is no doubt that this year has been extremely challenging for many businesses across Scotland impacted by the Covid 19 pandemic, however adopting sustainable methods provides an opportunity to get to green in every sense. Scottish Enterprise sustainability team leader Ian Carstairs explains how embracing sustainable practises can help businesses to reduce costs and risks whilst also responding to challenges and future opportunities. Ian said: “In the fast-changing business landscape we find ourselves in many companies are looking for ways to ‘build back better’ in the post-Covid 19 world by developing new products, exploring new markets, and implementing innovative ways of working. “There are a growing number of companies of all sizes across all sectors who are using the disruption to their established business models as an opportunity to do things better, more efficiently and with a reduced impact on the environment.

Ian Carstairs

“This is where Scottish Enterprise’s sustainability specialists can help with a wide range of tools and resources to get the right support to your business to do the right thing by the environment and improve your bottom line too. “Our team has helped companies identify over 700,000 tonnes of CO2 savings since 2018 already and that is the equivalent of taking half a million cars off the road!”

sustainability. It’s important to seek out ideas from within your own business, and to look for ways to incorporate these ideas into your sustainability strategy.

You can help us showcase Scotland as a centre of global excellence when it comes to sustainable ways of doing business by following these six sustainable tips or get in touch to see what the team can do for you.

2. Take people with you on your net zero journey – Once your strategy is in place, communicating clear goals and objectives will ensure that employees across the business have a greater understanding of the businesses commitment and what is expected of them individually, or as teams, to help achieve these.

3. Save money and the environment – Taking steps to be more sustainable can provide more than just CO2 savings. For many businesses looking to become more sustainable, the main factors driving their decision-making process will be environmental however managing resources such as energy, waste and water can provide cost savings and improve your reputation too, giving you a market edge.

Driving environmental improvement is not just the role of your Health, safety, quality and environment (HSQE) Manager or your

The first step is to make sure you’ve carried out a baseline energy review or carbon footprint of your operations. This will help

1. Develop a strategy - A net zero strategy is not only an ideal way for a company to state its ambition, objectives, targets and proposed actions, it’s also an opportunity to make sure that the whole organisation is invested in your journey towards

Business Scotland


Scottish Enterprise sustainability team leader

workplace green team, it needs commitment from all levels of your organisation.


you understand the scale of your emissions and where to prioritise your improvements. You may also want to explore the carbon impact of your product or service throughout its lifecycle. For example, could you design for re-manufacture, consider using recycled or recyclable materials, reduce packaging, make your product easier to transport or deliver your service differently to reduce emissions? By effectively monitoring and managing your resource use and investing in the right technologies you can future-proof your business and make savings. 4. Collaborate to reduce CO2 – It’s important to engage with your customers to let them know your values and work with them to understand any issues or opportunities you could work on together. Reach out to them, undertake surveys as you may find there are areas you could address together for your mutual benefit. More and more customers for example are procuring products and services based on their sustainability credentials. You should therefore consider adopting a supplier framework that favours the goods and services that lower environmental impact. Work with your supply chain too and help them understand your requirements and look for ways to influence them to take opportunities around sustainability too.

5. Manage the risks of climate change with a plan and seize the opportunities Climate change is happening now and poses a genuine risk to business continuity for companies across Scotland. It is important to be ready for any risks whether these may be changes to operations due to extreme weather or customer-related shifts in behaviour linked to changing habits. If you develop a climate change action plan or include climate impact in an existing business continuity plan you can mitigate against any risks. Where there’s risk, there’s also opportunities. Customers will look for new product and services that are less carbon intensive. There will also be a market for goods and services that can help others mitigate and adapt to the risks posed by climate change. 6. Share success - Climate change and sustainable business practices might not be new concepts, but they’ve never been more prominent in the public eye than now. There are already many Scottish businesses who put environmental sustainability at the heart of what they do and we need them to share their success and the challenges they faced. Sustainability makes business sense so don’t be afraid to shout about it. There are many ways that being more sustainable can help a business - from cost reduction, improved brand value, enhanced reputation,

development of innovative products, attraction and retention of staff and better relationships with communities and stake holders. If your business is at the beginning of its journey towards sustainability, it’s important to seek out ideas and inspiration from those companies that have already made considerable progress on the path to a low carbon future.

Next steps Sustainability specialists at Scottish Enterprise work with companies of all sizes across all sectors to help them do things better, more efficiently and with a reduced impact on the environment. The support is very diverse and includes help with: Improving business premises Developing products and services Making processes and operations more efficient Marketing, PR and people For more information call the sustainability team on 0300 013 3385 or fill out the enquiry form at: www.scottish-enterprise. com/support-for-businesses/businessdevelopment-and-advice/businesssustainability/sustainability-enquiry

Business Scotland



The urgency driving COP26 The UK will host the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties in Glasgow between 31 October and 12 November. The UK and Italy hold joint presidency of COP 26.

Business Scotland



At the summit in Glasgow, they will bring parties together to accelerate action towards the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. The reversal of biodiversity loss is also at the heart of their multilateral agenda.

to enable and encourage countries affected by climate change to protect and restore ecosystems, build defences, put warning systems in place and make infrastructure and agriculture more resilient to avoid loss of homes, livelihoods and lives.

A statement on reads: “As part of this UK-Italy Presidency Partnership year, we agree on the need to build back better following the impact of COVID-19.

Mobilise finance. To realise our first two goals, developed countries must deliver on their promise to raise at least $100bn in climate finance per year. International financial institutions must play their part and we need to work towards unleashing the trillions in private and public sector finance required to secure global net zero.

“We will work with our international partners, and through our Presidencies, in support of a green and resilient recovery that promotes sustainable growth and jobs and delivers for those most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. “We are calling on all countries to submit ambitious Nationally Determined Contributions and set out long term strategies to net zero emissions well in advance of COP26. “We will leverage our G7 and G20 Presidencies to drive forward the COP26 campaigns and help build momentum towards a successful COP26 outcome.” That includes working with international partners to advance action for the four COP26 goals: a step change in commitments to emissions reduction strengthening adaptation to climate change impacts getting finance flowing for climate action enhancing international collaboration, including for the COP26 campaigns on energy transition, clean road transport and nature

What needs to be achieved at COP 26? Secure global net zero by mid-century and keep 1.5 degrees within reach. Countries are being asked to come forward with ambitious 2030 emissions reductions targets (NDCs) that align with reaching net zero by the middle of the century. To deliver on these stretching targets, countries will need to accelerate the phase-out of coal, encourage investment in renewables, curtail deforestation and speed up the switch to electric vehicles. Adapt to protect communities and natural habitats. The climate is already changing and it will continue to change even as emissions are reduced, with devastating effects. At COP26 we need to work together

Work together to deliver. We can only rise to the challenges of climate change by working together. At COP26 we must finalise the Paris Rulebook (the rules needed to implement the Paris Agreement). And, we have to turn our ambitions into action by accelerating collaboration between governments, businesses and civil society to deliver on our climate goals faster.

The world is currently not on track to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees The targets announced in Paris would result in warming well above 3 degrees by 2100 compared to pre-industrial levels. If we continue as we are, temperatures will carry on rising, bringing even more catastrophic flooding, bush fires, extreme weather and destruction of species. We have made progress in recent months to bend the temperature curve closer to 2 degrees; but the science shows that much more must be done to keep 1.5 degrees in reach. The world needs to halve emissions over the next decade and reach net zero carbon emissions by the middle of the century if we are to limit global temperature rises to 1.5 degrees. As part of the Paris Agreement, every country agreed to communicate or update their emissions reduction targets - their Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC) - every five years to reflect their highest possible ambition and a progression over time. These targets set out how far countries plan to reduce emissions across their entire economy and/or in specific sectors. 2020 marked the first of these five year cycles. This means that countries are expected to update their 2030 targets before the Glasgow

summit. We are calling on all countries to update them so that they are in line with holding temperature rise to 1.5 degrees. It is especially important that developed countries and the largest emitters take the lead. While targets are important, they must translate into action, fast. Which is why developed countries must rapidly phase out coal power, and all countries should commit to not opening or financing any new coalfired power stations across the world. At the same time, we must work together to provide developing countries with better support to deliver clean energy to their citizens. Forests play a vital role in removing carbon from the air. Protecting them is critical if we are going to meet our climate goals, and right now they are still being lost at the rate of a football pitch every few seconds. We are encouraging countries to work together to reform the global trade in agricultural commodities (like beef, soy and palm oil) so that sustainable production is rewarded, helping farmers to make a better living while forests are protected. And finally, we need to clean up our air and reduce carbon emissions by switching to driving zero emission cars, vans and trucks. The UK will end the sale of new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. Countries with major car markets should follow our lead. If we send a strong signal to the industry, investment will shift more quickly to new, clean technologies, and all countries will be able to enjoy the benefits sooner.

We are making progress Around 70% of the world’s economy is now committed to reaching net zero emissions, up from 30% when the UK took over as incoming COP Presidency. More than 80 countries have formally updated their NDCs, and all G7 countries have announced new NDC targets that put them on the path to net zero emissions by 2050. Accounting for around half the global economy, all the countries that make up the G7 have updated their 2030 targets to put them on a pathway to net zero by 2050. Solar and wind are now cheaper than new coal and gas power plants in two thirds of countries of the world. Briefing documents on COP26 can be read in full on the website at Business Scotland



The Race to Zero will be won on two-wheels: join the electric cargo bike revolution In the year of COP26, the increasing urgency of the climate crisis is at the forefront of our minds. While the problem seems insurmountable, the Bike Coop remains optimistic that businesses have the power to implement positive changes and be part of the solution. Air quality in our cities remains a big problem, but infrastructure continues to improve and ease our transition to low-emission vehicle use. The Bike Coop believes that the answer to many transport problems in cities lies on two wheels. And the advancing technology of the electric cargo bike presents a viable, low-cost, long-term solution. If it’s about minimising environmental damage, preserving air quality and saving cash, the electric cargo bike ticks all the boxes.

What is it? A traditional cargo bike is a heavy, difficult vehicle. The bike itself could carry a hefty load, but even the strongest, most proficient cyclist could only manage short journeys before burning out. Not ideal if you were making deliveries all day or if you needed to get to a meeting after the school drop. Enter the electric cargo bike. And it is truly revolutionary. The electric assist means hills and loads are all but eliminated. Start pedalling and the motor kicks in, making long or hilly journeys significantly easier. The brakes are very reliable and pretty effortless, and the bikes are easy to manoeuvre round winding roads and city junctions.

The Cost Parking in urban areas of Scotland is at a premium, and is expensive. Whether it’s for staff parking or simply making deliveries, it costs a surprising amount just to have your vehicle remain stationary at the kerbside.

The Tern HSD or GSD can be stacked vertically

The Tern GSD electric cargo bike

The electric cargo bike can be placed on the pavement, removing the need for parking charges.

when visiting clients. Laptop, projector, product samples? Easy with an electric cargo bike! Brand it up and advertise your company wherever you ride.

And that’s only one aspect you can save on. The infographic below gives the cost comparison with a petrol-run van. The savings on fuel, insurance and initial outlay cost are clear, especially when you consider the benefits of an interest-free loan from Transport Scotland, repayable over four years. There are other, less obvious savings. Multiple studies have found that, on average, employees who exercise regularly take fewer sick days. Using an electric cargo bike provides staff an easy way to exercise without having to over-exert themselves.

Is an electric cargo bike an actual alternative to a business vehicle? It depends. If you’re delivering sofas, you can’t easily switch to an electric cargo bike – although Sustrans moved their entire London office using only pedal power so nothing is impossible! However, if you regularly carry loads of around 200kg (31 stone, 6 lbs) or less, switching to an electric cargo bike need not be difficult. The electric assist provides substantial help so it’s a world away from the old sweat-and-tears of getting to your destination. And, as no licence is required, any member of staff can ride it – an excellent way of adapting to unplanned staff absence, last-minute meetings or deliveries. If you’re not in the delivery business, electric cargo bikes can replace pool cars or the need for employees to use their own vehicle

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Types of electric cargo Bikes There are two main types of electric cargo bikes: bikes with load-carrying at the front and bikes which load up on the back. The Riese & Muller range carries its load on the front (but you can add panniers on the back for even more space). This front-load space can be used in multiple ways including a fixed box or a platform to which you can attach your own carriers. The Tern GSD or HSD models carry most of its cargo at the back of the bike (although there is load capacity on the front too). They’re the same length as a regular bike and can be stored on their ends and fit in a car. This makes TERN very practical and versatile bikes. The Edinburgh Bicycle Cooperative is your local, independent electric cargo bike retailer. Drop in and speak to us about how we can help solve your business needs. Find us in Bruntsfield, Canonmills (Edinburgh) and Aberdeen in Scotland, or Leeds and Newcastle in England. 0345 257 0808


The green pound: how environmental values affect the bottom line

Consumers are becoming more climate conscious – and this is influencing their buying behaviour. Anthony Mayall, CCO at BiU explains how businesses should respond. The past year has seen businesses face unprecedented challenges, and many have responded with ingenuity and resilience. From the shops coping with panic-driven stockpiling to the pubs who pivoted to organising food parcels, businesses in all sectors have demonstrated that they have the skills and foresight to cope with whatever the world can throw at them. But now a new challenge is on the horizon: a change in consumer values. We’ve all noticed how a series of lockdowns have changed consumer behaviour, but less obvious is a deeper change: a growing tendency to prioritise the environment in consumer decisions. A New Year survey by Garnier found that 73% of consumers want to be more sustainable in 2021, and this is backed up by market research: a study by consultancy Kantar found an increase in the market segment labelled as “Eco Actives”, while the group called “Eco Dismissers” has shrunk. With Scotland hosting the next UN climate change conference (COP26) in November, media coverage of green issues has intensified, increasing public awareness even further. The obvious response to this new wave of eco-consciousness is to look at “greening” your products and services, perhaps through reducing packaging waste. This is important, but if you do this without taking steps to reduce your company’s greenhouse gas

emissions, it may look like greenwashing. For most businesses, the biggest proportion of emissions comes from energy, so it is essential that you look at two elements: where you source it from, and how you use it.

