Managed by Social investment Scotland, the fund will provide loans to successful applicants starting from £10,000
A £5 million fund has been launched to help charities, social enterprises and community organisations make the transition to net zero.
Social Investment Scotland (SIS), in partnership with Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS), has set up the Social Enterprise Net Zero Transition Fund is to support the voluntary sector in its journeys towards carbon neutrality.
This could be through activities including waste reduction, energy consumption, transitioning to sustainable transport options and the adoption of circular economy business models.
Managed by SIS, the fund will provide loans to successful applicants starting from £10,000.
Some small grants of up to £20,000 may be available, as part of a blended loan and grant offer, to organisations with a particular focus on circular economy projects that deliver new or additional re-use, repair, or leasing/sharing activity, resulting in positive carbon benefits.
The Social Enterprise Net Zero Transition Fund is part of the Scottish Government’s £30m Third Sector Growth Fund, which was announced in March. It supports the ambitions of SIS, ZWS and the Scottish Government, to make waste minimisation and reuse the first-choice option for the consumer.
Chris Jamieson, head of investments at SIS, said:“Scotland’s transition to a net zero economy requires bold and innovative solutions from every sector of our economy, including our social enterprise and third sectors. These organisations have a key role to play in ensuring that this transition is fair and just, due to their ability to deliver social and environmental impact.
“However, their ambitions are often constrained by the limited resources at their disposal. the Social Enterprise Net Zero Transition Fund will provide finance to support these ambitions, helping Scotland’s third sector adopt earth-friendly practices while contributing products and services to address one of society’s biggest challenges.”
Iain Gulland, chief executive of Zero Waste Scotland, added:“To truly end our contribution to the climate crisis we need to tackle overconsumption and switch from a wasteful linear economy to a circular one.
“Many social enterprises and charities in Scotland are leading the way with imaginative and groundbreaking ways to help us reduce the destructive impact of waste on our planet and meet our net zero targets. But we know financial obstacles can restrict their progress, or sometimes even prevent them from launching at all.
“Therefore, we’re thrilled to be working with Social Investment Scotland to launch the Social Enterprise Net Zero Transition fund – a way for us to financially nurture, empower, and enable these organisations to thrive as part of a vibrant circular economy.”
Many social enterprises and charities in Scotland are already leading the way in their adoption of circular economy practices and solutions. Community Transport Glasgow (CTG), for example, is a charity committed to providing high quality, accessible, door-to-door transport to vulnerable individuals and groups in Glasgow, transporting 75,000 passengers each year. CTG is in the process of replacing its entire fleet of diesel minibuses with electric vehicles.
Glasgow-based ethical retailer Locavore (pictured above) also embeds circular economy thinking into every aspect of its operations. Not only does the social enterprise help customers reduce plastic consumption through the availability of package-free options but it has also set out a major target to be carbon negative by March 2023, through the use of electric delivery vans, use of green energy and a commitment to waste recycling.
Social enterprises looking to apply for funding should visit the dedicated Social Enterprise Net Zero Transition Fund webpage. SIS will also be holding two free workshops which will take place on 7 December at 1-2pm and 13 December from 12:30 - 13:30pm. Registration links will be posted on the fund page.