Nicola Sturgeon announces £70m to help circular economy
The First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has announced £70m in funding to boost the sustainability of Scotland’s manufacturing sector.
The support, announced as part of the Scottish Government’s new manufacturing strategy, includes a circular economy investment fund aimed at helping manufacturers develop technology, business models and infrastructure, as well as a new circular economy service intended help businesses redesign processes and products.
The strategy – ‘A Manufacturing Future for Scotland’ - is expected to be operational in just under seven weeks’ time and will be delivered by Zero Waste Scotland and Scottish Enterprise.
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Zero Waste Scotland said it will enable companies to capture new opportunities presented by a move to a more circular economy.
Sturgeon said: “Our Programme for Government committed us to further action and backed by £70 million of new circular economy funding, the Action Plan outlines how the Scottish Government, our enterprise agencies and Zero Waste Scotland will work with industry and higher and further education institutions to stimulate innovation, productivity and investment.
“Amongst the key actions in the strategy will be the establishment of a Centre of Excellence for Manufacturing which will act as a hub for continuous innovation to ensure Scotland remains a sustainable and competitive place to do business.”
The Scottish Government is expected to release its circular economy strategy - ‘Making Things Last’ - shortly, setting out in greater detail the economic, environmental and social benefits of a more circular economy.
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “A circular economy provides an opportunity to support the competitiveness of our manufacturing base and attract investment – through eradicating waste, and becoming more efficient in our design and manufacturing processes to extend product life-cycles.
“The Circular Economy Investment Fund and Circular Economy Service will offer vital support to manufacturers that are seeking to develop processes and products that improve the economic performance of SMEs while at the same time reducing the impact of economic activity on the natural environment, in line with Scottish Government and EU policies.”
The package includes £30m from the European Regional Development Fund.
Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, welcomed the “ground-breaking programme”.
He said: “This new funding and support package will push boundaries in business innovation to develop circular models that will keep products in use for longer and ultimately save precious raw materials and resources.
He added: “By investing now, the Scottish Government is putting down foundations to build an ever more sustainable future – one that is resource efficient and most definitely circular.”
The FM also announced a new Centre of Excellence to help Scotland’s manufacturers innovate and expand.