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Supporting clients, contractors and the supply chain in Scotland to deliver more sustainable projects; reduce carbon and waste, create social value and improve wellbeing.

Creating a sustainable built environment in Scotland

The Supply Chain Sustainability School in Scotland provides the skills and knowledge to transform the industry and generate better outcomes for companies, their staff, customers, stakeholders and the wider community.

The School supports the Scottish Construction Accord’s vision of a sustainable, profitable, diverse and innovative built environment sector.

Through its action-oriented approach and a blend of specific learning resources and training sessions responding to market priorities, we are helping to deliver Scotland’s just transition to net zero.

We are guided by our Leadership Group of major contractors, utilities, clients, manufacturers and key service providers. These Partners collaborate to engage the supply chain and provide free access to the latest learning to build individual knowledge and business capability.

Upcoming training for the sector in Scotland

View our events page for opportunities to upskill through our free training opportunities in the form of workshops, webinars and virtual conferences.

See all events 

“The School is an excellent source of knowledge that will enable construction suppliers from across Scotland to better understand the sustainability needs of main contractors and help us to deliver the social and environmental requirements of our clients.”
Martin Dick, Group Procurement, Supply Chain & Sustainability Director, Robertson Group

The value of the School in Scotland

Our Scottish Partners talk about why they joined the Supply Chain Sustainability School and the impact that the School has had on their business in Scotland.

The value of the School in Scotland

What is different about sustainability in Scotland?

The School has developed specific resources to understand and address the sustainability priorities of the built environment in Scotland. There are some major differences in policy and legislation. Find out more below.

The conservation and enhancement of Scotland’s natural heritage is the responsibility of NatureScot, the public body who oversee the development and management of protected sites, species and scenic areas. Scotland has some of the wildest areas of the UK and is home to some unique and charismatic species such as red squirrel, beaver, osprey and wildcat. Around 20% of Scotland’s total area has a designation of some form. The Supply Chain School is working with NatureScot to communicate out some of the resources they have developed for organisations working in Scotland.

Scottish biodiversity policy is underpinned by the Scottish Biodiversity Strategy. NatureScot’s corporate aims support biodiversity action, climate change mitigation and adaptation strategies, and wider natural heritage protection and enhancement in Scotland. Our emphasis is on connecting people and nature, bringing progress to many Government priorities for a green recovery.

The Supporting Good Development team within NatureScot offer practical support for sustainable growth in Scotland by advising on the effects of plans, policies and development proposals on our natural heritage. We believe that engaging early on a proposal, before key decisions are made, delivers the best outcomes for people and nature. We have a statutory role in environmental assessment and we help others in their roles by sharing data, guidance and advice. Environmental assessment covers all statutory processes to identify, assess and mitigate impacts on the environment.

In Scotland, ministers are responsible for making building standards (equivalent to the building regulations in England) and the associated technical guidance documents. The Building (Scotland) Act 2003 grants this power.

The 32 Scottish Local Authorities act as verifiers administering the building standards system, granting permissions (building warrants) and completion certificates.

The Scottish Government Building Standards Division monitor the local authorities. The main purpose of the standards is to ensure that buildings are safe, efficient and sustainable. They do not control the building process, but outline the essential standards that are to be met during building works or conversions.

Building Standards policy actions cover:

  • Building regulations

  • Cladding

  • Building approval

  • Implementing European requirements

  • Monitoring performance

  • Improving the building stock

  • Workforce strategy

The Circular Economy (Scotland) Bill was introduced by Scottish Govt on 13 June 2023. This Bill requires Scottish Ministers to introduce measures to help develop a circular economy. This includes:

  • Publishing a circular economy strategy

  • Developing circular economy targets

  • Reducing waste

  • Increasing penalties for littering from vehicles

  • Making sure individual householders and businesses get rid of waste in the right way

  • Improving waste monitoring

The Circular Economy and Waste Route Map sets out strategic direction for delivering the Scottish Government’s system-wide, comprehensive vision for a circular economy from now until 2030. Building on a first consultation in 2022, the Government is now consulting on key priority actions that will unlock progress across the waste hierarchy.

Scotland plans to reach net zero by 2045. It is one of the first countries to set this ambitious target and have the drive, resources and passion to achieve it. The Scottish Government aims to do this in a way that's fair and inclusive to everyone in society, making sure no one is left behind - this is known as a 'just transition'.

A Climate Change (Emissions Reduction Targets) Bill is being considered by the Scottish Government in 2024. This Bill will make changes to the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009. It changes the target for reducing all "greenhouse gas emissions" to 100% by 2045. The target is currently 80%.

The proposed law explains how:

  • Annual targets will be set;

  • A target of 100% reduction in emissions will be set in the future;

  • Progress towards meeting targets will be monitored and reported.

The Bill was created as the Scottish Government wants to make the current legislation on climate change tougher.

