HM Insights

Natural Capital bulletin July 2021: decarbonisation briefs

Understanding Scotland’s raw material footprint

Zero Waste Scotland has developed a landmark report The Scottish Material Flow Accounts (MFA) that reveals the size of Scotland’s material footprint for the first time.


The report shows the average Scot consumes 18.4 tonnes of materials every year, equivalent of 50kg per day on average. Academics agree that a sustainable level of material use, which would still allow for a high quality of life, is about eight tonnes per person per year.

The report is quite technical but its key findings can be summarised as:

  • There is a relationship between what Scotland consumes and the global climate crisis;
  • Consumption in Scotland is unsustainably high. This is, in part, due to the quantity of things we buy – but also due to the way we operate as a society;
  • Resource intensive production processes are favoured, resulting in new goods made from virgin materials being used rather than re-used or repaired goods, or goods made from recycled materials or from remanufacturing;
  • We need a system-wide change that enables us all to choose more sustainable ways to live, use the things we need and share resources.

Zero Waste Scotland has also created an interactive version of the Material Flow Accounts which enables users to explore Scotland’s material flow accounts and compare Scotland’s material consumption with the UK or EU and add additional indicators, such as population, GDP and carbon footprint data.

Find out more


Scottish Land Commission’s campaign

The Scottish Land Commission has launched a new campaign which aims to connect people to the land around them and show how it has an effect on everyday life: from how it impacts work and employment, to empowering communities, to how it can affect house prices within Scotland.

Through a new content hub, the MyLand campaign aims to inspire Scottish residents – particularly those in urban Scotland – to participate in land-related conversations, ensuring land is used fairly and productively. highlights various local stories of people coming together to use land to benefit the community and help to combat social inequalities, loneliness, and lack of facilities in the hope that these stories will inspire more people to follow suit, get involved with land and take action in their local communities.


New Scottish Government climate campaign

The Scottish Government has launched a new campaign to encourage people to do their bit to tackle the climate emergency ahead of COP26 in Glasgow later this year.

The 'Let's do Net Zero' campaign will be rolled out in two phases. The first phase will focus on informing the public in Scotland about the climate emergency and the need to get to net zero, signposting to for information as to what people need to do. The second phase will outline what Scotland as a whole is doing to tackle climate change to both domestic and international audiences.

Find out more


Useful links

Natural Capital


Rural Economy


Marine Economy