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by Keith Masson, HIE
14 September 2022
Associate Feature: How to make the most of a crisis

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Associate Feature: How to make the most of a crisis

The Highlands and Islands is recognised for its exceptional renewable energy sources, on land and at sea, and with a stake in the future of green hydrogen. The region is well placed to lead the national drive to achieve net zero by 2045.

Viewed through a different lens, however, it is currently at the sharp end of the cost of living crisis. Factors that mean the Highlands and Islands will be hit even harder than other parts of the country in the coming months include:

  • Over 90% of companies in the region are SMEs, which find it harder than large firms to achieve economies of scale and absorb higher operating costs.
  • Climate, lack of mains gas, and poor energy efficiency all mean that more energy is often needed to heat buildings.
  • Most freight has to travel greater distances and is distributed by road and ferries, which cost more than rail.

While this may sound grim, there’s an old saying that you should never let a crisis go to waste. If the case for businesses and communities cutting carbon emissions was strong before, it has now become imperative. A just and equitable transition to net zero will benefit the bottom line for businesses across the region. Customers, whose buying choices are increasingly influenced by climate concerns, will take notice too.

Measuring carbon emissions is the first step towards cutting energy bills, improving efficiency and helping a company remain sustainable. We are working with Business Energy Scotland (BES) to help organisations reduce energy consumption, whilst encouraging longer term plans for renewable energy systems that can be delivered with the help of interest free loans from BES.

At HIE we are working with our partners to help organisations with the rising costs of doing business, reducing energy consumption, innovating and progressing their net zero journey. 

See details at findbusinesssupport.gov.scot.

This article was sponsored by the Highlands and Islands Enterprise.

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