The Stirling Protocol:

Environment at the heart of Inclusive Growth

Picture of Professor Maggie Cusack, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences at the University of Stirling, and the blog's author.

Professor Maggie Cusack, Dean of the Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling

Environment & economy do not oppose

The Scottish Government is committed to addressing climate change and achieving Net Zero by 2045. Many organisations and individuals are keen to do the right thing to address climate change but are often unsure about the correct steps to take. Part of the problem is that traditional thinking tends to consider the environment and the economy to be opposing forces that we must choose between. In direct contrast to this view, The Stirling Protocol puts the environment at the heart of a strong economy. The Stirling Protocol serves as a ready reckoner where decision-makers MUST address the three pillars: environment, economy and inclusion in any decisions be they large or small.

The 3 pillars of the Stirling Protocol – the economy, the environment, and inclusion – put the environment at the heart of sustainable economic prosperity and inclusion.

  • The economy focuses on delivering prosperity whilst promoting the green and blue economies.

  • The environment focuses on conserving and enhancing biodiversity and natural resources, whilst progressing society towards becoming carbonless.

  • Inclusion aims to maximise social inclusion whilst enhancing health and wellbeing.

A Stool with Three Legs

The associated briefing paper will help decision makers apply the Stirling Protocol. Whether a decision is being made by a large organisation or an individual, a helpful analogy may be that of a stool with three legs. Three legs of uniform length are required for the stool to function and, if we find that one is weak or a bit short, then this must be redressed. Stirling Council is applying this approach when considering access to e-bikes which have obvious benefits for the environment and support the economy by helping people get to their place of work or study.

However, some members of our society may be excluded from using these bikes because of the associated costs which is why Stirling Council is considering ways to provide access to the bikes for those on low income.  At the University of Stirling we are offering a Graduate Apprenticeship in Data Science. Providing this upskilling route for those in employment supports inclusion and benefits the economy by enabling companies to benefit from this upskilling and to make informed decisions on their data including, in many instances, environmental data.

City Region Deal

Through the Stirling & Clackmannanshire City Region Deal with the Aquaculture Innovation Hub and Scotland’s International Environment Centre (SIEC), we are committed to use the Stirling Protocol to put the environment at the heart of a strong inclusive economy with research, innovation and upskilling all key components of this approach. We recognise that the transition from our current situation to Net Zero will be challenging and will require a myriad of decisions to be made along the way.

The enormity of the climate challenge can result in paralysis and failure to respond.  However, collective action by adopting the simplicity of the Stirling Protocol will help move us move in the right direction ensuring that we take an inclusive approach to our decision-making.

Further Reading

Read more about the Stirling Protocol briefing paper for policymakers or read the full publication.

Find out more about the Stirling and Clackmannanshire City Region Deal.

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