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Leading the way for a better planet

Posted: January 14, 2020

Environmental issues have never been as ingrained into the national and global consciousness as they are right now, and Scotland is leading the way in instigating and inspiring real change in how we tackle climate change.

Climate change conference

Scotland will host the United Nation’s 26th climate change conference in 2020, with world leaders coming together to discuss the planet’s ecological predicament and up to 30,000 delegates are expected to attend the event at Glasgow’s Scottish Events Campus (SEC).

Commenting on the announcement of the host city, Claire Perry, UK nominated president for COP26, said: “Where better to do so than Glasgow, one of the UK’s most sustainable cities.”

According to Roseanna Cunningham, the Scottish government’s Climate Change Secretary, the decision to host the event was the right one “given our leadership on climate action.”

“Scotland was one of the first countries in the world to acknowledge the global climate emergency,” she said. “The Scottish government has introduced the toughest targets in the UK to ensure our action matches the scale of our climate ambitions.”

100% clean energy

It looks like those ambitions are bearing fruit.

A recent report published by Scottish Renewables highlighted that approximately three quarters of all energy generated in Scotland comes from renewables such as wind, solar and hydropower. It also predicts that we will soon be able to meet the equivalent of 100 percent of our electricity needs from clean energy sources.

Claire Mack, Chief Executive of Scottish Renewables, said: “I’m hugely proud that renewable energy projects across Scotland are delivering on jobs for communities, particularly in rural areas, while helping to displace the carbon emissions which cause climate change.”

Scotland is also leading the way in the use of solar panels for new-build homes.

Chris Hewlett, Chief Executive of the Solar Trade Association, recently commented: “Anecdotal evidence from our Scotland members suggests four in five new build properties are developed with solar fitted.”

He also called for the housing industry south of the border to catch up.

Political climate change

While these measures and achievements are very promising, much more needs to be done – and the electorate is starting to demand it. With another general election quickly approaching, a recent YouGov poll showed that 27 percent of voters cited the environment as one of the top three issues – with only Brexit and health above it.

This figure is much higher than it has ever been in the past and is particularly important to younger voters, with 45 percent of 18-24-year-olds making it their second biggest concern.

This shift in priority has been reflected in the campaigning that has taken place so far, with politicians making green pledges and promises, and even calling for a live TV debate dedicated to climate change.

Zero carbon target

In June 2019, the UK passed laws to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050. This means that councils have stringent targets to meet in order to instigate the necessary changes required, particularly when it comes to housing.

Recycling is a key factor in how vital changes can be made to help reach this 2050 goal. As the construction industry is the second largest consumer of plastic in the UK, it’s vital for Housing Associations and Local Authorities to work with companies who have a strong commitment to sustainability.

Part of the solution

Making the environment a priority is nothing new to us at Sidey. As Scotland’s strongest fenestration company, we take our green responsibilities very seriously, for the benefit of our staff, customers, local communities and the planet in general.

The range of windows, doors and conservatory products that we manufacture have been designed to achieve impressive levels of thermal efficiency, cutting down on energy waste and reducing the carbon footprint of properties.

We were we one of the first window and door manufacturers in Britain to gain ISO EMS 14001 accreditation and also one of the first to achieve the latest EMS 14001-2015 certification, the highest environmental standard available in the UK.

Hitting environmental targets

In 2008, we set two big targets. The first was to send zero waste to landfill and the second was to attain 100 percent recycling from our manufacturing waste – we gave ourselves 10 years to achieve this.

After a lot of hard work and total commitment to these goals, we hit both targets in 2015 – three years early – and have maintained them ever since.

We also recycle everything we possibly can from the old windows and doors that we bring back from installations – and this equates to an impressive 99.3 percent.

Working together to achieve success

It’s important to partner with associations and provide them with a holistic approach to help them achieve their environmental targets. We understand the needs of our clients, local authorities, housing associations, RSLs, developers and specifiers to increase their commitments and we offer measured and verified data for them to use.

By working together, we can all do our bit to help stop climate change. In the words of Sir David Attenborough: “It’s surely our responsibility to do everything within our power to create a planet that provides a home not just for us, but for all life on earth.”