Energy usage Investment in energy efficiency could save UK businesses up £6 billion annually over the coming years, according to government figures. If the energy use of your business has never been audited, it is very likely that you are wasting energy in ways that you have no idea about. BiU offers an “energy health check” service where our experienced engineers, backed up by a team of data analysts, will identify areas of energy wastage in your business. We provide you with the information you need to make an informed decision, and we can also go further to help you tackle the problem. Whether it’s about staff training, changing processes or optimising equipment, we can step in to cut the unnecessary waste. This won’t just reduce your carbon footprint; it will deliver serious cost savings too. We saved one high-street client £13,393-worth of energy relating to just one site - that’s the equivalent of 5,422 cappuccinos!

a big impact on your company’s carbon footprint. Unfortunately, it’s not always straightforward to find one, because many of the tariffs marketed as “100% renewable” are not very green at all. (Thanks to a legal loophole, it’s perfectly legal for a supplier to label their energy as renewable even if they have no dealings with renewable energy generators.) BiU has extensive experience in true green energy procurement, and we do the legwork in checking the sources of the energy you buy so that you can be sure it’s truly green. We can also make sure that your energy supply matches your brand values in other ways: for example, perhaps it’s important to you and your customers to support Scottish generators. Tackling energy efficiency and energy sourcing are both straightforward and cost-effective ways to cut your carbon footprint and prove to increasingly ecosavvy customers that you are taking climate issues seriously. If you’d like expert advice on getting started, contact BiU on

Energy sourcing The kind of energy you use is just as important as the amount of energy you use. Switching to a renewable supply will have

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Why education is key for sustainable businesses Steven Kiakowski Director of The Verdancy Group

In fulfilling net zero obligations, UK businesses face pressure to adopt sustainable practices. With new legislation on the horizon, soon sustainability will be a legal business requirement. But talk about organisational change is cheap. If I’ve learnt anything with my work supporting businesses to enact environmental change with The Verdancy Group, it’s that success comes from a sincere desire for meaningful change from the top with an emphasis on education.

Why be sustainable? You’ve heard it a thousand times before, but it bears repeating: going green is good for business. Adopting better practices not only allows companies to play their part in protecting the planet, but also leads to new opportunities. Increasingly, investments and contracts are going to businesses that can demonstrate their green values in action, not just in words. Consumers prefer sustainable businesses and unsustainable may soon mean unprofitable. Green businesses can cut costs through reduced waste and energy bills, while attracting forward-thinking staff. But achieving a sustainable vision takes a shared desire. And that takes education.

What we do As the world’s transition gathers pace towards a net-zero norm, we foresee

nations, governments and businesses making sustainability, the environment and the circular economy core and critical aspects of everything they do. In order to lead and support this, we create bespoke learning materials, designed to maximise engagement either fully online, blended or delivered face to face. Our learning platform provides personalised content and curated experiences to not only fully engage the learner but also bring to life the purpose and importance of the subject area.

Our value add We believe that our value is achieved when we work with organisations to scope, consult and create the learning and engagement content required to affect change. We understand that terms such as “net zero”, “carbon neutral” and “zero waste to landfill” impact a wide and diverse workforce in many ways. A culture change requires every member of a team to understand the fundamental principles not only the ‘’why’’ but importantly the ‘’how’’ in the steps and actions both personally and at a business level that we need to make to achieve net zero.

Sustainability skills for everyone Transforming attitudes toward sustainability is a tough ask, particularly for longestablished organisations with deeply instilled processes and practices. Sustainable education is not just for new recruits; existing staff also need training and support to understand the importance of sustainability. Businesses should consider where teams are lacking in their environmental understanding.

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Change from the top While education is crucial, leadership must show sincere and ongoing commitment to sustainability. Often, that means going beyond current standards. Before introducing new programmes, leaders must assess their current practices. Are they committed to sustainability or are they throwing money at carbon offset programmes simply to gain environmental management accreditations? Only through true leadership commitment does sustainability education effectively take hold.

Final thoughts In our fight against climate change, education is vital. Let’s teach everyone to care for the planet, regardless of their industry.

Next steps Working with organisations large and small we have delivered cost-effective training to employees improving the organisations’ ability to reduce their carbon footprint as part of their economic and societal transition towards net zero. If you would like to find out more, please talk to us about how to start your journey today. 0800 707 6710


Future is bright for Scottish renewable sector It’s an exciting time for the renewables industry in Scotland. The sector has remained relatively unscathed by the economic hardship brought on by COVID-19 and there is now a global focus on ensuring a post-pandemic green recovery. projects are attractive to developers who know there is a ready market for investors.

At the heart of its recovery plans, the Scottish Government has pledged nearly £1.6 billion to support up to 5,000 jobs and tackle fuel poverty in a bid to end Scotland’s contribution to climate change. The investment will also transform heat and energy efficiency of buildings and rapidly accelerate the decarbonisation of an area which makes up a quarter of Scotland’s greenhouse gas emissions.

“Glasgow is set to host the COP26 climate change conference later this year, which will serve to bolster Scotland’s green potential and ambition.” Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie LLP’s expert renewables team has a diverse range of specialisms across property, agricultural and crofting law, planning, construction, tax, and dispute resolution. Whether it is onshore wind, battery storage, hydro, biomass or solar - the renewable energy law team will be able to advise you.

Figures revealed earlier this year show that 97.4 per cent of Scotland’s electricity demand was met by renewable sources in 2020 – 70 per cent of which came from onshore wind power. Investor appetite in the Scottish onshore wind market remains strong despite both the pandemic and continued political uncertainty from Brexit and renewed support for Scottish independence.

renewable energy sector is looking bright here in Scotland.

Andy McFarlane, Head of Renewables at Scottish law firm, Wright, Johnston & Mackenzie says: “The future of the

“There are plenty of opportunities in this country at the moment – particularly in onshore wind power. Scottish onshore wind

Andy McFarlane

Visit sectors/energy or call 0141 248 3434 to find out more.

to advertise or contribute to GREEN BUSINESS JOURNAL advertising: barrie.miller@ editorial: helen.compson@

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Sages teach the art of adapting to climate change

While the conversation about climate change has been dominated by mitigation, what is equally crucial is the need to adapt to the unavoidable changes already on their way. “We have absolutely no choice but to learn to adapt to a future with a very different climate,” says environmental consultancy Climate Sense. “It is imperative organisations act now.” By HELEN COMPSON.

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Doogie Black chairing the EBRD Conference - Bishkek

For 20 years now, the experts behind environmental consultancy Climate Sense have been driving the subject of adaptation to climate change up the political agenda. It is no small measure of their success that this year, in Glasgow, Climate Sense director and technical lead Prof. John Dora is developing related sessions for COP26 in partnership with the University of Birmingham, the Strengthening Infrastructure Risk Management in the Atlantic (SIRMA) Project and the International Standards Organisation (ISO).

The 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties will also be the first COP to boast a Resilience Hub, dedicated specifically to the prerequisites of adapting to climate change. Eighteen years ago, it was an entirely different story, says Doogie Black, director and lead analyst at Climate Sense. Back then, organisations simply didn’t grasp the onus on them to act responsibly and act now! Tasked, in an EU-funded post, with raising awareness about the need to prepare for the impact of a future climate that will be more

severe than the one we have, Doogie faced an uphill struggle in 2003. Until very recently, any talk about climate change has tended to be about mitigation – the need to reduce carbon emissions and to preserve/bolster the carbon sequestration potential of our forests and peat bogs. Few have considered the other side of the equation. Doogie said: “Even if we managed to stop all emissions right now, the repercussions of the damage we have already done will continue for at least

It’s a different world today. Slowly people are coming to understand that we are talking about the adaptation efforts required for the human race to survive. People are prepared to have that conversation today. Doogie Black, director and lead analyst at Climate Sense

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COP26 another 30 years, and there’s no chance of us stopping that.” In his determination to open up the conversation and to get individuals and organisations alike to step up to the plate, he began studying human behaviour in the process of decision-making. What would make people accept and address the need for adaptation, he wanted to know. And what type of support would encourage them to embed adaptation to climate change in their decision-making? The five years of EU funding he received gave him the opportunity to engage with some of the “biggest brains in the world” to propel adaptation into European consciousness. By the time he started up his own consultancy in 2008, Doogie himself was a leading expert on behaviour change and adaptive capacity. A key member of the team that developed the Capacity Diagnosis & Development framework, rated as being the most effective method in the field, he has since applied the framework to assessing more than 2000 public, private and civil society organisations all over the world. But in the beginning, his primary function was one of education. “I was going out looking at the adaptive capacity of organisations, their people and their systems. I had developed the software and the metrics to do that, so I thought I had the best consultancy in the world, because everyone needs this,” he laughed. “But then I realised nobody knew they needed it. At that time, there was still a lot of argument going on about whether climate change was natural or human-induced. “It’s a different world today. Slowly people are coming to understand that we are talking about the adaptation efforts required for the human race to survive. People are prepared to have that conversation today.” Since 2017, Doogie has been a member of the British Standards Institute’s Adaptation to Change Committee, the national body responsible for ensuring the matter is fully incorporated into UK and, where possible, European and International standards. In 2019, he and John Dora launched Climate Sense. The two had met while drafting ISO14090, the first ever international standard on adaptation to climate change. Indeed, John, the global lead for adaptation for the International Standards Organisation, chaired the international working group concerned. A world-class authority on infrastructure and adaptation, his clients have included the World Bank, the United Nations, the Asian Development Bank, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and CEN/CENELEC, the European standards organisations. Doogie, meanwhile, the Principal UK Expert in the writing of ISO14090, has been

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John Dora at COP23

appointed by the European Commission to write guidance on how to embed adaptation to climate change within new and existing European Infrastructure Standards (through CEN-CENELEC), and by the German Environment Agency to research and make recommendations on best practice in standardisation across Europe. The Climate Sense team as a whole continues to promote, educate and encourage in relation to the responsibility of organisations to do the right thing. “In the UK as far back as 2006, the Stern review of the economics of climate change showed that it was much more cost-effective to act on adaptation sooner rather than later,” said Doogie. “A lot of decisions we make today have ramifications that will last well into the future. “Take the built environment. A bridge or dam or school or hospital might have a design life of 40 years, but it will probably sit there for well over a 100 years and yet planning permission is still being given for building to take place on flood plains without any

consideration for the flooding of the future. “Organisations and institutions are starting to recognise that they need to make better decisions today if they and the outcomes of what they do are to survive.” This month, Climate Sense added a new weapon to its arsenal in the form of an NVQ course entitled Adaptation to Climate Change. Developed and rolled out in partnership with L&DA, well-established providers of education, qualifications and assessment of competence in the water industry, the course is designed to teach people how to build resilience and sustainability in an organisation. Participants learn how to measure and develop the adaptive capacity of their organisation, their people and their systems and how to ensure adaptation to climate change is embedded in decision-making processes in the most constructive way. Climate sense

FREE WEBINAR: Adaptation to Climate Change Monday, 16 August 11am – 12pm You are invited to a free webinar that is the first step on a learning journey that will bring you to the first ever approved professional qualification in understanding the management of climate change risk. It answers the question: How can businesses become resilient to our changing climate? During the webinar we will explore this critical question and provide pragmatic answers. Highlighting how this is addressed through our new courses and qualifications.

For more information visit: e/ev-sdn4-20210816110000


Continuing a commitment to apprenticeships Professor Steve Petrie is Business Performance Director at Balfour Beatty and new Chair of the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board’s Standards and Frameworks Group.

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I started my career as an apprentice. It all happened quickly and at the age 16, I found myself on a train to Edinburgh from Aberdeen, about to start a course to become an engineer for British Gas. It was the best start I could have ever asked for. The apprenticeship was structured, well-paced and most importantly, was precisely the training needed to be able to do the job well. I completed it and never looked back. My view back then is the same now - that apprenticeships and a degree have the same currency and that the system should reflect this parity.

Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board: ‘future focused’ My keen interest in supporting, not just our young people, but learners more generally – and especially through apprenticeships continues as I take on my new role as Chair of the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board’s (SAAB) Standards and Frameworks Group. The SAAB is a group of cross-sector employers and representative bodies who provide insight into the skills needs of business and help to shape policy and support available. Overall, we work to ensure that apprenticeships are ‘future fit’ and industry focused.

I want Scotland to be recognised for its relevancy in terms of workbased learning – in the same way that I experienced and benefitted from, in my early career. Prof. Steve Petrie

Business Performance Director, Balfour Beatty

Continuing a commitment to apprenticeships I’ve helped to drive change programmes for over three decades now and I want us – the Standards and Frameworks Group, other SAAB groups, Skills Development Scotland and Scottish Government - to be ambitious for the young people of Scotland. Apprenticeships remain a key Scottish Government commitment through the Young Person’s Guarantee and SAAB will continue to get behind this. We have already shaped and advocated the development of incentives and additional support for employers including the Apprenticeship Employer Grant which has helped boost job opportunities for young people during the pandemic period. I recognise that despite these difficult times, many employers have continued their investment in apprenticeships, where and when they can - this is testament to the value that work-based learning can bring to an organisation. As we come out of the restrictions and start to rebuild our businesses and economy, it becomes more important now, than ever, for employers to continue this momentum in supporting apprenticeships. I see my role as helping the system to create more quality apprenticeship opportunities, with the right skills, at the right level. I have joined SAAB at an exciting time – during a period of economic recovery and with a new apprenticeship development and governance system now going into implementation phase - I have high hopes.

