The scientific consensus is clear: we are in a climate emergency. To address this, necessary and ambitious targets are being set by the United Nations – net zero by 2050, UK Government – 78% reduction by 2035 and Scottish Government – net zero by 2045. Edinburgh Science, the educational charity known for its annual Science Festival starting on 26 June, a schools learning programme, and environmental business to business work, is determined to show leadership as we face this emergency.

Born out of discussions at Climate Opportunity Ideas Factory – a series roundtable meetings for cross sectoral leaders organised by Edinburgh Science – NetZero Toolkit is a comprehensive and scientific eight-step toolkit that will guide every organisation to make their commitment, set targets and begin to make meaningful changes that will get their business on the road to net zero carbon emissions by 2040.

Showing his support for this new initiative, Nigel Topping, UK Government as the High Level Climate Action Champion for UN climate talks, COP26 said: “It’s great to see the launch of this toolkit to support SMEs in taking climate action. We need businesses of all sizes learning how they can decarbonise, setting credible targets for their businesses and taking immediate action to implement those plans.”

The Toolkit can be successfully used by a business of any size – from individual micro-businesses to multinationals – but is specifically aimed at small- to medium-size enterprises (SMEs) which make up more than 90% of UK business and employ around two thirds of the UK workforce. NetZero Toolkit supports them to take action and to play their part in achieving these targets as their commitment is key to the success.

The idea for the Toolkit came from Baillie Gifford and they commissioned Edinburgh Science to develop it through collaboration between business leaders, policy makers and scientists. It directs SMEs to create an account which sets them on the path to eight comprehensive questions about their business as it currently stands, their plan to make changes in eight strategic areas and their commitment to making these measurable and achievable changes on a timeline set to their own individual needs. Their own answers are what provides them with a Toolkit – an organised and strategic approach to achieving net zero carbon emissions. Nobody can achieve net zero overnight but the Toolkit offers a free and easy pathway to get to net zero carbon emissions quickly and efficiently and futureproof not only our businesses and cities, but our world for generations to come.

Simon Gage, CEO of Edinburgh Science said: “After years of programming for the planet, it is time that we, at Edinburgh Science, focus on direct action as well as raising public awareness about our climate emergency. We must all act now and with the utmost urgency, the planet can’t wait any longer. We are delighted to use our convening power to bring together diverse leaders to come up with innovative ideas, like this toolkit. We will share this toolkit for free with all organisations and aim to drive down Carbon emissions in advance of COP26 and beyond as a result.”

Diane Esson, Chair of Baillie Gifford’s environmental sponsorship said: “We realised there was a real need for collated information and resources, without agenda, to aid carbon footprint calculations and reduction targets when we ourselves embarked on this journey a few years ago. If a large organisation employing a wide range of skillsets finds the pathway to Net Zero unclear and yearly targets challenging to define, we guessed that smaller business owners might be scratching their heads, too. We hope this toolkit can help other organisations find the information and support they need to embark on their own carbon reduction journey.”

NetZero Toolkit has been supported by a range of organisations, including Baillie Gifford, CityFibre, Dickson Minto, Galbraith, M&G, NatureScot Parabola and Target Fund Managers who are set to be among the first users of the NetZero Toolkit.

Edinburgh Science is an educational charity established in 1989 which works to inspire people of all ages and backgrounds to discover the world around them.

Climate crisis remains the priority and a strong focus for all Edinburgh Science’s projects which include, among others, world’s first and still one of Europe’s biggest Edinburgh Science Festival, various educational projects sponsored by Baillie Gifford, including Generation Science, Scotland’s largest education schools touring programme which celebrates 30 years this year having reached over 1 million pupils around the country and, inspired by Christiana Figueres, Costa Rican diplomat who was instrumental in bringing about the Paris Climate Agreement, Climate Opportunity Ideas Factory for industry leaders.

In the year of COP26 – United Nations Climate Change Conference – taking place in Glasgow and with the eyes of the world’s scientific community fixed on Scotland, a country boasting most ambitious climate crisis targets in the UK and leading in the world, NetZero Toolkit takes the business industry one step closer to fighting the climate emergency.