Like-minded businesses are working together to achieve their Net Zero targets by boosting sustainability and reducing their carbon footprint.

North Ayrshire Council is currently supporting a group of 15 Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) through the Net Zero Nation Accelerator Programme.

This is specifically designed to help companies start their Net Zero – working towards eliminating the amount of greenhouse gases they produce – journey in an efficient, cost-effective and collaborative way.

The businesses make up a 12-month cohort that meets regularly and allows them to share experiences, track progress, discuss how to adopt best practices in sustainability and work towards carbon reduction.

By working as a collective, they have created a community approach to hitting Net Zero goals.

Those participating in the current North Ayrshire programme benefit from support from both the team at Net Zero Nation, which is a social enterprise that was set up to help businesses accelerate their transition to Net Zero, and the Council’s Business Growth team.

The benefits for businesses include:

  • Expert advice on reducing their carbon footprint through energy efficiency improvements and adopting renewable energy sources.
  • Making cost savings by implementing energy efficiency measures and reducing waste
  • Access to expertise and resources, including carbon accounting tools and independent auditing services.
  • Networking and collaboration through the cohort, allowing participants to share their experiences and create new joint opportunities.
  • Enhancing their reputation and brand by committing to Net Zero targets and sustainability and
  • Future-proofing their business by being aware of regulatory changes and adapting to increasing demand for sustainable products and services.

Gavin Tweedie, Founder and CEO of Net Zero Nation, explained: “We are a social enterprise that was created in 2021 to help the business community go faster – and further – in tackling the climate crisis.

“There are 364,000 SMEs in Scotland today that make up 42 per cent of our emissions, so we can’t afford to leave that group behind.

“Our founding members of the Net Zero Nation ecosystem are actually from North Ayrshire, companies such as Ailsa Reliability Solutions and Booth Welsh. And what’s fantastic is that those businesses, who are now in their third year of the programme, are actually leading the current North Ayrshire Accelerator.

“I would say that North Ayrshire is a major powerhouse for Net Zero in Scotland.”

Irvine waste management company Lowmac Alloys is part of the current cohort, and Operations and Logistics manager Gordon Whiteford would highly recommend the initiative to other North Ayrshire businesses.

Mr Whiteford said: “We already play a big part in the circular economy, and we wanted to understand more about our carbon footprint.

“By being involved in the Accelerator Programme, we have already seen – from having our first set of carbon accounts – reductions in double-handling of material and, through our Transport and Logistics team, a reduction in double journeys.”

Jamie Burns, Managing Director of Ailsa Reliability Solutions in Kilwinning, has been involved in previous cohorts and is sharing his experiences with the current group.

“We have gained quite a lot of experience and learning from the other cohorts, and I am trying to bring that learning into the North Ayrshire cohort,” said Mr Burns.

The Council’s five-year Plan for 2023-28 sets out a commitment to deliver on tackling climate change.

Councillor Tony Gurney, Cabinet Member for Green Environment and Economy, added: “This programme is one of the many ways that we are supporting businesses to work towards their Net Zero targets.

“There are many clear benefits for businesses and the environment, including networking opportunities, learning from other local businesses, getting support to create a clear plan to reducing carbon emissions and setting up carbon accounts.

“Congratulations to all the businesses that are already involved.”

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