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Net zero and Nature Broking

Posted: 18th January 2024

The City of Edinburgh Council has set the bold and admirable target of Edinburgh becoming “a net zero” city by 2030. On its website the Council states:

“Our 2030 target recognises the need for Edinburgh to play its part in helping to deliver on national goals to reduce emission. And that cities will need to make faster progress on reducing greenhouse gas emissions if Scotland is to meet its national 2045 net zero target”.

As often with matters like this, it isn’t so much the “what” that is being sought but the “how” it is going to be achieved. Delivering “net zero” mustn’t become a numbers game where companies and institutions, having done their bit to reduce their own emissions, simply find carbon credits in some obscure market, often overseas, with greenwashing accusations difficult to refute.

If Scotland is going to become a net zero country by 2045 much of the solution may well rest with the way our land is managed and farmed. Reducing carbon emissions is not the only way to hit the target. Nature-friendly farming, restoring peatland, planting hedgerows and allowing native trees to flourish should all be part of a joined-up strategy to achieve net zero status by improving the state of our depleted biodiversity.

At the moment it is comparatively easy to establish one’s carbon footprint and offset it but in the near future that offset could easily come in the form of paying a farmer or landowner to help them manage their land in a more nature friendly way. Improved biodiversity will become as measurable as carbon from an offsetting perspective and the team at Nature Broking (who have recently joined the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce) are keen to help companies look to a long-term nature-based, carbon-reducing solution.

There are many Scottish farmers in particular who are eager to farm in a more nature friendly way but simply can’t afford to because the distribution of subsidies in a post-Brexit world remains unclear. If the corporate world was able to provide the finance for these farmers’ aspirations then those corporations would immediately be doing the right thing from an environmental perspective but also, over time, from a net zero perspective in order to achieve what the nation has demanded by 2045. In other words a “win,win” situation.

Nature Broking is a new venture which joins up companies seeking to enhance their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) agenda with farmers who have nature friendly projects that they want to implement. All projects for interested Edinburgh-located companies would be based in Scotland and a long-term, hands-on relationship between company and farmer would be developed. Nature Broking can also offer premium UK-based carbon credits on established projects.

Edinburgh is a beacon for the nation in its net zero goals. There are so many ways of being part of the efforts to get there. Nature Broking wants to be at the heart of it all.

Nigel Roberts, Advisor to Nature Broking Ltd

Business Comment

Business Comment is the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce’s bi-monthly magazine. It provides insight on Edinburgh’s vibrant business community, with features on the city’s key sectors, interviews with leading figures and news on new business developments in the capital.
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