Businesses setting the pace of change The impact of the digital revolution will obliterate automated roles while people will be needed more than ever in front line and service roles, as well as cyber and software development. With this in mind, my aspirations as chair for the group, are also its biggest challenges – to bring together both the public and private sector and ensure that they collaborate effectively to facilitate the pace of change. It’s employers who are the customers, driving the demand and training providers, colleges and universities therefore need to anticipate the needs of business to keep up with new and changing skills requirements. Skills relevancy and clear pathways into real jobs is paramount for the future of our learners, businesses and the Scottish economy.

New approach to apprenticeship development The Standards and Frameworks Group will provide leadership to help steer new apprenticeship development, ensuring they continue to offer relevant skills at a high quality for individuals and employers. Having already taken part in apprenticeship development back in 2017, I have experienced the benefits of the new approach first-hand. I participated in the first ever Technical Expert Group – an employerled group of operational managers with the right experience to validate skills and real activities done within the workplace.

It came about after I asked the question around how employers can ensure that apprenticeships are right and can provide high quality candidates into the construction sector. We were routed towards SDS who were looking for employers to do exactly that – and so we helped to shape the Graduate Apprenticeship which we now know as Civil Engineering in the Built Environment. I already feel that the work achieved in Scotland puts us ahead of the other three UK nations in terms of its ambitions to bring employers in at every stage of apprenticeship development, but I’m determined to continue to press ahead and not be complacent. I want Scotland to be recognised for its relevancy in terms of work-based learning – in the same way that I experienced and benefitted from, in my early career. I would say to employers out there, if you think you can make a difference, step up, get involved and make the difference. apprenticeship-development/

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Clancy branches out With sustainability very much at the fore, Clancy Consulting has proven its continuing green ambitions by the acquisition of a specialist timber frame engineering consultant to expand its Scottish presence. Multi-disciplinary engineering consultant Clancy Consulting has been keeping one eye on developing its growing success in timber frame design for some time. Seemingly bucking the market trend during the rollercoaster of the last 15-months, the team has taken the tactical decision to expand their timber engineering capability with the acquisition of DBM Consultants. Formed back in 1984, DBM initially provided Structural Engineering design and inspection services to Lanarkshire and Central Scotland before expanding into timber frame design upon the appointment of Gordon Megahy into family business five years later. By providing a full engineering service to timber frame manufacturers, the business has been focussed on developments across Scotland and England of a construction value of up to £20million, predominantly working on new build and extensions in the residential, student living, education and healthcare sectors. A respected specialist in this area of work and member of the Structural Timber Association, Gordon Megahy has grown the business over the years with the driving ambition to produce the most environmentally responsible buildings. In addition to traditional timber frames, he and the team are also skilled in Structural Insulated Panel construction methods and glulam structures. Working on behalf of Tod Timber Engineering (part of the McTaggart Group) the team designed the timber kit superstructure for 52 new high-quality apartments on Fielden Street in Glasgow. With residents settling into their new homes over recent weeks, the development was delivered firmly to

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by providing greener, faster, smarter solutions, achieving a path towards Net Zero Carbon. The team has been developing their supply chain within this area and, in addition to expanding the timber engineering service, are now working alongside the country’s most ambitious off-site modular manufacturers, resulting in sustainable new schools and residential schemes across the UK. programme. In part, this was due to the efficient structural modelling, off-site manufacture and installation of the timber structure on a ‘just in time’ basis, ultimately supporting delivery of the critical housing demand in East Glasgow for the residents of West of Scotland Housing Association. Neil Orrock, Director at the Prestwick office commented, “The DBM acquisition has added a further significant growth opportunity for what was already an established area of expertise and bringing Gordon and his team onboard is the perfect fit to increase, and build upon, our timber engineering capability. Offering our clients a design service that includes for off-site fabrication, allows for speed of construction and accuracy during delivery stages however, most importantly, this highly sustainable and thermally efficient solution is a significant step in expanding our drive towards Modern Methods of Construction and energy efficiency within our schemes. It sits seamlessly with our aspirations for the built environment and the contribution we can make as part of the climate emergency our world faces.” In fact, a significant proportion of Clancy’s schemes challenge the industry norm

Glasgow office Director, Neil Robson stated “Welcoming Gordon and the new team members into the Glasgow office, albeit virtually at the moment, has received really positive feedback from our client base. The acquisition has reinforced our ambitions to provide pioneering engineering solutions, alongside the latest construction techniques, which focus on long-term sustainable benefits to the local community, and beyond. It looks like our long-awaited return back into the office might be on hold for a little longer, however it’s an exciting prospect to develop the team’s potential within the framework of a national multi-disciplinary engineering practice, whilst still maintaining their local roots.” Please get in touch for further information about the services offered by Clancy: Neil Orrock, Director (Prestwick) Neil Robson, Director (Glasgow)


Creating transformational change: Advancing Manufacturing AeroSpace projects offer innovation and opportunity to SMEs The aerospace hub at Prestwick in South Ayrshire is one of the largest aerospace clusters in Europe. Having secured an £80 million investment from the Ayrshire Growth Deal, it’s set to secure its status as a leading centre for aerospace and space activity in the UK, with a horizontal spaceport and Aerospace and Space Innovation Centre part of the expansion. However, while business opportunities in aerospace offer high value contracts, entering the market can be a challenge. To help SMEs identify the right opportunities for them and exploit these through applying the latest technologies, two projects have been established: Supply Chain AeroSpace and the Aerospace Digital Visualisation Suite. This follows a £2 million investment from the Advancing Manufacturing Challenge Fund (AMCF), European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and South Ayrshire Council. The services of both projects are provided free of charge to SMEs across the west of Scotland.

Supply Chain AeroSpace (SCA) The SCA project supports SMEs to improve their productivity and competitiveness through the introduction of innovative manufacturing technologies via the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland (NMIS). It also works with Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) and Tier One suppliers to identify supply chain opportunities for SMEs to join the aerospace and space sectors or grow their contribution. The wide range of support on offer includes: Matching an SME’s capabilities and capacity to real opportunities, by supporting procurement and supply chain assessments.

Supporting introductions to potential funding environments. Helping SMEs engage with procurement and supply chain teams within Scotland and the Prestwick Aerospace cluster. Identifying opportunities to apply innovation in operations by using gap analysis, to help create cost competitive solutions. Assisting with the adoption of new process and manufacturing technologies. Supporting Quality Accreditation assistance for aerospace and space, and ISO 9001 vs ISO 9100 gap analysis. Introducing SMEs to business improvement services, including SCI, Sharing in Growth (SiG) and SC21 Supply Chain for the 21st Century. Introducing digital technologies through its sister project, the Aerospace Digital Visualisation Suite.

Aerospace Digital Visualisation Suite (ADVS) Located at the Aeronautical Engineering Training Centre at Ayrshire College, the ADVS project helps SMEs to innovate, develop skills and improve productivity through access to the very latest in Extended Reality (XR) technologies. In conjunction with academic partners, including the University of Strathclyde and NMIS, the ADVS team works closely with companies to identify XR solutions to everyday challenges, supporting them in achieving time and costs savings on live testing, development and training.

Services include: Visualisation - through VR (Virtual Reality) simulations and AR (Augmented Reality) programmes, companies can quickly visualise any aspect of their business, allowing them to identify and address any problems/challenges quickly and cost effectively. Digital Asset Creation - by scanning real-world objects, converting existing CAD data or 3D modelling from designs, assets needed to simulate existing or proposed objects can be created, ranging in scale from handheld items to full size buildings. Digital Factory Transformation and Design - by planning the transformation process using VR technology, restructuring the layout of factories to achieve the best solution can be carried out before the first physical piece of equipment is moved and without any disruption to operations. Together the SCA and ADVS projects will play a key role in strengthening Scotland’s manufacturing industry. With South Ayrshire Council the Lead Organisation for both projects, the Steering Group is supported by NMIS, with colleagues in the Faculty of Engineering in the University of Strathclyde; Ayrshire College; Ayrshire Engineering Alliance; Scottish Manufacturing Advisory Service and Scottish Enterprise. For more information on the ADVS and SCA, including details on how to get involved with either project, please visit or email the projects directly: or

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GOLD NETWORK LAUNCHED IGHLAND Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ H Association (HRFCA) has launched its new Gold Network.

The group consists of the current 15 Gold Defence Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) employers in the HRFCA area of responsibility, from NHS Orkney in the north to Stirling Council in the central belt, and IED Training on the east coast. The 15 public and private sector employers have all achieved coveted ERS Gold status and have been part of the national Gold Alumni Association (GAA) based in London. However, as the GAA continues to grow, it was decided that each of the 13 RFCAs across the UK should have its own regional group to represent local interests as well as national ones, and thus our Scottish Gold Network has been set up. The Chair of the Network is Malcolm Norman of Wood plc, and the Vice Chair is Stuart Sutherland of Scottish Water. The aim of the group is to advocate for Defence people, while sharing best practice and ideas, as well as encouraging and mentoring Bronze and Silver employers to gain Gold status. The Gold Employers will work with our Regional Employer Engagement Directors Ray Watt and Roy McLellan to support Reservists and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, and to liaise with local units in collaborative partnerships. The Chair and Vice Chair will also feed into the UK-wide GAA to ensure the interests of businesses in Central and Northern Scotland are well represented. To find out more about the group or to make contact with one of the members, please contact Angie Dempsey at Gold Network members: Janet Robertson (Dundee City Council); Lyndsay Lauder (Scottish Ambulance Service); Stuart Gray (Knockhill Racing Circuit); Ian Clark (IED Training Solutions Ltd); Glenda Gray (Aberdeenshire Council); Jim Dickie (Stirling Council); Geraldine Lyden (West Dunbartonshire Council); Darren Buck (Aberdeen City Council); Sharon

Faulkner (Angus Council); Morven MacLeod (High Life Highland); Lynn Blaikie (Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce); Serena Barnatt (Golden Jubilee Hospital); Gillian Gall (Golden Jubilee Hospital); David McArthur (NHS Orkney); Malcolm Norman (Wood plc); and Stuart Sutherland (Scottish Water). To find out how you can get involved with supporting the Armed Forces, contact Highland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association’s Regional Employer Engagement Directors. Contact Roy McLellan by email: Contact Ray Watt by email:

Proudly supporting those who serve.

LEADERSHIP SKILLS SHARED RFCA’s ChamberFORCE project H recently hosted its first multi-chamber event with all four of the founding Chambers of Commerce – Fife, Dundee & Angus, Moray, and Dunbartonshire – coming together online to hear about leadership skills from guest speaker Brigadier (Retd) Paul Harkness MBE.

Brigadier Paul, who was instrumental in setting up ChamberFORCE in his previous role of Commander 51 Infantry Brigade and Headquarters Scotland, spoke about the qualities and skills required of leaders in the Armed Forces, and showed how these transfer across to leadership in business. An audience of business leaders from across all four chamber areas then took part in an informative Q and A session with so many questions being put to the speaker, that the event could have gone on for hours! Clearly, leadership and how to develop leaders is a topic of great interest to employers, and it was clear how much common ground exists between the worlds of defence and commerce. Brigadier Paul said: “It was a privilege to chat with the ChamberFORCE members and to share a few thoughts based on my experiences. “Having left the Army and now working in business myself, I have great respect for those who run businesses and lead their workforces to success, particularly during the challenges that the economy has faced over the last 18 months. There is much that we can learn from each other. “It’s great to see Chambers of Commerce, and the ChamberFORCE partnership, going from strength to strength.”

