The Scotland Food & Drink Partnership Net Zero Programme is providing practical support to the Scottish food and drink industry on its journey to net zero. 

Frequently asked questions

Why has the Net Zero Commitment programme been established?

The Scotland Food & Drink Partnership announced its Net Zero Commitment in November 2021 at COP26.

It details the partnership’s commitment to meeting the Scottish Government’s net zero targets by 2045.

It also confirmed that the Net Zero Commitment programme would deliver targeted interventions to help the industry collectively meet targets.

The programme - hosted by Food and Drink Federation Scotland - is here to provide leadership and guidance to food and drink businesses, wherever they are on their journey, to accelerate them towards Net Zero.

What is Net Zero?

Net Zero is reached when the volume of carbon emissions produced is no more than the amount that is removed from the atmosphere through positive action.

Why is action needed?

The impacts of climate change are being felt around the world, and will be particularly impactful to the food and drink industry, so urgent, collective and individual action is needed to carbon emissions to meet Scotland’s Net Zero target. A drastic change of pace is needed – we need to do more, faster.

What business benefits are there by taking action?

Reducing emissions brings multiple commercial benefits from financial savings to new market opportunities - it is vital to ensure the long-term economic sustainability of the sector and for individual businesses. Acting now also means businesses are well-prepared ahead of inevitable mandatory regulation on emissions.

Scotland’s impact on the environment is tiny compared to other nations, why should we act?

Scotland has great potential to be a world leader in the production of more sustainable food and drink. This potential, to produce more, better, is an opportunity to be grasped.

What have been the biggest achievements from COP26 in Glasgow – specifically for the food and drink industry? 

One of the biggest achievements is that, despite all these challenges, the industry is willing to accept that it must play a role in Scotland’s journey to Net Zero.

The latest Scotland Food & Drink Partnership strategy launched in Jun 2023 has Net Zero and the Environment as one of its seven programmes – demonstrating the industry’s commitment to net zero.

How much does Scotland’s food and drink sector contribute to Scotland’s overall carbon emissions?

It’s very difficult to put a figure on this with any degree of certainty, which is why the Net Zero Commitment programme is building a picture of emissions in the sector to help prioritise where we focus our efforts in emissions reduction. But estimates put the figure at around 20% of Scotland’s emissions coming from the food and drink supply chain.

Does the Scottish Government see food and drink playing a key role in net zero – when compared with infrastructure, transport, and other sectors?

Yes, there has been significant support from Scottish Government, via enterprise agencies and other bodies, for businesses to reduce emissions. There has also been targeted support such as food waste reduction support, as well as grants and loans.

What role will technology have in assisting reaching the Net Zero goal?

Getting the basics right is the best starting point and can be very effective in reducing emissions. Sometimes the simplest interventions, like replacing parts like door seals on fridges and ovens, monitoring processes, maintenance and so on, can result in big changes.

Established technologies for renewable energy, transportation, etc also have an important role to play.

Technological innovation will undoubtedly have a role to play as we progress towards net zero. However, a combination of easy-to-implement measures alongside more sophisticated technology will be required.

Net Zero Response Programme