This will help:

  • Limit temperature increases and the negative impacts they have;

  • Make sure that businesses and industries start using low-carbon technologies;

  • Make sure that businesses and industries work in a way that reduces carbon emissions.

Community benefit clauses provide a means of achieving sustainability in public contracts. They include targeted recruitment and training, small business and social enterprise development and community engagement. The Public Procurement Reform Programme delivers value that goes beyond savings and benefits – improving supplier access to public contracts, particularly for SMEs; maximising efficiency and collaboration; and placing the local, social and economic aspects of sustainability at the heart of the purchasing process.

Trafficking human beings is an appalling abuse of human rights.  The Human Trafficking and Exploitation Act (Scotland) 2015 clarified, strengthened and brought together the existing laws on human trafficking to compliment that the Modern Slavery Act 2015 improved support and protection for victims, helped law enforcement target perpetrators and made sure those involved can be punished. The Act covers England and Wales, but some parts apply in Scotland and Northern Ireland.  Trafficking can involve victims being sexually exploited or forced into the role of a servant, or trapped in forced labour, with nail bars, car washes and construction amongst the industries where potential cases in Scotland have been reported.

Police Scotland subscribe to the Scottish Government's Trafficking and Exploitation Strategy.

Police Scotland works together with the Scottish Government and partners in the public, private and third sectors in the UK and Internationally to prevent human trafficking and exploitation.

The Procurement Reform (Scotland) Act 2014 builds on the work of Public Procurement in Scotland. It establishes laws about sustainable public procurement to maximise the social, environmental and economic benefits through effective and efficient procurement activity. Smart use of procurement can play a key role in promoting jobs and growth, encouraging innovation, boosting training and apprenticeship opportunities and helping small and medium enterprises (SME’s) third sector organisations and supported businesses to compete effectively for contracts.

Sustainable procurement duty

Sustainable public procurement is underpinned by the National Performance Framework and Scotland's Economic Strategy.

The sustainable procurement duty requires that before a contracting authority buys anything, it must think about how it can improve the social, environmental and economic wellbeing of the area in which it operates, with a particular focus on reducing inequality.

It also requires a contracting authority to consider how its procurement processes can facilitate the involvement of SMEs, third sector bodies and supported businesses, and how public procurement can be used to promote innovation.

Sustainable procurement support and guidance

Guidance has been published to help public bodies comply with the sustainable procurement duty and support sustainable procurement, including statutory guidance on the sustainable procurement duty (chapter 3).

A series of sustainable procurement supporting guides are also available to help public sector organisations embed sustainability into their procurement processes.

The Real Living Wage in Scotland is currently £12.00 per hour (for adults aged over 18) and is based on cost of living. This is different from the National Living Wage which is £10.42 per hour for those aged 23 and over (October 2023). Over 470,000 people in Scotland don't earn the real Living Wage. 250,000 children in Scotland live in poverty despite having one person in their household in work.  In-work poverty remains a problem. Just over 10% of workers in Scotland are locked in persistent low pay, i.e. they are paid below the real Living Wage - 72% of them are women. Josepth Rowntree Foundation's 2023 report highlights key industries affected here.

The 2006 Town and Country Planning (Scotland) Act brought about the most significant modernisation of the planning system in Scotland in over 60 years.  Scottish Planning Policy (SPP) aims to increase sustainable economic growth, which is the main purpose of the Scottish Government. This means that the planning system should help build a growing economy, but at the same time protect our environment for future generations and make sure that communities can enjoy a better quality of life.  National and local planning policies now include community benefits as a material consideration in the determination of planning applications for renewable energy development. These benefits might include improve infrastructure, job creation and community or shared ownership schemes.

What are the key sustainability topics in Scotland?

The School has worked with our Partners to select a range of training resources for each level of learning as a recommended starting point for learners who are new to the School or who wish to refresh their knowledge on these five major issues:

Biodiversity and Ecology
Biodiversity and Ecology
Biodiversity and Ecology

Waste and Resource Efficiency

Waste and Resource Efficiency
Waste and Resource Efficiency
Waste and Resource Efficiency
Waste and Resource Efficiency
Waste and Resource Efficiency
Waste and Resource Efficiency
Waste and Resource Efficiency
Waste and Resource Efficiency
Waste and Resource Efficiency
Waste and Resource Efficiency
Energy and Carbon
Energy and Carbon
Energy and Carbon
Energy and Carbon
Energy and Carbon
Energy and Carbon
Energy and Carbon
Energy and Carbon
Energy and Carbon


Decarbonising Steel: Shaping a Cleaner, Greener Industry – Virtual Conference Recording


Leading steel industry experts consider how to reduce carbon emissions through technology and innovation. 

Duration 120 minutes

Fairness, Inclusion & Respect

Modern Slavery
Human Rights
Employment Conditions
Employment Conditions
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