Brigadier (Retd) Paul Harkness MBE

Asked for his key three points on good leadership he added: “Know your people, but don’t be known by them. Get to know everyone who works for you, no matter what job they do. “Develop your team by valuing them and trusting them. “Listen to your people. Ideas, suggestions and advice can come from the least expected places.” To find out more about ChamberFORCE visit

ChamberFORCE Business skills in Reserve


Sustainability is high on the agenda for Russell Roof Tiles Pitched roof tile manufacturer, Russell Roof Tiles, was founded in Lochmaben and having successfully navigated a challenging year of Covid 19 is now continuing to evolve and innovate with sustainability at its core. The company was founded on its current site in 1964, originally known as The Annandale Tile Company with the purchase of an 11acre site in Halleaths. Still on the same site, Russell Roof Tiles now employs a team of 60 in Lochmaben and has recently been given the greenlight for a £1.7m investment programme in plant and building works. Russell Roof Tiles is the largest independent manufacturer of concrete derivatives in the UK pitched roofing market and as well as Lochmaben has a further two sites in Burton on Trent, Staffordshire. The business supplies tiles and accessories for social housing, commercial projects and residential homes, producing thousands of tiles every week that are used on roofs across the country, by premier developers. Initial site preparations started earlier this year and the pioneering manufacturer has now been given full planning permission to start a major upgrade works to its utility plant. This forms part of its longer terms strategy to improve efficiencies in manufacturing and reducing energy output. A new structure will house a new packing system, including the firm’s first robotic packer. Russell Roof Tiles is also carrying out a full electrical upgrade and introducing mechanical improvements across key machinery. This will allow an increase in capacity on the production line to meet growing demands for its roofing products, and also help secure the efficiency of this line for future years. The company has just launched a major recruitment drive for new operatives in Lochmaben. Andrew Hayward, Managing Director at Russell Roof Tiles said: “Due to Covid-19 our planning application was delayed, but we have pushed ahead with all of the early works. It’s an exciting time, the new production line will be fully operational early in 2022 to allow us to increase efficiencies, by utilising the latest innovations in manufacturing.” The company is predicting 2021 will be its best year ever, due to massive market

Business Scotland


growth as well as the company’s post Covid strategy, which saw the firm resume manufacturing in a fully Covid-compliant manner, before any of its competitors. Despite ceasing production when the first national lockdown was announced in March 2020, the business was quickly able to restart production in May last year. This meant that Russell Roof Tiles has been able to maintain good lead times and fulfil a growing order book, as construction bounced back. This growth is despite the fact that the construction industry is still experiencing huge materials shortages due to global demand for many materials, due to pent up demand because of lockdowns in 2020, as well as the supply chain output hit by the pandemic. Andrew Hayward added “We are certainly Building Back Better, with a predicted increase in turnover of 40 per cent year on year. Our investment in the business is very much looking at improvements to our output whilst being increasingly sustainability. Every part of the supply chain is having to adapt and take a different approach towards the use of more sustainable building materials, technology and energy usage and customers

are also becoming increasingly aware of how products are made.” With increased climate change and environment awareness, the construction industry has seen a real drive for sustainability in recent years – impacting each part of the supply chain from manufacturer to housebuilder and driving product innovation. Russell Roof Tiles has always been at the forefront of innovation and was the first UK roof tile manufacturer to have achieved an “Excellent” rating for responsible sourcing, recognising the company’s dedication to sustainability. The company’s concrete roof tiles are a highly sustainable option. And its successful thinner leading-edge tiles use 15 per cent less raw materials than a standard concrete roof tile increasing transport efficiency. Andrew adds, “It’s important to us to continue to innovate and invest in our core operations in a sustainable way and we’re delighted to lead the way in Lochmaben, where our business started.” For more information, please visit telephone 01283 517070 @russellrooftile

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It’s time for Scotland to focus its future on digital skills and learning, connected communities, and transforming services for all citizens Scotland finds itself at an economic crossroads due to COVID-19. The lockdowns and restrictions imposed to suppress the pandemic over the course of the past 14 months have badly affected key sectors of the economy. However, adversity does also bring opportunity, and as the nation looks to recover, it is now more important than ever to build for a digital future. A clear routemap for change is needed, especially when it comes to developing a digital economy built on skilled work. A fundamental part of this route-map is developing the right technological ecosystem so Scotland has the digital infrastructure to emerge stronger and more competitive, not just nationally but globally. To embrace this digital future, Scotland must focus on digital skills and learning, connected communities and transforming services for all citizens. These are the threads of a new digital fabric that can change the way our communities live, our local authorities interact with citizens, our schools teach children, and the way our businesses across every sector operate.

Lindsay McGranaghan

Above all, such change requires a talented digital workforce capable of delivering it. CGI has several programmes in place which aim to cultivate and build this workforce here in Scotland. Firstly, we have created a unique digital solution to transform learning and teaching in schools called Empowered Learning. It offers every student the same access to the same great digital tools for learning, and provides equality of attainment in education. Empowered Learning allows educators, learners and parents to take advantage of digital technology opportunities. Currently, CGI is delivering this digital solution across three council areas to around 100,000 pupils and 10,000 teachers. In Glasgow, this programme – known as Connected Learning – is one of the largest single city implementations in Europe, and fits with CGI’s core commitment to communities, partnerships and STEM, providing young people with a passion for technology and hunger to learn. In the Scottish Borders, known as Inspire Learning, all pupils from P4 to S6 in every Borders school has access to their own device, providing an ideal blended learning environment during the COVID-19 pandemic with more than 90% engagement.

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CGI Vice President and Scotland Business Unit Lead

Meanwhile, in Edinburgh, a deal was signed earlier this year that will see the deployment of 39,000 iPads to 35,000 pupils and 4,000 teachers in more than 120 schools. Known as Edinburgh Learns for Life, the programme will see the phased rollout of digital devices to every school pupil from P6 to S6 beginning in September, with additional iPads issued to P1 to P5 year groups on an agreed ratio.

Currently, there are 13 graduate apprentices in Scotland studying towards a BSC Honours – in Software Development at Glasgow Caledonian and IT Management for Business at Napier – while also developing their career working on real-life projects at CGI, with a paid starting salary of £19,000. These apprentices are not only the key to the future of our business, but also the tech sector in Scotland.

The roll-out will be completed by the end of 2022, and will include 27,000 new iPads for pupils and staff, refreshed iPads for up to 12,000 pupils and staff, as well as enhancing the existing wireless connectivity in schools by providing additional wireless access points, along with a comprehensive programme of professional learning for teachers.

With a skilled workforce in place, cities and authorities can then drive forward real digital change for their communities, and fulfil ‘smart city’ ambitions. From schools to social care, health and wellbeing, finance, proactive maintenance, recycling, route optimisation, and smart vehicles, life will be different, better, and technologically-driven, with citizens at its heart.

Another driver of digital excellence is apprenticeships. CGI has a Graduate Apprenticeships Programme in partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University and Edinburgh Napier University.

What is more, this new technology will mean a virtual world that delivers benefits back to authorities in the north-east, and create the right environment for a new, digital economic recovery.


Scottish biotech firm Dyneval has the edge on competitors Dyneval is delighted to announce that it was awarded £100K as the IBioIC EDGE winner at this year’s Scottish EDGE17 awards final. Dyneval is an exciting new venture in the Scottish biotech sector, having already been announced as winner of the i4 Product Design awards in January this year and the Biocity Accelerator Glasgow most promising venture awards in 2020. Dyneval’s innovative technology offers reliable and precise measurements of semen quality using portable equipment and is currently focused on supporting reproduction in the livestock industry. There is currently no quality control standard for vets, farmers and AI technicians to check semen quality before reproduction, this results in the average UK dairy farmer losing £37,000 each year due to poor conception rates (which have dropped by 40% over the past 20 years costing Europe 2 billion euros each year). Invented by physicists, with over 30 years of experience studying complex fluids at the University of Edinburgh, and validated by vets the technology provides an easy-to-use, automated and portable instrument for semen analysis. The Dyneval technology offers the most reproducible motility measurements and works for any concentration of semen above 1million/mL. The company’s goal is to become the “goldstandard” in semen assessment for use by anyone, anywhere. Speaking about the EDGE17 funding award Dr Tiffany Wood, Founder and CEO, said “The team at Dyneval is absolutely delighted to have won the Scottish Edge. This award will accelerate our market readiness and growth to build a Scottish business that will have a strong and positive impact on the profitability and sustainability of dairy farming, worldwide.’”

Dr Vincent Martinez, Founder and CTO, said, “I feel speechless and honoured to have won this award from such a prestigious competition.” Dyneval will be using part of this funding to design instrumentation control software with Firefinch Software Barry McHoull, Director, Firefinch Software commented “It is an exciting time to be partnering with Dyneval. It’s a time of innovation and growth for Scottish life sciences and we are delighted to continue to be part of it through this project. We look forward to working with the Dyneval team to bring their product to launch” Tiffany Wood, CEO of Dyneval Ltd continued “Firefinch were recommended to me through one of their clients and, on meeting,

we discovered that Firefinch’s knowledge of instrument control and experience in designing software for users in the LifeScience sector offered Dyneval the highest potential for rapid progress. With their help, we look forward to being marketready this summer.” Mark Bustard, CEO of IBioIC, added: “Dyneval is a great example of the kind of world-leading innovation we are looking to support – the company is a worthy winner of the IBioIC Award, which recognises future leaders in biotechnology. We are proud to support Scottish Edge through our sponsorship, providing co-funding for the £100,000 prize and helping the next generation of start-ups and entrepreneurs to make meaningful change through their groundbreaking research and development.”

The team at Dyneval is absolutely delighted to have won the Scottish Edge. This award will accelerate our market readiness and growth to build a Scottish business that will have a strong and positive impact on the profitability and sustainability of dairy farming, worldwide. Dr Tiffany Wood, Founder and CEO

Business Scotland



Caroline McKenna

Connecting for Good: don’t stop giving employees time to work in their communities The more I talk to Scottish businesses about social impact and giving back, the more heartened I am to witness a genuine shift towards more meaningful community support. But as restrictions ease and isolation subsides, I’m keen to see vital activity such as employee volunteering stay buoyant. Just over a year ago, our own digital search and match employee volunteering platform was born. We launched Social Good Connect six months ahead of schedule in response to the pandemic. Over 180 Scotland-based businesses and charities - many UK-wide - have joined the movement, including DC Thomson, Ooni, Ninja Kiwi, Tayside Cancer Support and Marie Curie. Business leaders are happy to support a non-profit social enterprise that encourages their employees to volunteer time and expertise. With their employer’s support and in a multitude of ways for every kind of charity, hundreds of skilled professionals have been helping overstretched charities and struggling communities. As Calum McPherson from Golphin put it, “if you can help your people contribute to society by helping them volunteer on work time in a supportive framework, why wouldn’t you?” He’s got a point. There’s no catch to choosing a cause that matches your skills

Business Scotland


and interests, and then volunteering on work time. Companies large and small, in all types of sector, are reporting a greater sense of purpose and morale-boost among furloughed and working employees. Staff wellbeing and morale is one of the biggest reasons I hear every month for them joining the platform. David Hamilton at Ninja Kwi coined the benefits: “Employee volunteering makes business sense You’re helping employees grow a sense of purpose and wellbeing outside of work, you’re making a big difference to charities who really need skilled help, and you’re helping yourself retain a motivated workforce.” I’m always happy to hear Social Good Connect described as an inspiring way of businesses connecting their employees to local community projects, but let’s not let the good work stop just because Covid is ‘fading’ or because businesses

are reshaping their priorities. Now more than ever, we all need employers and their employees to carry on giving back to the communities they serve. There are plenty of charities and parts of the community whose needs are greater than in pre-pandemic times. Tayside Cancer Support is a great example: “It’s always proved difficult to find new befrienders. Our relationship with you has made a huge and valuable difference.” Before launching Social Good Connect, CEO and founder Caroline McKenna spent 20 years in financial services and led various charities and start-ups including the Dundee International Women’s Centre. She works on the boards of three not-forprofit organisations, Good Call, U-evolve and Dundee University’s School of Business Advisory Board. source=scottish-chambers&utm_ medium=article&utm_campaign=june-21


Charles Wardman appointed new chief executive of West Lothian Chamber of Commerce West Lothian Chamber of Commerce has announced the appointment of its new Chief Executive. Local businessman Charles Wardman, co-founder and CEO of Wardman UK, a leading West Lothian-based IT and cyber secure platform provider, takes over from interim CEO, Ian Wallace, who held the role whilst the Chamber board sought a permanent replacement for previous incumbent, Charlene Wallace. Charles co-founded the business, Wardman UK, with his wife Eve, back in 2009. It very quickly established itself as one of the new generation of IT and technology businesses offering connectivity, security and support on a single platform, enabling its UK wide client base to self-manage their own infrastructures. Charles plans to adopt much of the Wardman UK ‘family ethos’ into his new role at West Lothian Chamber, where the focus has been to create new ways of innovative thinking and exceeding customer expectation, ensuring that ‘what we do matters, but how we do it matters a whole lot more.’ He comments, “Shaping and defining a new era for West Lothian Chamber of Commerce will come from a perspective of creating an understood value about our future role for the business community. Every Chamber is rooted in its local geography and as we become more accustomed to home working or our businesses grow outside from where we are located, what does it then mean to be a member of your local chamber? It is important that West Lothian Chamber not only speaks for its businesses as it traditionally has always done but harnesses its valuable knowledge and content from a truly engaged audience of members. The Chamber has a pivotal role in becoming a repository for that knowledge. By creating this platform, we can learn from each other, build on a smart, successful network and bring tangible value to chamber membership. Billy MacLeod, Board President at West Lothian Chamber of Commerce comments, “Charles Wardman’s extensive business experience, coupled with his vision to give West Lothian Chamber a representative voice across a raft of local, regional and national business and

Charles Wardman

Shaping and defining a new era for West Lothian Chamber of Commerce will come from a perspective of creating an understood value about our future role for the business community. economic matters, perfectly matched the Board’s roadmap and made him the resounding choice to lead the Chamber into the future. West Lothian remains one of the strongest economies across the central belt and under Charles, we will have a proactive and determined leader who will help us continually thrive.”

The West Lothian Chamber of Commerce is one of the most dynamic chambers of commerce in the country. The Chamber’s mission of powering the economy for the West Lothian Region is carried out through economic development, education reform, regional collaboration and providing valuable benefits to members.

Business Scotland



New service for redundant apprentices supports recruitment process The Apprentice Transition Plan service was developed by Skills Development Scotland in order to support apprentices made redundant through the impact of COVID-19. The service will help individuals market themselves to prospective employers. The support is a bespoke consultancy service tailored to each individual’s personal circumstances and learning providers help the individual to complete their Apprentice Transition Plan. An element of the service is the creation of a Record of Achievement, which lists all of an individual’s certifications and skills, including transferable skills. As an official document, the Record of Achievement can support a CV and enables employers who are recruiting to get a more accurate understanding of a candidate’s abilities and achievements. The Apprentice Transition Plan service helped Fletcher Makin to get a new job. Only weeks into Fletcher’s Modern Apprenticeship, a national lockdown was declared as a result of COVID-19 and the 21 year old was placed on furlough before being made redundant in April last year. Having only been in the apprenticeship a short time meant that Fletcher hadn’t yet gained enough experience to be formally assessed and receive any awarding body certification for his progress. As part of the service, Fletcher worked with his learning provider, QA, to identify and record all the technical skills and learning he had gained during his apprenticeship into a Record of Achievement document, benchmarking his skills against an SCQF level. The support helped Fletcher land a new role with a lettings and property management firm.

Sarah Shannon

Fletcher said: “Working with Joanne at QA to understand all the technical and transferable skills I had because of my apprenticeship enabled me to communicate it all during my job interview. I could explain that I had knowledge of the systems and office equipment. I was also pleased that having everything recorded gave me a form of recognition.” Apprentices made redundant who were close to completing their apprenticeship could also be eligible to get help to complete their qualification.

Working with Joanne at QA to understand all the technical and transferable skills I had because of my apprenticeship enabled me to communicate it all during my job interview. Fletcher Makin

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Sarah Shannon started a Digital Marketing Modern Apprenticeship in 2019 whilst working part time for a charity. However, when Sarah was close to completing her apprenticeship she was made redundant in August last year as a result of the pandemic. Sarah’s learning provider, Training Matters, tapped into COVID-19 support from Skills Development Scotland so Sarah could complete her qualification as part of the Apprentice Transition Plan service. Employers can also encourage any individuals affected by redundancy to benefit from this free, one to one service up until March 2022. More information for employers about the Apprentice Transition Plan is available on


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New president, vice presidents and policy council announced by Chamber Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce announced its new president and board chair plus two vice-presidents and a number of additions to its policy council during its 166th annual general meeting which took place on June 15. Bob Keiller replaces Dr Colette Backwell who has served as president since June 2018. She remains on the board for a further period in the role of immediate past president. Former chair of Scottish Enterprise and chief executive officer of Wood Group, Bob completed the $1bn sale of PSN to Wood in April 2011. He was also responsible for the creation of PSN by manufacturing a $280m management buyout from Halliburton in 2006. He has a Master of Engineering degree from Heriot-Watt University and is a chartered engineer. Previously chairman of the Offshore Contracting Association (OCA) and co-chair of the cross-industry trade body OGUK, Bob is also a former chairman of the Entrepreneurial Exchange and he was awarded Entrepreneur of the Year in 2006 and 2008; as well as being named Scottish Businessman of the Year in 2007 and Grampian Industrialist of the Year in 2008. In 2011 he was voted Scottish Male Business Leader of the Year at the Scottish Leadership Awards. In addition to other activities he currently spends four days a week, unpaid, providing mentoring and support to help entrepreneurs, charities, social enterprises and businesses to grow. “I am deeply honoured and very proud to be the new president and chair of the Chamber,” said Bob. “I’d like to thank Colette for all her hard work over the past two years and am looking forward to supporting the organisation as we move forward. The Chamber is highly valued by its members however we have the opportunity to become even more valuable to the existing network but also more attractive to the wider business community. As an SME

Bob Keiller

itself, the Chamber needs to be run in a way that enables it to be responsive, flexible and react to both the needs of its members but also the economic opportunities that face us in this fast-moving world and I relish the opportunity to be part of making that happen.” Jill Webster and Steven Nicol have both been appointed vice-presidents, joining existing VP Pádraig McCloskey. Jill has over 35 years’ experience as director of SMEs as well as experience as provost of Aberdeenshire Council with its half billionpound budget. She believes that her many connections through her public and corporate activities will be an enormous asset to the Chamber. Steven is chief financial officer at Wood. He has relished the opportunity to shape the strategic and financial direction of the Chamber since joining the board, sharing ideas, debating issues and taking action to enable future success. The policy council is in place to ensure that

the Chamber team has its finger on the pulse on the key issues, challenges and opportunities facing our membership and the wider North-east business community. It is chosen via an open process giving our members the opportunity to have their input ensuring it is reflective of the diverse sectoral and geographical make up of the region. John Michie of Charles Michie Pharmacy Group, Craig Stevenson of the Bon Accord and St Nicholas Centre, Jennifer Stanning of OGUK, Steven Alexander of SFF Services Limited, Donella Beaton of Robert Gordon University and Graeme Ross of Aberdein Considine were reappointed for further three year terms. Joining the council after having been endorsed at the AGM are David Phillips of First Aberdeen and Andrew Askew Blain of Brodies LLP. The Chamber welcomes them all and looks forward to the benefit of their experience from a variety of roles and sectors.

As an SME itself, the Chamber needs to be run in a way that enables it to be responsive, flexible and react to both the needs of its members but also the economic opportunities that face us in this fast-moving world and I relish the opportunity to be part of making that happen. Bob Keiller, President and Chair, Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce

Business Scotland



Steve Smith

Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce appoints new president Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce appointed a new president at its annual general meeting.

“We ran two very successful virtual trade missions with businesses in Dubai, UAE and Chennai, South India. These both resulted in deals agreed.”

Changes to the board Board member Susan McFadyen, of Blackadders, is the new vice president.

Steve Smith, commercial director at cannabis cosmetics firm Cannafull, succeeds Zudu managing director James Buchan in the role. A virtual showcase was held at the AGM, which was a virtual event for the second year.

‘Challenging year’ DACC chief executive Alison Henderson said: “It’s been a really challenging year for and the Chamber has been no different. “We’ve adapted our services to support our members and the local business community, while keeping our team supported. “The work over the past year has been really varied – from championing Buy Local projects like Love Dundee Local & Buy Angus to providing lots of Covid guidance and services.”

Packed programme of events Ms Henderson noted that 150 events had

Alison Henderson

been delivered to 3,500 attendees over the last year. She said the chamber was looking forward to holding live events again later this year. Listing the chamber’s other achievements in the past year, she said: “In 2020 we became a Kickstart Gateway organisation and are well on the way to creating 200 jobs for young unemployed people in Dundee and Angus. “We launched a new customs declaration service and supported hundreds of businesses navigate Brexit challenges.

Other new board members are Kelly Fairweather (At Your Service & The Selkie), Kyle Moir (MacRoberts), Fiona Morrison (Hillcrest), Lorraine Lemon (Dundee Science Centre), Abi Abubaker (Al Maktoum) and Graham Parker (Condies). Stepping down are Mr Buchan, Craig Sommerville (GSK Montrose), Stuart Taylor (Shepherd Construction), Deborah Miller (previously MacRoberts) and Ian Collins (Bank of Scotland). Meanwhile Jeremy Parker (NFU Mutual), Manny Baber (Sleeperz) and Blair Davidson (MHA Henderson Loggie) remain board members. Ms Henderson added: “We’ve had a successful year. Our thanks go to our directors who give up so much of their time to support the Chambers work. “Also to the team who have worked remotely and are a huge credit to the region.”

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ICC celebrates successful inaugural virtual trade mission to Colombia Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) much-anticipated inaugural trade mission to Colombia has been hailed as a resounding success. The mission, which took place on 2nd June 2021, saw ICC lead the Scottish Chamber network’s first official mission to South America, welcoming businesses from across Scotland, with companies in Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Highlands, Glasgow and Inverclyde all taking part in the 40 strong delegation. British Ambassador to Colombia, Colin Martin-Reynolds, who was very supportive of the mission, opened the event before passing to Department of International Trade Director, Richard Rollison at The Scottish

This was an outstanding online event, superbly organised and of great value and interest to the delegates who are keen to expand their export opportunities. Mark Spragg, ICC President

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Government who highlighted the desire and opportunities available for Scottish and Colombian businesses to collaborate.

“Special thanks must also go to the Scottish Chambers of Commerce for their continued support and collaboration.

The event was also supported by Paula Ospina at PROCOLOMBIA and Carolina Hoyos Delgado at Invest in Bogota, both event partners and provided an excellent overview of the current Colombian market and opportunities.

“Inverclyde Chamber sees great opportunities for local businesses to trade internationally and we look forward to providing further missions for companies to grow.”

Attendees were also provided time to share and promote their own business as well as network with other delegates, to create new connections and business opportunities. Oliver Wack at Control Risks and Michael Boken at Proximotec added additional insights into Colombia, providing both an economic and current Covid-19 overview for attendees. New ICC President, Mark Spragg said: “This was an outstanding online event, superbly organised and of great value and interest to the delegates who are keen to expand their export opportunities. “We were delighted to be joined by the British Ambassador to Colombia as well as the Scottish Government, signalling the importance of the event and support for Inverclyde Chamber.

The mission was created and led by ICC’s lead Diana Peralta, herself a proud Colombian, and was supported by Michael Phillips at BritCham Colombia who provided support for the event. Reflecting on the successful mission, Diana said: “It was an honour to support the first South American mission for Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce and it was clear from the event the opportunities available in Colombia. “This is a great springboard for the Chamber to further develop our international programme, and we look forward to announcing further opportunities for local and Scottish businesses.” Inverclyde Chamber is currently reviewing all of the feedback from the event and intends to announce future International Trade Missions in the coming weeks.


Lochaber firm named UK small business of the year Family-run Woodlands Glencoe has been awarded the UK Small Business of the Year at the Federation of Small Businesses’ (FSB) annual awards. The land was once an arable farm and has since been transformed into a luxury tourism destination. The business includes an estate, café, activity centre, golf course, and 17 luxury lodges. Their impressive growth rate and commitment to the local community was the reason for their win. The business grew its revenue from £45,000 in 2009 to

£900,000 in 2020 and the firm offers their activities free to local fundraising groups. Woodlands Glencoe employee 22 members of staff which provides important opportunities in rural Scotland.

Positive result for Highland hospitality Woodlands Glencoe’s development director James Young said: At our heart, we’re a family firm that’s spent more than a decade building and diversifying our business. Tourism in Scotland has faced huge challenges over the last year, but we know that our business, industry and country will bounce back. By innovating and investing, we can build back the strength of our sector and our local communities.

The FSB’s UK Celebrating Small Business Awards UK Final took place virtually on Thursday May 27, and was hosted by Clare Balding. The ceremony featured an address from Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, who applauded the grit of the UK’s small business community. FSB Highlands and Islands area lead Tanja Lister said: Being a world-class holiday destination must be matched by worldclass businesses. This is exactly what we find in Woodlands Glencoe. The Young family have done a truly amazing job and they are a credit to our region. In addition to winning the overall UK Small Business of the Year Award, Woodlands Glencoe also won the UK Business and Product Innovation Award.

Being a world-class holiday destination must be matched by world-class businesses. This is exactly what we find in Woodlands Glencoe. The Young family have done a truly amazing job and they are a credit to our region. Tanja Lister, FSB Highlands and Islands area lead

Business Scotland



The UK oil and gas sector is poised for transformation with interest in the renewables sector reaching a 10 year high Two fifths of firms report plans to accelerate their diversification post-CV19 Around half expect to recruit new talent in the next 12 months The latest data on the UK oil and gas industry shows the sector is on the cusp of dramatic transformation as it recovers from the impact of the coronavirus and positions itself for a low carbon future.

and exploration work. The net balance reported for production related activity of -15% indicates a continued overall decline, although this has eased from the -47% reported in 2020.

Significantly, 75% of contractors anticipate moving into renewables work over the coming three to five-year period, the highest level recorded since the question was first asked in 2015. On average, they believe oil and gas will account for less than three quarters of their business activity by 2025 – down from the current average of 86%.

Looking beyond the UKCS, over the past 12 months optimism in the international oil and gas sector has increased for more than half of contractors (54%) with just 13% reporting a decline. The net balance of +41% in contractors’ current international confidence is up significantly from the -61% reported six months ago and above the 10year average of +27%. This upward trend is expected to continue over the coming year.

The 33rd Oil and Gas survey, conducted by Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce’s Research Chamber in partnership with the Fraser of Allander Institute and KPMG UK, paints a picture of fragile optimism and strong leadership among businesses operating in the sector.

The research also shows the sector is continuing to drive UK exports forward and is focusing on growing markets, with 69% of supply chain companies looking to up investment in developing new markets across this financial year.

The findings, which cover the six months to April 2021, show contractor confidence in the UK Continental Shelf (UKCS) has significantly improved from a net balance of -76% reported six months ago to +6%. This is a welcome rise from the expected forecast reported six months ago where 58% of contractors expected the outlook to worsen.

When asked about plans to reach net zero, around a quarter of firms (27%) have set their own carbon neutral target with 3% already having achieved it and almost twofifths (38%) indicating that whilst they are committed to being carbon neutral they have not set a deadline for achieving it. For those that have, ambitions range from 2030 to 2050 in terms of completion.

When combined with almost half (49%) of contractors saying they plan to hire new talent in the coming year, the research shows that the industry remains resilient and proactive in embracing change.

