A toast to Scottish Enterprise’s new Net Zero Framework and support for sustainable Scotch

Economic development agency to put net zero at heart of its activities and support more companies like North British Distillery that is making a 134-year whisky distilling process more sustainable – well worth raising a glass to.

Scottish Enterprise is today (Tuesday 29 June) launching its Net Zero Framework for Action that outlines its approach to supporting businesses to achieve a green, fair economic recovery from the impact of Covid 19.

The launch of the framework comes as Scottish Enterprise also announces support to The North British Distillery that is developing a multi-million-pound project to make whisky distilling more sustainable.

Scottish Enterprise’s strategic ambitions are to expand net zero opportunities; support a just transition as well as lead and influence change through incentivising businesses to commit to sustainable practices.

The national economic development agency has already supported many businesses across Scotland to be more sustainable and since 2018 has helped companies identify over 700k tonnes of CO2 savings, equivalent to taking half a million cars off the road.

Alongside setting a target to become net zero in its own operations by 2040 and embedding a focus on business sustainability Scottish Enterprise has also outlined how it is working with Scottish Government’s business action group to make the most of the opportunities of COP26 in November.

Net Zero Secretary Michael Matheson said: “We all need to play our part in the just transition to net-zero, and Scotland’s public sector has a key role in this journey. Scotland can show the rest of the world how it’s done – and ensure our people, businesses and communities are at the forefront of a greener, more sustainable economy.

“I welcome this commitment from Scottish Enterprise who, through its Net Zero Framework, have set out how it will play an increasingly vital role in supporting our business community to embrace the opportunities that our journey to net-zero present by providing a clear pathway to encouraging green innovation and investment to benefit our economy, environment and society.”

Helping Scotland become net zero is not only an environmental imperative but also makes good economic sense. Recent research from McKinsey, for example, shows that those firms that commit to sustainability see improved value from strong engagement with customers and employees.

Head of low carbon transition at Scottish Enterprise Andy McDonald said: “Scottish Enterprise is committed to delivering economic growth for Scotland that creates a sustainable, inclusive and fair future for us all. 

“Our Net Zero Framework supports our Business Plan and sets out how we’re aligning all of our external delivery and internal operations to help address the climate and nature emergencies. 

“This is the decade for action. That includes providing incentives that support higher-carbon businesses and industries to diversify and adapt to a net zero future, as well as for new and growing businesses with innovative, low carbon products and services. 

“Scottish Enterprise will focus on net zero economic opportunities that also deliver societal and environmental benefits.  This is demonstrated by our recent support to the North British Distillery which is set to transform the whisky industry, safeguard jobs and create growth.”

The North British Distillery (NBD) is one of many companies Scottish Enterprise has supported towards a more sustainable future. It recently received a grant to design, develop and commercialise a modernised distilling process.

Sustainable Scotch a step closer thanks to Scottish Enterprise and The North British Distillery

A multi-million-pound sustainable distilling project supported by Scottish Enterprise is under development at The North British Distillery in Edinburgh that aims to modernise whisky distilling, secure jobs and fuel industry growth.

The North British Distillery has manufactured whisky for 134 years using a traditional process that has changed little over time. Following support from Scottish Enterprise, it plans to design, develop and commercialise a modernised distilling process.

The investment in a new system is part of the distillery’s wider sustainability plans as it aims to significantly reduce its carbon footprint.

Managing director of The North British Distillery Alan Kilpatrick said: “Protecting the natural environment is of the utmost importance to all of us at The North British Distillery.

“We are pleased to be on a journey to reduce our carbon emissions, with support from Scottish Enterprise. This funding will enable us to develop our green credentials, while supporting jobs and building on the skills of our workforce.”

The distillery is one the largest suppliers of Scotch grain whisky in the UK and serves the distilling sector and leading brands across the world where the grain whisky forms a key component of many blends. 

Scottish Enterprise supported the project with a grant of £2.5million towards a project that will lead the way in Scotland in a key industry that employs 10,000 people and had an export value of £3.8billion last year.

The project fits the Scotch Whisky Association’s sustainability strategy and Scottish Enterprise will continue to work with businesses, investors and partners to unlock opportunities that not only help accelerate Scotland’s transition to a net zero economy but also support a green economic recovery.

Contact Information

Notes to editors

  • Picture caption: Stills at The North British Distillery Company - one of Scotland’s largest Scotch Grain Whisky producers, selling grain spirit, the base for blended whisky, and its by-products.
  • Media contact for The North British Distillery Company Limited: Claire MacPherson
    Executive Assistant / 07850 045 706 /
  • Scottish Enterprise Net Zero Framework for Action can be viewed in full at:
  • The whisky industry in Scotland, working collaboratively through the Scotch Whisky Association, has set challenging carbon reduction objectives in its sector Sustainability Strategy, with the aim of achieving Net Zero emissions by 2040.
  • Scottish Enterprise is Scotland's national economic development agency. We’re committed to growing the Scottish economy for the benefit of all, helping create more quality jobs and a brighter future for every region. Follow us on Twitter at and  Follow us on LinkedIn at 
  • The North British Distillery Company Limited is one of Scotland’s largest Scotch Grain Whisky producers and is situated in the West of Edinburgh. The company was founded in 1885 in the then developing suburb of Gorgie. Its founders Andrew Usher (of Usher Hall fame), William Sanderson and John Crabbie set the business up as a “cooperative” operation – financed by the trade, for the trade - which would remain the ownership structure for the distillery’s first hundred years. The North British Distillery is now owned as a joint venture between Diageo plc and The Edrington Group and employs over 200 people at the distillery and main warehousing complex at Muirhall. More info: