A new demonstrator initiative, Step Up to Net Zero, has been launched to provide Glasgow businesses with bespoke support to reach their net zero ambitions and adopt circular business principles. This pioneering project, launching just before the anniversary of COP26, will create forty fully funded work placements across Glasgow, providing a hands-on resource focused on progressing the business’ own net zero ambitions.

Step Up to Net Zero is delivered by Circular Glasgow, an initiative of Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with Glasgow City Council, and is specifically designed to help meet the city’s net zero and circular economy targets while providing employability support for Glasgow’s workforce.

Selected businesses will complete an assessment to understand its current environmental practices. Based on the business’ circular, net zero and waste management opportunities, a bespoke Action Plan will be developed containing targeted recommendations towards improving its circular practices. The work placement candidate will oversee the plan’s implementation for four months, working hand in hand with the business to drive the Action Plan forward.

The project will help businesses combat knowledge and skills gaps through access to expert circular, sustainability and decarbonisation support, empowering employees with knowledge that’s essential for businesses to adapt to the city’s net-zero targets.

This 12-month pilot project will deliver opportunities to provide upskilling and reskilling to the workforce, targeting recent graduates, individuals seeking a career change, as well as those already in work and looking to be reskilled on the net zero and circular economy agenda. The real industry insights gained from the placement along with net zero training and mentoring will support the participants to move further towards meaningful employment.

Linked to the Glasgow Green Deal mission launched during COP26, the programme has been designed to demonstrate ways the city can meet the challenge of building a sustainable, circular economy in the face of the climate emergency.

Glasgow’s wider business base will also benefit from the data and insights captured by the project which will be shared to inform and inspire peers.

Applications for Glasgow based businesses to apply will open in October with more information provided here: https://www.circularglasgow.com/step-up-to-net-zero/.

Councillor Susan Aitken, Leader of Glasgow City Council, said; “Glasgow’s business base, our SMEs, are the lifeblood of the city economy. They are also critical partners on our shared journey to net Zero. But as the world changes rapidly and businesses respond to many overlapping challenges, organisations like the City Council and Chamber of Commerce must stand ready to help employers make transition possible.

“Step Up To Net Zero is a great example of the targeted support which assists businesses in understanding what carbon neutrality means to them. Glasgow’s circular economy ambitions are at the heart of our shared ambitions for the city and have been business-led from the outset. It’s fitting that the mentoring and training on circular practices are central to Step Up To Net Zero.”

Alison McRae, senior director at Glasgow Chamber of Commerce, which hosts Circular Glasgow, said: “Whether your business is just beginning its net zero journey or has already begun to implement circular and sustainable practices, funded resources such as work placements are an invaluable tool to drive progress toward climate targets in a really practical way. 

“Step Up to Net Zero allows those who are seeking a career change; recent graduates and those returning to the work environment, to gain experience and be upskilled or reskilled on circular economy and net zero principles, preparing them for further employment in this sphere.

“The net zero transition offers a significant opportunity to develop our future economy and, given Glasgow’s target to become net zero carbon by 2030 and circular by 2045, businesses will play a key part in meeting this goal. Step Up to Net Zero offers the chance for businesses to adapt, innovate and kickstart their journey and it is terrific to see it being launched just before the anniversary of COP26.”