The report also indicated this type of target is becoming part of procurement processes, with 37% of firms expecting to evaluate their suppliers’ carbon footprints when awarding or renewing contracts. Firms cited a range of reasons for committing to reduce their emissions, with 56% citing environmental concerns, 51% seeking to increase their sustainability or longevity

The challenges faced over the past year are however reflected in the reduced level of reported activity in production

as a company; and 50% driven to improve perceptions of their own business. Following the end of CV19 pandemic and removal of lockdown restrictions, 83% of firms say they will be considering a more flexible working policy with 80% considering replacing some face-to-face activity with virtual equivalents. More than two-fifths (44%) said they will be accelerating their diversification away from oil and gas and 43% will be exploring a reduction to their office footprint. Martin Findlay, senior partner at KPMG in Aberdeen, said: “As we emerge from the pandemic, we’re facing a new set of climaterelated challenges, driven by policy makers and an increasingly impatient public. With that in mind, it’s incredibly reassuring that our survey found contractor confidence in the UKCS has significantly improved from -76% six months ago to +6% today. “The common misconception is that oil and gas is the cause of much of the climate crisis we face, when it’s actually often the driving force behind a potential renewables revolution. 75% of contractors interviewed for the survey told us they’re likely to become more involved in UKCS renewables work over the coming three to five-year period. That’s the highest level recorded since the question was introduced in 2015. Contractors also told us oil and gas activity would account for less than three quarters of their business activity by 2025 – down from the current average of 86%. “The industry is on the cusp of transformation and much of our findings reflect the collective sense of anticipation. It certainly feels that in Aberdeen we are

“As we emerge from the pandemic, we’re facing a new set of climate-related challenges, driven by policy makers and an increasingly impatient public. With that in mind, it’s incredibly reassuring that our survey found contractor confidence in the UKCS has significantly improved from -76% six months ago to +6% today.” Martin Findlay, Senior Partner at KPMG in Aberdeen Business Scotland



heading towards the ‘new normal’ after a long period of reliance on carbon-based energy sources.” The survey also asks about the key factors influencing UKCS activity and the actions firms are taking in order to retain a competitive advantage. The level of demand is the most pressing concern for contractors, remaining a very important concern for the majority (75%). Shane Taylor, policy manager at Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce, said: “The survey results showcase a sector that is gearing up to deliver the energy transition in practice but one that is doing so from a relatively fragile position, both in terms of confidence and activity, as it looks to rebuild from the enormous challenges faced in 2020 and the market disruption driven by the pandemic. “Given that the majority of our fieldwork predated the announcement of the longawaited North Sea Transition Deal in late March, we expect the outlook to strengthen as government and industry look to invest in the sector’s pivotal role in achieving our netzero ambitions. “Not only is it clear that firms in the sector are taking steps to cement their commitments, it also seems likely that fast-movers in this area will be able to gain a real competitive advantage as net-zero ambitions become a more tangible part of the procurement process. “These substantive changes to the way firms operate may well be just as transformative as their wider diversification efforts to local economies. In particular, the significant shifts in office usage and ways of working make it clear that the Chamber’s wider asks for a business rates review, reflecting the impact of the pandemic, need to be taken forward by government to reduce upfront costs and ensure that it’s attractive for firms to take up office space and invest in town and city centres.”

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Climate Chamber As a Chamber, we are committed to supporting and enabling actions to tackle climate change and are delighted to launch Climate Chamber, our sustainable movement designed to inform our members and position Glasgow as a leading city in the development of the green and wider circular economy. Working with our members and policy makers we will drive sustainable economic growth & a just transition to net-zero. Glasgow Chamber has been championing circular economy business models that allow our members to become future proof while enabling profits and competitive advantage. Adopting circular strategies will be an instrumental driver in the journey to net zero. An initiative of Glasgow Chamber, Circular Glasgow works alongside Zero Waste Scotland and Glasgow City Council, to offer business a powerful proposition to help lead the way through innovation which comes at a crucial time as Glasgow works towards it’s ambitious target to be carbon neutral by 2030 and a leading circular city. We will continue to grow the Circular Glasgow Network to widen business engagement, action and knowledge transfer towards a circular economy.

Climate Chamber Mission As part of Climate Chamber, we are offering sustainable businesses a global gateway to build international partnerships to aid the delivery of their ambitious climate targets. Our Climate Chamber Mission will connect 12 countries which are tackling the climate emergency as a priority alongside a suite of leading circular cities for an international inward trade and knowledge exchange event. During COP26, businesses from these countries and circular cities will be invited to virtually join prominent keynote speakers, bespoke expert forums, business to business meetings and networking.

My Climate Path Our ambition is to ensure there is a COP26 education legacy therefore we are launching My Climate Path. Working with business, the local community and our Developing Young Workforce Glasgow (DYW) and Circular

Glasgow teams, we will inform and inspire our young people on the roles and skills required for the jobs of the future that will drive sustainable economic growth in a circular economy. The climate crisis is a clear and present danger for us all, but we want to make this year the turning point.

Wylie & Bisset forms exclusive strategic alliance with TAG Accountants Community in Scotland Chartered Accountants Wylie & Bisset has formed an exclusive strategic alliance with the TAG Accountants Community that positions it as the only full-service practice supporting independent firms throughout Scotland. Offering a simple way to obtain the best practice methodology from peer accountants, the TAG Accountants Community has over 200 qualified and regulated professionals in tax, financial services, legal services, HR, Health & Safety and other disciplines across the UK. Donald McKinnon, managing partner at Wylie & Bisset, said: “Through this strategic alliance, we can support professional advisers throughout Scotland by providing them with access to the knowledge and experience of the best technicians in the field with the aim of generating real tangible benefits for them and their clients.

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“Through the TAG Community, as a full-service practice, we can assist these firms through the provision of such specialist services under TAG’s non-compete clause giving independent firms assurance that we will not seek to poach their clientele.”

Donald McKinnon, managing partner at Wylie & Bisset “For example, it may be that an independent firm in Scotland is approached by a client with a requirement for business recovery services, which previously they would perhaps have had to decline if they are not a licensed insolvency practitioner, the impact of which could be the loss of an immediate income opportunity and the risk of losing a client to a full-service practice.

Mark Allen, CEO of the TAG Accountants Community, added: “We are delighted to be working in conjunction with Wylie & Bisset across Scotland. Together with Wylie & Bisset we add a serious challenger option to the top 50 UK accounting firms that will allow regional accounting practices across Scotland to punch well above their weight.” Following the strategic alliance, Wylie & Bisset has engaged The Professional Partner Network to invite up to 20 independent accountancy firms throughout Scotland to join the TAG Accountants Community.


Making style sustainable The Scottish subscription fashion business providing an ethical fashion fix. A keen eye for browsing charity shops and a passion for the environment has led to a Stirling duo launching an innovative ethical sustainable clothing business.

“Many people don’t have the time or energy to spend in charity shops looking for key pieces so our team at Sioda do the hard work for them.

One initiative already launched, is a partnership with Funeral Aid and Women’s Aid to provide garments in kind to women on low incomes for funerals and job interviews.

Forth Valley Chamber member ‘Sioda’ (Gaelic for silk), is the first Scottish business to provide a monthly subscription service where women can rent stylish high-end daywear and occasion-wear from classic design labels such as Reiss, Whistles, French Connection and Coast in sizes ranging from 4-24.

“With the fashion industry emitting more carbon than international flights and maritime shipping combined and 85 per cent of all textiles going to the dump each year, there needs to be a seismic change in attitudes towards how we shop, and Sioda is proud to be leading that drive and reducing the number of items going to landfill each year.”

Alex added: “At Sioda we have a real drive to be part of that societal change and take people along with us. As a society we need to do more to tackle the environmental crisis and be able to give assistance to people in our society in their time of need.

The business aims to counter the throwaway fast fashion culture and ensure that women of all shapes and sizes can still look and feel fantastic in stunning key wardrobe pieces and get their fashion fix in a cost-effective and ethical way. Operational Director, Naomi Ross, was inspired to launch the business with Commercial Director Alex McKenna after seeing a gap in the market for women who want to be fashionable and shop ethically but are time-poor to source quality investment pieces themselves second hand. Naomi said: “We are determined to disrupt the fast fashion industry’s ‘make, wear once and dispose’ approach and offer women a mainstream alternative - to rent beautiful high-quality clothes from our website, via affordable payment models.

Customers can be confident in Sioda’s green credentials. Returned worn items are cleaned with a steam closet care system (certified against COVID), using environmentally friendly products and everything from the packaging to their bank has been carefully considered by the Sioda team. Sioda has also been certified by The Good Business Charter which recognises responsible business practices. Naomi and Alex are already looking ahead to how they can use profits from the business to start a foundation focussing on social justice and ethical causes, and they are investigating how damaged returned items can be reused positively in other ways.

“At Sioda we feel really passionately that if we all make small steps to make a change, we can make a big difference.” The business has already attracted support from the Scottish Government Kickstart Programme, Scottish Enterprise, Forth Environment Link and Zero Waste Scotland. Martin Valenti, Head of Climate Enterprise at Scottish Enterprise said: “The passion for style and sustainability is evident, Sioda UK is ahead of the game and if anyone can make a difference in the fashion industry it is them.”

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Scottish glassmaking firm launches bespoke tartan An award-winning Scottish glassmaking firm has created its own Tartan – Whisky and Water by Angels’ Share Glass.

The Stirling company developed the unique tartan with the help of the team at Prickly Thistle who specialise in creating bespoke designs. Angels’ Share Glass Managing Director Karen Somerville worked closely with Clare Campbell, founder of Highlands-based Prickly Thistle, to come up with a design which would reflect the glassmakers’ story and complement its products. Three designs were shortlisted and put to a public vote which led overwhelmingly to the choice of the teal blue and gold option Whisky and Water. Karen says: “As a proud Scottish business, it was only fitting that we would one day produce our very own tartan to reflect our heritage and the story of how our brand has developed since we launched eight years ago. “We were delighted with the ideas generated by Prickly Thistle and loved all of the designs Clare developed - but we agree with our supporters and customers that the Whisky and Water design is the best fit for us.” Prickly Thistle is the firm behind the creation of Outlander star Sam Heughan’s Sassenach tartan and designed the limited-edition tartan weaved for the National Trust for Scotland’s Save Our Scotland Appeal. Clare says: “It was an absolute joy to work with Karen and hear the lovely stories behind Angels’ Share Glass. “We worked together to create a flagship tartan using the iconic colours which reflect the brand and all the wonderful imagery

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and connections inspired by the colours of whisky and glass and by Karen’s father Tom Young’s glassmaking legacy. “I’m thrilled that everyone loved the Whisky and Water design which was chosen and really enjoyed going on the journey with Karen and her team which led to the creation of the tartan which tells their story.” Angels’ Share Glass specialises in creating whisky-based glass gifts, many of which include tartan in their presentation, and Karen had been considering producing a bespoke tartan for some time. She says: “Customers would often ask us if we had our own design to include in the gift sets and staves where we use tartan and it’s something I’ve always wanted to do as a Scottish company which is proud of its heritage. “Working with Clare to develop the perfect design was fantastic because she is so passionate about storytelling and was determined to find out all about us so she could weave our history and our stories into the design.” Clare came up with a series of designs for the firm which the team narrowed down to three tartans - Whisky and Wood; Whisky and Water and Whisky and Nature. These options were voted on by the firm’s many customers, supporters and social media fans with more than 1,000 people completing the survey and a massive 70% voting for Whisky and Water. Those polled were also asked to put forward name ideas for the tartan before Karen

decided on `Whisky and Water by Angels’ Share Glass’ as the perfect title. She says: “The three designs were all wonderful with the Whisky and Wood colours representing the oak of the whisky barrel which is the wood we use for our staves and Whisky and Nature featuring the black and gold of the flames we use in glassmaking and the black fungus sometimes associated with The Angels’ Share. “But the Whisky and Water design, representing our brand colours of teal and gold, was the standout winner and a great choice which all of us at Angels’ Share Glass agreed with. “We’re grateful to all those who voted and quite overwhelmed by the positive response we received as well as some of the unusual entries which were suggested for the tartan names including Greedy Angels and Tartan McTartanFace. “We’re now looking forward to having our very own tartan woven and using it to complement our products.” The tartan will now be produced by the Prickly Thistle team at their tartan weaving mill and is expected to be completed by the summer. It will be used in the presentation of existing products and packaging as well as for creating a range of new gifts including tartan napkins with handmade glass rings, a tartan flat cap and hipflask covers. For more information about Bridge of Allanbased Angels Share Glass, visit


How to speed up hospitality recovery with easy energy efficiency measures

Hospitality has an immense challenge ahead to recover one year worth of sales, and studies show there is a long road ahead – PWC predicts it could be four years before we see a return to preCOVID-19 levels. But the secret to increase profit margins lies not only in increasing sales, but just as much in better control of operating costs. And saving energy remains one of the simplest ways to do that! Reducing energy use makes perfect business sense: not only does it save the business money, but it also helps everyone in the fight against climate change. And with energy consumption usually representing around 6% of a hotel’s costs, but around 60% of emissions, there is surely a lot of room for improvement. Money saved on energy goes straight to the bottom line, so the sooner you start

implementing simple energy efficiency measures, the quicker your businesses will address the gap the pandemic carved in your businesses. Not sure where to start? Here are some ideas of things you could start to focus on now: Preventive Maintenance: hospitality businesses are energy-intensive environments, and maintenance is often reactive. Make the most of the time you have now, while occupation is still not full, to carry out some improvements, looking into more energy efficient solutions and equipment, and smart energy management systems. Staff engagement: Everyone in your business will be using energy to do their work and can make an impact. A concentrated effort and setting common targets with your team could be a great way to boost the sense of cohesion. So open up your energy costs with them, invite the team to share ideas, agree an objective and define some incentives for when you get there together!

Energy contracts: Some energy suppliers have been putting a premium on contracts with the hospitality trade at the moment, or – even worse – rejecting a new contract altogether! Out of contract rates are not sustainable, even in normal trading conditions, so if you are having difficulty getting a new contract for your gas or electric supply, look for specialist support. There are specialist companies who are in contact with major suppliers and can help find a better deal for you, while you focus on getting your business up and running again. With many of us making plans for an exciting staycation, this can be a busy, profitable – and energy efficient – summer for the Hospitality Industry. John Wilkinson is a Director at MYCOS, helping businesses pursue their policy of 100% renewable energy and find cost savings for gas and electric. Learn more about Mycos by visiting their website

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Social enterprise unveils plans for new hub in Glasgow Dundee-based social enterprise, Circle Scotland CIC, is expanding its operations to a second site, this time in Glasgow. The organisation is taking over the Westwood Business Centre in Easterhouse and will be opening its doors to the community and local businesses later this Summer. The Circle launched its first hub in Dundee in 2016, initially offering affordable offices, co-working space, community spaces and meeting and event spaces. It also provides consultancy and business support as well as a training programme for social entrepreneurs known as The Circle Academy; these are available to clients across the country. The Circle is now looking to expand into further sites, like the one in Glasgow, to create more hubs

It is fantastic that the Council’s partnership with The Circle as part of the Space for Growth programme has resulted in the group taking over the Westwood Business Centre. Councillor Angus Millar

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where organisations can collaborate to pool resources and find new creative ways to work. The Circle is working in partnership with Glasgow City Council as part of the Space for Growth scheme, a set of initiatives provided by Glasgow City Council and City Property to offer assistance to start-up businesses, social organisations, creative organisations and community groups in gaining affordable accommodation. Having seen the success of The Circle’s model over the past four years and how its vision aligns with the aims of the scheme, the local authority recognised an opportunity to work together for the benefit of local residents and organisations. The new hub will, like the existing Dundee space, offer a range of affordable office space as well as meeting and event spaces for hire, and space for community events, supporting the growth and sustainability of a range of organisations and encourage collaboration for the benefit of the organisations, the local economy and the wider community. The Circle is recruiting people from the Glasgow area to join the staff team as it expands into the Easterhouse site.

