Countdown to 2020

December 7, 2016

The Crichton Report

Crichton Carbon Centre – Sustainable Process Improvement (SPI) Programme

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:

  • Reduction in carbon emissions by a range of 0.76 to 1.14 ktCO2e versus a target of 1.5 ktCO2e per year
  • Reduction in business costs by £290k to £435k in the same year period (the same sensitivity analysis applied) compared with a target of £20,000 for the 3–year duration.

In terms of the economic impact validated by EKOS, the programme was notably successful in:

  • Creating 5 FTE posts in the SPI project team
  • Creating 4 FTE and 2 PTE posts, safeguarded 1 FTE and increased turnover by between £19–£24k per year by the end of the Programme amongst participating businesses
  • Anticipated creation of 4 FTEs and 1 PTE, safeguarding 3 FTEs and 20 PTEs and increase turnover by £20k per year in the three years following the programme (2015–18) among participating businesses

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.

Key learning points

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:

  • Baseline sources should be clearly defined at the start of the programme and should be limited to central factors for carbon footprints, such as electricity, heating fuels, transport and waste. This will facilitate continued data monitoring by the business and make year on year comparisons consistent and reliable.
  • The initial stages of the intervention (baselining and preparation of recommendations) should be done as succinctly, and quickly, as possible, to afford time to support the implementation of actions.
  • Direct intervention should use real-life cost savings and be augmented with benchmarking in order to engage participants on real business issues.