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Colin Smith

The Scottish Wholesale Association has launched a new project to help members become greener and more sustainable with the aim of eliminating carbon from the supply chain.

The project aims to achieve net zero emissions by 2045 through a series of schemes and initiatives.

The first phase will focus on distribution fleets, in particular how hydrogen fuel cell (HFC) and electric vehicle (EV) technologies can be used to improve sustainability.

The environmental impact of members’ cold storage facilities will also be researched ready for phase two, which will look at energy and buildings.

The SWA has recruited Jessica Palmer, a graduate from Strathclyde University for an initial 12-week placement, to carry out the first phase of the project which will see her investigate areas of high pollution and energy consumption within the sector.

Palmer’s appointment is through the Environmental Placement Programme, run by Bright Green Business and supported by the Scottish government.

In addition, the SWA will be pushing for members to get access to some of the £109m Scottish government funding set aside for business investment in HFC and other alternative fuel source technology.

“We’re hugely excited to be driving this vital project,” said SWA CEO Colin Smith. “While there are various decarbonisation projects in place in Scotland, the SWA, through our ‘decarbonisation of the wholesale industry’ project, has the opportunity to be the first organisation in the UK to investigate and implement the private commercial use of HFC technology and or EV technology at a sector-wide level. As a result, the Scottish wholesale industry could become Scotland’s first ‘commercial testbed’, particularly for HFC.

“Carrying out this project on an industry scale will generate bigger benefits to our members than if they do it alone. Not only in time and cost savings, as we are conducting the research on their behalf, but also in hopefully being able to attract funding. Jessica’s report will provide members with a reference tool which will enable them to make calculated investment decisions for the future decarbonisation of their businesses as well as contributing data towards the creation of a wholesale industry net zero transition plan for 2045.”

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