SEPA launches first Sustainable Growth Agreement

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Superglass SGA Today we are launching our first ever Sustainable Growth Agreement (SGA), between SEPA and Superglass, manufacturer of mineral wool insulation products based in Stirling.

Our Regulatory Strategy One Planet Prosperity, which we published last August, set out our commitment to helping regulated businesses reduce water use, carbon-based energy use, materials use and all forms of waste and pollution beyond compliance standards in ways that also improve their profitability and long-term viability. SGAs were one of the ways through which we proposed to achieve this, and we are now launching our first one.

What are Sustainable Growth Agreements?

SGAs are voluntary formal agreements between SEPA and an organisation (or organisations) that focus on practical action to deliver environmental outcomes and help achieve the objectives we set out in One Planet Prosperity. We expect most SGAs to be signed with individual businesses, but some will also be with groups of businesses, trade bodies, local authorities, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and others. Through an SGA, SEPA can help organisations collaborate with experts, innovators and stakeholders on different approaches that could improve environmental performance and also help create commercial and social success. Under an SGA, SEPA retains all of its regulatory and enforcement powers and will deploy them in the same way as we always have

Why an SGA with Superglass?

The SGA with Superglass includes six clear commitments from the company; to reduce water use and effluent, enhance innovation, reduce supply chain impacts, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, develop community engagement, and explore emerging opportunities to improve environmental, social and economic outcomes. SEPA will assist and support Superglass in achieving these commitments, and that process began last week when SEPA convened a workshop including representatives from across business, NGO and environmental sectors to advise Superglass on how it can best go about realising its ambitions.

Commenting on the first SGA, SEPA Chief Executive, Terry A’Hearn, said, “This agreement marks a milestone for environmental management in Scotland. It commits SEPA and Superglass to a set of practical actions, not vague words. These actions will improve the environment, strengthen Superglass’s business viability and benefit the local community. This is what 21st century environmental management must deliver.

“Superglass meets Scotland’s environmental standards, but it wants to go further. SEPA is delighted to support Superglass in its efforts to make further environmental gains in its manufacturing processes, its transport systems and its products. We are also delighted that other parties such as Stirling Council, Zero Waste Scotland and the Scottish Wildlife Trust are joining this effort. Together, we hope to support an innovative Scottish company show that environmental excellence can create commercial success in a tough and uncertain global economy.”

 Are SGAs public documents?

SGAs are public agreements and we will publish all of them on our web site. You can find the Superglass SGA there now, and can find also read more about the SGA concept in a Guiding Principles document. In brief, the guiding principles for SGAs are that they:

  • will be built on strong senior level commitment;
  • will be flexible;
  • will be ambitious and stretching;
  • will be transparent;
  • will augment, not replace, SEPA’s regulatory work.

SGAs: where next?

We plan to sign and launch the first three SGAs by 31 May 2017, with a further three to be agreed by the end of 2017. If you’d like more information about our plans for SGAs, please contact Cath Preston, SEPA’s Head of Innovation.

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