Founder and CEO, Kirsty Thomson says, “We’ve always wanted to run hubs in multiple locations and now, after operating in Dundee for almost five years now we’re confident that we’ve have created a model we can replicate. We’re very excited for this next step in our development and to expand our community.” Councillor Angus Millar, Depute Convener for Inclusive Economic Growth at Glasgow City Council, says “It is fantastic that the Council’s partnership with The Circle as part of the Space for Growth programme has resulted in the group taking over the Westwood Business Centre, supporting access to space and facilities for social enterprises, third sector and community organisations. That this move will create new job opportunities here in Glasgow is great news for the city’s social economy and the local community who will benefit.” If you would be interested in finding out more about The Circle’s new facility in Glasgow, you can contact their General Manager, Paul Hastie at


Caithness site included for evaluation in major clean energy development Plans for Caithness to become the host site for a prototype generator for one of the world’s most efficient, cleanest and lowest carbon forms of energy have taken a step forward. A bid to host the Spherical Tokamak for Energy Production (STEP) prototype fusion power plant was submitted by the Caithness and North Sutherland Regeneration Partnership (CNSRP) in March. This has now been included in a list of 15 sites for further investigation by the UK Atomic Energy Authority (UKAEA), who launched the open call in December 2020.

The fusion prototype development would dovetail perfectly with the decommissioning of Dounreay and complement our area’s existing wind and tidal forms of renewable energy generation. Ian Ross, chair of the CNSRP

If the Caithness bid is successful, the development could create hundreds of highquality jobs locally, drive wider economic growth and attract further investment to the region. Fusion technology is being developed worldwide as a transformational source of low carbon energy. It seeks to replicate the energy production process of the sun by fusing hydrogen into helium, producing huge amounts of clean energy, with virtually no emissions or waste. The development would ultimately produce electricity for the national grid and could be instrumental in achieving Scotland’s netzero targets and a carbon neutral economy. Ian Ross, chair of the CNSRP, said: “This is a great opportunity for Caithness and North Sutherland. We already have significant expertise in highly regulated technically challenging developments. We also have an existing supply chain, a welcoming community and support from all CNSRP member organisations. “The fusion prototype development would dovetail perfectly with the decommissioning of Dounreay and complement our area’s

existing wind and tidal forms of renewable energy generation. “All of this and more means Caithness is ideally placed to host this development and make sure it delivers widespread long-term economic and community benefits, as well as wider progress towards the country’s net zero targets. “I am delighted we have made it to the next stage and look forward to working with the UKAEA on evaluating our bid.”

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Plans revealed for £46 million Borders grain distillery

The planning application is expected to be determined by the Scottish Borders Council in July Jackson Distillers has revealed plans to build the first grain distillery in the Scottish Borders. Proposals have been submitted for the St. Boswells Distillery, located at Charlesfield Industrial Estate. The plan is to produce 20 million litres of pure alcohol per year, meeting growing demand for grain whisky for Scotch Whisky blending and a grain neutral spirit for gin and vodka.

It will take local cereals from the Tweed valley and process them sustainably into spirit using renewable energy. Trevor Jackson, founder and chief executive of Jackson Distillers

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Jackson Distillers is working with Noble & Company to secure the £46m investment to enable construction - the first for the Scottish Borders and only the second of such facilities to be built in Scotland in the last 25 years. Trevor Jackson, founder and chief executive of Jackson Distillers, explained that the project will create 20 permanent jobs and a further 200 jobs through the construction stage. “The distillery will play its part in helping Scotland meet its climate change ambitions, sending zero waste to landfill with sustainability at the forefront of its production practices.” It will take local cereals from the Tweed valley and process them sustainably into spirit using renewable energy. The cereals

journey will be tracked from seedbed to still and beyond so that customers can be confident of the provenance of the spirit. The cereals, once spent, will be passed to the adjacent anaerobic digestion plant, where it will be converted into energy, with the remaining material (digestate) being used as soil conditioner for the crops. Process water will come from an on-site bore-hole and will be recycled to minimise the use of natural resources in production. Jackson Distillers is working with Michael Laird Architects, principal contractor Frilli, Colorado Group and environmental consultants Mabbett to deliver the project. The planning application is expected to be determined by the Scottish Borders Council in July.


Scottish Cashmere brand Kinalba launched by Sinclair Duncan Textiles Chamber member, Sinclair Duncan Textiles Ltd., the established Galashiels cashmere accessory manufacturer, has launched a new, premium cashmere brand, Kinalba.

and Japan, the Kinalba collection – which includes scarves, stoles and blankets – has been designed by renowned textile designer Alistair McDade, who joined the Sinclair Duncan team in January 2020.

Expertly crafted in the Scottish Borders, Kinalba aims to achieve a harmony between traditional textile techniques and contemporary fashion. It uses only the finest cashmere fibres and is committed to sustainability and traceability from source to recyclable packaging.

Sinclair Paterson, Founder and CEO, Sinclair Duncan Textiles Ltd., said: “The Scottish Borders has a proud history and reputation for producing some of the world’s most luxurious fabrics. Kinalba – which blends heritage, expertise, traditional skills and design innovation – represents the future of the industry, selling a modern Scotland to an international market.

It is also passionate about supporting the wider Scottish textile industry and reducing its carbon footprint by manufacturing its products locally. Focused on the domestic market, USA

It seeks to bring a dynamic and fresh dimension to luxury Scottish cashmere, with its emphasis on complementing personal styles and enabling individuality.

“Not only that, but Kinalba places sustainability at its heart, both in terms of recognising and addressing the environmental challenges we face, but

also to preserve the legacy of the Scottish Borders textile industry. We are proud of our history and heritage, but it’s important to focus on the future of the industry, working together to help it grow and prosper and to sustain an industry that has traditionally been – and we hope will be again – at the heart of the Scottish Borders economy.” Sinclair Duncan Textiles Ltd. was established in 2013 by Galashiels-based husband and wife team Sinclair and Debbie Paterson, who have over 30 years’ experience in the textile industry. The launch of Kinalba represents a significant move into the global textile market for the company, while at a local level, through its continued collaboration with Heriot-Watt School of Textiles & Design in Galashiels, it aims to inspire and educate students to support the future of the industry and enable it to thrive. For more information:

The Scottish Borders has a proud history and reputation for producing some of the world’s most luxurious fabrics. Kinalba – which blends heritage, expertise, traditional skills and design innovation – represents the future of the industry, selling a modern Scotland to an international market. Sinclair Paterson, Founder and CEO, Sinclair Duncan Textiles Ltd. Business Scotland



£8.4m Investment Gives Green Light For Ardgowan Distillery Ardgowan Distillery has announced work will begin this year on their new distillery which is being built on the Ardgowan Estate near Inverkip, 30 miles west of Glasgow. Work to commence on the distillery in Inverclyde later this year, with the first spirit in 2023. The scalable design aims at one million litres per annum in phase one. Cornerstone investor Roland Grain commits to ‘a lasting connection’ with the project. World-class distillery and visitor centre will create up to 30 new jobs in the first five years.

The company has confirmed an £8.4 million equity investment into the business. £7.2m of the new equity comes from Austrian investor Roland Grain and the balance from new and existing shareholders. The substantial new equity will allow Ardgowan to commence construction of their one million litres single malt distillery and visitor centre. The distillery is also in discussion with a loan provider that will provide additional debt funding for the flagship project in the coming weeks. Grain (47) is the founder, owner and CEO of IT company Grain GmbH which operates in 17 countries worldwide. He has a long track record of investment in distilleries. “My passion for whisky began as a teenager in Austria when I began to collect Scotch whisky and today I am thrilled to become the major shareholder in the Ardgowan Distillery.

“My wish is for this project to create a lasting connection to the community and produce the highest possible quality whisky and over time achieve the lowest possible CO2 footprint.” Grain says. “The company founders Martin McAdam, Alan Baker and I have a shared vision of what we can achieve. Already they have built a strong team around them – not least their chairman Willie Phillips and their whisky maker Max McFarlane – and together we will craft the finest quality single malt whisky based on the extraordinary location of the Ardgowan Estate and the unusual microclimate of the Inverkip area. “My hope is that the distillery will become a landmark building and a significant tourist attraction in the years ahead, and I very much look forward to seeing work commence this year,” Grain says. “Ardgowan Estate is less than an hour’s

My hope is that the distillery will become a landmark building and a significant tourist attraction in the years ahead, and I very much look forward to seeing work commence this year. Roland Grain

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Roland Grain

drive from Glasgow and in 2019 Greenock welcomed more than 100,000 cruise ship visitors, so I believe there is a great opportunity to capture this market with a first-class food, drink and retail tourist experience. We estimate the distillery and visitor centre will create up to 30 new jobs within five years,” Grain concludes. Grain has a highly successful record of investing in the spirits industry. He started with a small investment in the Cotswolds Distillery and continued with investments in Manly Spirits (Sydney, Australia), the East London Liquor Company and Potstill Spirits Trading – Austria´s largest whisky importer. Most recently he has become a 20 per cent shareholder in UK spirits business Distil Plc. Distillery CEO Martin McAdam said: “Roland Grain is a brilliant and passionate cornerstone investor who has global experience in investing in a whole range of spirits businesses. He is a genuine whisky enthusiast who has visited distilleries all over Scotland, and he has a clear vision for the project which is very much aligned with ours; based on place, provenance and people. “This is terrific news for the project and for Inverclyde. We have put a lot of the

uncertainty of Brexit behind us and we hope that Covid will also soon be a distant memory. “Over the past few years, we have used the time well to build up our team and craft some fantastic, blended malt whiskies, sourcing some of the finest casks from across Scotland. We are hugely proud of our Expedition and Clydebuilt whiskies which have won industry recognition and continue to gather a growing fanbase of customers,” McAdam concludes. Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce CEO, George McKay said: “This is fantastic and a welcome boost for both Ardgowan Distillery and Inverclyde’s tourism sector. On behalf of the Chamber Board and Members, we would like to wish Martin, Roland and the Ardgowan Distillery team every success with the development to create a world-class destination and products.” Local MSP Stuart McMillan commented: “I welcome this large investment in the Ardgowan Distillery project and my constituency. The Ardgowan Distillery will not only create 30 new jobs but will put Inverclyde on the global whisky map once again. This is an exciting project and I look forward to seeing the business grow, with

Inverclyde being found in many more homes and businesses across the world.” Sir Ludovic Shaw-Stewart the 12th Baronet at Ardgowan Estate also welcomed the news: “This project is an important contribution to the continuing re-development of Ardgowan Estate. Together Ardgowan House, Castle & Gardens and Ardgowan Distillery will create a compelling destination which can draw visitors from all around the world.” The first phase of the distillery will incorporate two copper stills and six washbacks, with a planned output of one million litres per annum. Future output can be doubled via the addition of two further stills plus washbacks in an already-approved second phase. The new distillery will resurrect the name of the Ardgowan Distillery, which was founded in 1896 and located in Baker Street, Greenock. After a few years of whisky production, the distillery was used to make grain spirit and industrial alcohol until it was destroyed in the May Blitz of 1941. For further details, visit

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Independent age reappoints Kura to provide remote support to older people A leading, UK-based outsourcing business has been reappointed to provide customer service on behalf of Independent Age. Kura, which is headquartered in Glasgow, has supplied Independent Age’s customer services since 2017. Independent Age is a national charity that tackles issues affecting older people, and the reappointment will see Kura continue to support Independent Age and the people who use their services.

Simon Hewett-Avison

Since the beginning of the partnership, Kura has handled 200,000 incoming calls and conducted a further 35,000 outbound calls, which are often made to carry out welfare checks on people in later life – these have proved particularly important during the pandemic – and to help volunteers complete disclosure forms. Kura’s team of Independent Age advisors has grown over the course of the contract, reflecting the importance of the service to those using it and demonstrating an increase in reliance on the ‘friendship service’, which helps support older people dealing with loneliness and isolation. Janine Hunt

Kura’s advisors have provided meaningful, important support to older people over the past four years and they are an important part of our team. Simon Hewett-Avison, Director of Services at Independent Age

Janine Hunt, Client Partnership Director at Kura, said: “We are delighted to extend our working relationship with Independent Age. At Kura, we are people focused, so our teams get genuine satisfaction from knowing that they are helping people every day. We have supported Independent Age’s development through effective practices and heartfelt communications, and I hope our team’s commitment and contribution will continue to make a difference to the lives of others.”

Business Scotland


Simon Hewett-Avison, Director of Services at Independent Age, said: “Kura’s advisors have provided meaningful, important support to older people over the past four years and they are an important part of our team. Our relationship with Kura has been incredibly collaborative, and we look forward to achieving new and exciting things in this next chapter!” During the partnership, Independent Age used Kura’s customer service software, Syntelate XA, which is an omnichannel platform that enables advisors to review

previous contact with callers to deliver a more personalised service. Kura has also explored and tailored its deliverables to hone its opening and closing of calls, communication style and tone, use of empathy, delivery of processes, topic knowledge and data protection, to help Independent Age reach and communicate with the people who access their services in the most appropriate ways. Kura will fulfil the contract from their Glasgow office.


On track with Scotrail as latest SCQF inclusive recruiter ScotRail is the most recent organisation to become an SCQF Inclusive Recruiter, committing to using SCQF levels in its recruitment processes. ScotRail provides nearly 100 million passenger journeys each year, with over 2,300 intercity, regional and suburban rail services a day, more than 340 stations, and just under 800 trains serving Scotland’s railway. The ScotRail network is vital to Scotland’s communities and to the country’s booming tourist industry. With over 5,000 employees based across Scotland, it is a large employer with a proud history. Launched in 2019, the aim of SCQF Inclusive Recruiter is to help employers and HR professionals understand that many different qualifications have the same worth, and to encourage use of SCQF levels in the recruitment process to offer clarity around skills and experience. By using SCQF levels rather than specific

qualifications in job adverts, employers large and small can widen the pool of potential applicants who may have a variety of qualifications, skills and experience at the required level. They can therefore recruit the right person with the right skills into the right job which is great for the organisation’s productivity and employee satisfaction. Neil Archibald, ScotRail Head of Strategic Workforce Planning, said: “This is a really progressive move by ScotRail as we continue to develop our methods of attracting the best candidates for vacancies. By adding SCQF levels into the recruitment mix, we are confident we will be able to identify skills and experiences that might previously have been ignored or overlooked. We believe this will be good

for applicants, for ScotRail and for the wider rail network, as we will all benefit from a more flexible and robust selection process.” Aileen Ponton, CEO of the SCQFP added: “The SCQF Partnership is delighted that ScotRail has become an Inclusive Recruiter. It is really heartening to see a major company recognise that using SCQF levels in recruitment, rather than stating specific qualifications, can open up a wider pool of talent for them and we will follow their progress with real interest to assess the impact it has on the workforce.” Want to find out more? Becoming an SCQF Inclusive Recruiter is free and simple! Visit or contact us at

This is a really progressive move by ScotRail as we continue to develop our methods of attracting the best candidates for vacancies. By adding SCQF levels into the recruitment mix, we are confident we will be able to identify skills and experiences that might previously have been ignored or overlooked. Neil Archibald, ScotRail Head of Strategic Workforce Planning

Business Scotland




Scottish Chambers of Commerce Strathclyde Business School, 199 Cathedral Street, Glasgow G4 0QU T: 0141 444 7500 E: President – Tim Allan Chief Executive - Liz Cameron OBE

Dumfries & Galloway Chamber of Commerce

Scottish Chambers of Commerce

Aberdeen & Grampian Chamber of Commerce The Hub, Exploration Drive Aberdeen Energy Park, Bridge of Don Aberdeen, AB23 8GX T: 01224 343900 E: Chief Executive - Russell Borthwick President - Bob Keiller Ayrshire Chamber of Commerce & Industry The Mezzanine, Glasgow Prestwick International Airport, Prestwick, KA9 2PL T: 01292 678 666 F: 01292 678 667 E: Chief Executive - Val Russell President - Frank Gormanley Cairngorms Business Partnership Ltd Inverdruie House, Inverdruie Aviemore, PH22 1QH T: 01479 810200 E: Chief Executive - Mark Tate Chair of the Partnership - Claire Bruce Caithness Chamber of Commerce Naver Business Centre Naver House, Naver Road Thurso, KW14 7QA T: 01847 890076 E: Chief Executive - Trudy Morris Chairman - Stephen Sutherland

Business Scotland


Eskdale House, The Crichton, Bankend Road Dumfries, DG1 4UQ T: 01387 270866 E: President – Kenny Bowie Dunbartonshire Chamber of Commerce Whitecrook Business Centre 78 Whitecrook Street, Clydebank, G81 1QF T: 0141 280 0272 E: Chief Executive - Damon Scott President - Stewart Rennie Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce 37 City Quay, Camperdown Street Dundee, DD1 3JA T: 01382 228545 F: 01382 228441 E: Chief Executive - Alison Henderson President - Steve Smith East Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce 1 Golf Road, Clarkston, East Renfrewshire G76 7HU T: 0141 887 6181 E: Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce 40 George Street, 2nd floor Edinburgh, EH2 2LE T: 0131 221 2999 F: 0131 261 5056 E: Chief Executive – Liz McAreavey President - Jane Clark-Hutchison

Fife Chamber of Commerce Office 7A, Flexspace, Mitchelston Drive Kirkcaldy, Fife KY1 3NB Fife, KY2 6HD T: 01592 647740 E: CEO – Alan Mitchell President – Brian Horisk Forth Valley Chamber of Commerce Group (incorporating Stirling Chamber of Commerce) Suite 2, Scion House Stirling University Innovation Park Stirling, FK9 4NF T: 01786 448 333 E: President Lynn Blaikie Glasgow Chamber of Commerce 30 George Square, Glasgow, G2 1EQ T: 0141 204 2121 E: Chief Executive Stuart Patrick President - Dr Paul Little Helensburgh Chamber of Commerce M&T Builders Merchants, 22 Charlotte Street, Helensburgh, Dunbartonshire, G84 7PH T: 07789904687 E: Chief Executive - John Clark Inverclyde Chamber of Commerce Room 5, Victoria House 5 East Blackhall Street, Greenock, PA15 1HD T: 01475 806824 E: Chief Executive Officer – George McKay President – Mark Spragg


Inverness Chamber of Commerce Metropolitan House 31-33 High Street, Inverness, IV1 1HT T: 01463 718 131 E: Chief Executive - Stewart Nicol President - George Moodie Lanarkshire Chamber of Commerce Barncluith Business Centre, Townhead St, Hamilton, ML3 7DP T: 0330 0947370 E: Director: Tracey Campbell-Hynd Lochaber Chamber of Commerce 15 High Street, Fort William, PH33 6DH T: 01397 705 765 E: Chairman - Bruno Berardelli Chief Executive - Frazer Coupland Midlothian & East Lothian Chamber of Commerce Moulsdale House, Edinburgh College 24d Milton Road East, Edinburgh, EH15 2PP T: 0131 603 5040 E: Chief Executive - Karen Ritchie Moray Chamber of Commerce Moray Sports Centre, Linkwood Road, Elgin, Moray, Scotland, IV30 8AR T: 01343 543344 E: Chief Executive - Sarah Medcraf President Carol Stewart

Outer Hebrides Chamber of Commerce Stornoway Business Hub, Stornoway, HS1 2XG, Isle of Lewis T: 07939 450 276 E: Chief Executive - Lynne Maciver Chair - John Moffat Perthshire Chamber of Commerce Saltire House, 3 Whitefriars Crescent Perth, PH2 0PA T: 01738 448 325 F: 01738 450 402 E: Chief Executive - Vicki Unite President - Stephen Leckie Renfrewshire Chamber of Commerce Bute Court, St Andrews Drive Glasgow Airport, Paisley, PA3 2SW T: 0141 847 5450 F: 0141 847 5499 E: Chief Executive – Bob Grant President – Liz Connolly

Scottish Chambers of Commerce Strathclyde Business School 199 Cathedral Street, Glasgow, G4 0QU T: 0141 444 7500 @ScotChambers Like us on Facebook Siobhan Divers Head of Content T: 0141 444 7509 E:

Production, Design & Advertising Distinctive Group 3rd Floor, Tru Knit House, 9-11 Carliol Square Newcastle Upon Tyne NE1 6UF Telephone 0191 5805990 This publication is also available as an ebook at:

Scottish Borders Chamber of Commerce 27 North Bridge Street, Hawick, TD9 9BD T: 07771 865 758 E: Chief Executive – Emily McGowan Chair – Lee-Anne Gillie West Lothian Chamber of Commerce Systems House, Alba Centre, Alba Business Park, Rosebank, Livingston, EH54 7EG T: 01506 414808 E: Chief Executive - Charles Wardman President - Billy MacLeod


Distinctive Publishing or Scottish Chambers of Commerce cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracies that may occur, individual products or services advertised or late entries. No part of this publication may be reproduced or scanned without prior written permission of the publishers and Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

Business Scotland



Taking the next crucial step forward The continued delay to office re-opening is having consequences on businesses and their employees alike, not only for those workers and businesses affected who desperately want and need clarity on when they can return to their places of work in a meaningful way, but also for those city centre businesses which rely on office workers’ footfall to survive.

By Dr Liz Cameron OBE

Chief Executive of the Scottish Chambers of Commerce

We have been providing real-time feedback to the Scottish Government to support the safe re-opening of offices and the phased return of employees as soon as possible. However, we have significant concerns that guidance as it stands, lacks the clarity that many businesses are seeking to allow staff back into the workplace. This lack of direction and plan for the return of office-based businesses in the longer term will only delay Scotland’s economic recovery and delay our ability to look beyond level zero. August 9th has been set by the Scottish Government as the indicative date for the end of all legal restrictions. However, the government has indicated that some baseline measures will likely be kept in place beyond that date. Businesses cannot afford a false start when it comes to re-opening. Ambiguity over lockdown extensions and end dates makes it harder for businesses to plan and to build back their client and customer base.

Business Scotland


Home working has acted as an important mechanism to reduce the spread of the virus, but after 16 months of lockdowns, supporting and prioritising the mental health of employees has never been more important, and allowing a return to officebased working is an important stepping stone towards normality. Those businesses who have faced restrictions for the longest time, those hit hardest by physical distancing and working from home regulations, feel neglected and simply want details on why some sectors of our economy remain closed entirely or facing restrictions for longer than may be necessary. We have written to the First Minister to stress that this situation cannot continue for the office-based businesses that urgently need clear and supportive guidance to enable them to reopen efficiently and safely and welcome back team members. Businesses fully accept the need to protect public health. We have invested millions in making our premises safe for customers and staff and have spent countless months rigorously complying with government guidance. Given the success of the vaccination rollout, lower hospitalisation rates and lower death rates, it is clear we are making

good progress back towards the near full re-opening of Scotland’s economy. Because of this, we should see an equitable weighting given to the views of the business community. Any updates to guidance and legislation in the coming weeks must reflect the current situation and the views of Scotland’s job creators. As we move to level zero, government should allow those who have been diligently home working to finally have the option to be able to return to their places of work. Another key aspect of the return to normality will be the ability to carry out business travel domestically. Any restrictions on this, whilst travel for other purposes is allowed, will result in frustration and confusion. We need to see consistency across all guidance and which won’t tie one hand behind our back whilst we try to recover from the pandemic. Office re-opening is a crucial step forward for businesses in Scotland, particularly with its interdependency link to other sectors in the economy. It is imperative that Government understands the strength of feeling in the business community and works with us to ensure that officebased businesses and employees are not left behind as we come out of lockdown restrictions.

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40 organisations have received the Employer Recognition Scheme Gold Award for their outstanding support towards the Armed Forces community, Defence Minister Leo Docherty has announced.

Representing the highest badge of honour, Employer Recognition Scheme (ERS) Gold Awards are awarded to those that employ and support those who serve, veterans and their families. This year’s awardees bring the total number of Gold holders to 493. Minister for Defence People and Veterans, Leo Docherty said: “I would like to thank all the organisations who have proven their support for the Defence community during such unprecedented and challenging times. “The vast range of those recognised this year demonstrates how employing the Armed Forces community makes a truly positive and beneficial impact for all employers, regardless of size, sector or location.” To win an award, organisations must provide 10 extra paid days leave for Reservists and have supportive HR policies in place for veterans, Reserves, and Cadet Force Adult Volunteers, as well as spouses and partners of those serving in the Armed Forces. Organisations must also advocate the benefits of supporting those within the Armed Forces community by encouraging others to sign the Armed Forces Covenant and engage in the Employer Recognition Scheme. This year, nearly 50 per cent of organisations are a small or medium-sized enterprise and 72 per cent are private companies, demonstrating the wide range of support offered to the military community regardless of size, sector or location. Recipients in the Highland RFCA-area (including two Gold holders who had existing awards revalidated) were: Dundee City Council (revalidation) Fife Chamber of Commerce Highland Council Horizon Security Solutions Ltd McLeod Glaziers Perth & Kinross Council Scottish Ambulance Service (revalidation)

Fife Chamber of Commerce Chief Executive, Alan Mitchell said: “Everyone at Fife Chamber is delighted and humbled to receive this ERS Gold Award. We advocate for our Armed Forces and connect the Highland RFCA team with local employers because it is the right thing to do and because we believe we should acknowledge and be grateful for what our country’s service men and women do for us every day. It feels great to have our efforts recognised and we will display our Gold Award with pride.” Highland Council’s Armed Forces and Veterans’ Champion, Councillor Roddy Balfour said: “It is a great honour for Highland Council to have received the ERS Gold Award for supporting the Armed Forces community in our area, especially during these difficult times of the pandemic. The continued support to Armed Forces personnel past and present and their families is vital to the wellbeing of our whole community. This is tremendous news, reflecting on the excellent work that staff in Highland Council have carried out with colleagues in Highland and Moray and in the Military Liaison Group.” To find out how you can support the Armed Forces, contact Highland Reserve Forces’ and Cadets’ Association’s Regional Employer Engagement Directors. Contact Roy McLellan by email: Contact Ray Watt by email:

Proudly supporting those who serve.

Profile for Distinctive Publishing

Business Scotland 23  

Business Scotland is the media publication for the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

Business Scotland 23  

Business Scotland is the media publication for the Scottish Chambers of Commerce.

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