New Edinburgh initiative to help SMEs go circular
A new initiative to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in Edinburgh identify and maximise circular economy opportunities has been launched today (11 May) in a joint endeavour by Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS) and the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce.
The Scottish capital is one of four Scottish regions selected in 2018 to receive free support and project funding for local businesses. A range of activities to help identify opportunities for local businesses and direct them towards available support and funding will be delivered through the Chambers of Commerce in each region. The initiative is backed by the Scottish Government and the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).
A circular economy is one in which we eradicate waste by keeping resources and products in use for as long as possible. According to ZWS: ‘It offers opportunities to Scottish business to develop new products and services which promote repeated use, not single-use, for example: leasing, repair, or take-back services, or designing new products from another industry’s ‘waste’ through effective collaboration.’
Commenting on the launch, Iain Gulland, Chief Executive of ZWS, said: “I’m delighted today to announce Zero Waste Scotland is joining forces with the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce to launch Circular Edinburgh, an ambitious initiative to unlock the potential for SMEs in the region, by thinking innovatively about business models.
“Circular Edinburgh is a terrific opportunity to help local businesses in making the transition to a circular economy, that has the potential to create jobs, support sustainable business models and help the environment and the economy. Across Scotland, a circular economy could generate £3 billion of annual benefits.
“Scotland is at the cutting edge of developing a more circular economy, and was recently chosen to host the Circular Economy Hotspot, a major international trade mission, taking place later this year. Businesses are already capitalising on the vast benefits of being circular and, through new business models, are finding untapped opportunities for innovation and increased profitability, whilst addressing the issue of resource pressures.”
Liz McAreavey, Chief Executive of the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce, added: “The circular economy will provide business with tremendous opportunities, in creating efficiencies, reducing waste, and in creating new products, services, wealth and jobs.
“The Chamber is delighted to be working with Zero Waste Scotland on a project to engage the Capital’s business community with these opportunities, and making a big contribution to future growth and sustainability.”
The Scottish Government has been forging ahead with plans to move Scotland towards a circular economy, launching its circular economy strategy, ‘Making Things Last’, back in 2016, which spawned the creation of the £73-million Resource Efficient Circular Economy Accelerator Programme.
The Programme aims to improve the economic performance of SMEs while at the same time reducing the impact of economic activity on the natural environment, supporting Scottish Government and EU policies, and drawing on funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). £27 million from the Programme will be invested in circular economy projects in Scotland until December 2019.
The new Circular Edinburgh initiative will be supported by the Programme and complements ZWS’s nationwide support for SMEs to develop circular economy business ideas, including its £18-million Circular Economy Investment Fund, to which SMEs are encouraged to apply for funding of between £50,000 and £1 million, and Circular Economy Business Support Service.
For more information about Circular Edinburgh, please visit the Edinburgh Chamber of Commerce website.