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Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards 2023: Sector urged to join free climate workshops to save planet and money

By Features Reporter

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HITA director, Marina Huggett, with Royal Bank of Scotland’s commercial banking director, Ryan Fraser and local enterprise manager, north of Scotland, Mairi MacDonald. Picture: Callum Mackay
HITA director, Marina Huggett, with Royal Bank of Scotland’s commercial banking director, Ryan Fraser and local enterprise manager, north of Scotland, Mairi MacDonald. Picture: Callum Mackay

Tourism businesses across the Highlands & Islands are being invited to participate in a free online programme to support them on their journey towards net zero and reduce their expenditure.

Delivered by Royal Bank of Scotland, headline sponsor of the Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards (HITA), and in partnership with the Edinburgh Climate Change Institute, the Climate Springboard programme is a net zero transition support programme for Royal Bank of Scotland customers.

But the opportunity to participate is being opened up to businesses within the tourism sector based in the Highlands & Islands at no cost.

The Climate Springboard programme consists of three two-hour long workshops delivered online with access to tailored advice and support. Participants will be given post-session ‘homework’ to turn their critical learnings from the workshops into practical steps.

The programme aims to provide businesses with a greater understanding of their carbon footprint and identify the business activities that generate the most emissions. Participants will also learn how to develop an action plan with practical steps to reduce their emissions and create a carbon reduction plan.

By sharing their experiences through the sessions, businesses can also learn valuable lessons from each other.

The Climate Springboard programme is open to businesses in the tourism sector based in the Highlands & Islands with a turnover of up to £25 million.

The three workshops are delivered online, 2-4pm on October 5, October 29 and November 2.

Businesses can apply by completing the short application form at https://edinburgh.onlinesurveys.ac.uk/climate-springboard-recruitment-questionnaire-tourism

The Climate Springboard programme is in response to the developing net zero landscape. Scotland’s ambitious climate change legislation sets a target date for net zero emissions of all greenhouse gases by 2045. This has implications for business operations including regulatory changes, such as a ban on the sale of petrol and diesel cars from 2035, and increasing requests by large organisations for carbon footprints, net zero targets, and carbon reduction plans from SME’s.

Judith Cruickshank, chair, One Bank Scotland, Royal Bank of Scotland, said: “We want to deliver a more sustainable economy and future for the customers and communities we serve, which is why addressing climate change is important to us.

“Tackling climate change is not only good for the planet, but good for our customers and our business too. Working in collaboration with institutions such as ECCI and the University of Edinburgh offers businesses the insights and access to the support to develop their own climate strategy and make it central to how they operate.”

HITA chairman, Calum Ross, urged tourism businesses to snap up the opportunity to learn from the experts how to tackle climate change within their own organisations by taking practical steps and developing action plans which will also reduce business expenditure.

“We’re extremely grateful to our headline sponsor, Royal Bank of Scotland, for opening up the Climate Springboard programme to tourism businesses here free of charge. This is an excellent opportunity to learn from the experts how to take action that will not only help the planet but will help make your business more cost-efficient and reduce expenditure.

“Tackling climate change is a necessity, not just an ambition. So, it is vital, now more than ever, that the tourism sector becomes as competitive, and as energy and cost-efficient as possible while still delivering a world-class visitor experience, and rewarding and exciting career opportunities.”

Mr Ross added: “This year’s Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards have sold out in record time and we are all extremely proud that the sector not only continues to demonstrate great resilience but is also forward-thinking to tackle challenges such as climate change head on in a positive way.”

Covering all the regions of the Highlands and Islands; from Argyll in the west, to Moray in the east, and Orkney and Shetland in the north, the annual Highlands & Islands Thistle Awards bring together industry leaders, rising stars, new enterprises and trusted names to celebrate achievements and recognise excellence in the sector.

The winners will be announced at the sold-out gala dinner and ceremony at the Macdonald Drumossie Hotel in Inverness on Friday, November 10.

For more visit www.hita-awards.com

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