In 2011, the 2020 Climate Group part sponsored the Sustainable Process Improvement programme for resource efficiency in SMEs from 2012–15. The SPI programme was a business resource efficiency programme funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) from 2012 to 2015. The programme was born partly in response to the lack of greenhouse gas emissions data and analysis in Scotland’s SME sector (which comprises the majority of Scotland’s businesses) identified in the Report for Policies and Procedures (RPP2) (Scottish Government, 2012) arising from the Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 (Scottish Government, 2009). It aimed to provide a means to measuring and tackling that lack of data and analysis.
The programme further aimed to work with SMEs to reduce their emissions and overheating costs while at the same time helping business become more ‘green’ and thus more marketable. The key successes of the programme were:
In terms of the economic impact validated by EKOS, the programme was notably successful in:
An important finding of the evaluation was the suggestion to direct participants towards the optimum business type in the Parker Model of sustainable businesses – contributing to the number of business who gain advantage by having environmental and profit making objectives aligned. The Programme was split in two streams, Awareness Raising/Education streams and a Direct Business Assist stream. The Awareness Raising stream aimed to educate and raise awareness more generally on business resource efficiency while the Direct Assist stream was on engaging businesses in emissions reduction.
A key result of the programme was the successful enrolment of 94 businesses in Direct Business Assist, 88 of which progressed to the recommendation and implementation stage leading to 427 resource efficiency measures being implemented. Another key result was business cost reductions of approximately £290k to £435k over the year duration of the programme. The Awareness Raising programme successfully delivered 18 resource efficiency events across the target local authorities areas and distributed key information on resource efficiency to 11,000 SMEs in the targeted area.
The programme was one of the first of its kind for business resource efficiency in Scotland, and as such has key learnings that can be applied to present and future campaigns. These include: