Urgent action must be taken in Scotland to tackle climate changing emissions, big businesses have said.
Global organisations including Coca-Cola, Tesco and Sky have signed a statement calling for the Scottish Parliament to “renew their position as a climate leader in the Climate Change Bill”.
The statement urges Scotland to hit the target of zero net emissions, set in the Paris Agreement, by 2050 at the latest.
It reads: “Scotland, with its proud tradition of innovation, a wealth of natural resources and a track record on climate change, has an opportunity to rise to this challenge and provide the necessary leadership.
“We hope the Scottish Parliament seizes the chance to renew its position as a climate leader in the Climate Change Bill and look forward to working with government, businesses and people in Scotland to build a climate-safe future for all.”
The statement comes as a survey by WWF Scotland suggests 53% of large Scottish businesses with at least 250 employees believe the response to climate change presents economic opportunities.
Nick Brown, head of sustainability at Coca-Cola European Partners, said: “Coca-Cola has been working in global partnership with WWF for over a decade to help conserve the world’s freshwater supplies, reduce our carbon emissions and ensure that our agricultural ingredients are farmed sustainably.
“As a local business in Scotland, with a manufacturing site in East Kilbride which uses 100% renewable electricity, we’re already working to halve greenhouse gas emissions from our core business by 2025.
“We welcome the introduction of a well-designed deposit return scheme in Scotland and across the whole of Great Britain in order to enable a true circular economy for our key packaging materials so we can put more recycled content back into our packs, reduce waste and improve resource efficiencies.”
Giles Bolton, responsible sourcing director at Tesco said: “As part of our ambition to offer healthy, sustainable food for all, we’re committed to reducing the greenhouse gas emissions of the food we sell.
“This means reducing emissions in our own operations and supply chain in line with the Paris Climate Accord, while leading the industry in tackling food waste.
“Clearly there is more to be done and it is vital we all work together to keep up momentum on climate change and carbon reduction.”
Scotland’s Climate Change Bill, published last year, proposed reducing harmful emissions by 90% by 2050 – up from the previous target of 80%.
The Scottish Government said it will look at targets again in the wake of UN-backed study that said the impacts of climate change, from droughts to rising seas, will be less extreme if temperature rises are curbed at 1.5C above pre-industrial levels than if they climb to 2C.
The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report said limiting warming to 1.5C is possible but will require fast and far-reaching changes to power generation, industry, transport, buildings and potential shifts in lifestyle such as eating less meat.
A Scottish Government spokesman said: “We fully agree that transitioning to a carbon-neutral society presents both an important economic opportunity for Scotland as well as being a moral imperative.
“That is why we have demonstrated global leadership by setting the most ambitious climate change targets of any country in the world for 2020, 2030 and 2040, which will mean Scotland is carbon-neutral by 2050.
“The targets have been described by independent, expert advisors as the very limits of feasibility.”