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The Scottish Food and Drink Net Zero Challenge Fund

Two fishermen holding seafood on a boat

The Scottish Food & Drink Net Zero Challenge Fund has been launched by Interface and Scotland Food & Drink to support food and drink businesses across Scotland. The new fund is a key initiative of the Scotland Food & Drink Partnership’s Recovery Plan, which is supported by the Scottish Government to the tune of £10m.

£130,000 is available to help businesses work with Scottish universities, research institutes or colleges to accelerate their journey to Net Zero with funding awards up to £10,000 in value.

The fund will support a key priority of the Scottish food and drink sector in its Net Zero commitment. It is open to businesses working in or with the food and drink industry addressing sustainability challenges, with solutions delivered through matchmaking and collaboration with academic experts.

Businesses who would like support in finding an academic partner to help solve their Net Zero challenge have until the 17th November to get in touch with Interface. Applications to the fund then need to be jointly submitted by the 17th December.

Scotland is fortunate to have world leading academics in a range of disciplines from engineering, manufacturing, biotechnology and data science to name a few, who are well placed to support food and drink businesses and the sector in its sustainability goals.  Applications are welcomed across the supply chain from primary production, manufacturing, food service, supply chains, retail and technology.

Businesses will also see benefit to their bottom line through cost and resource efficiencies and revenue through greening up their practises, products, and brand messaging. Funding may be awarded to projects in a wide range of areas such as sustainable agricultural practices, food waste, waste valorisation, sustainable ingredients and packaging, resource and energy efficiency and water use.

Rural Affairs Secretary, Mairi Gougeon, said: “Food and drink is one of Scotland’s most important economic sectors and is the largest manufacturing industry, supporting thousands of jobs and livelihoods. We want its success to continue into the future and for the sector to play its full part in helping Scotland to be fairer and greener.  Working together to find solutions to the Net Zero challenge is key.

“This project will benefit the environment and promote co-operation between business and academia.

“At the same time, it will also help identify potential opportunities for the sector to grow and prosper, creating new jobs with green skills, and enabling and encouraging its recovery and resilience.

“I would encourage businesses operating across the food and drink sector to contact Interface to explore how they can access support and be part of this exciting initiative.”

John Davidson, Scotland Food & Drink Strategy and External Relations Director, said: “The Scottish Food and Drink Net Zero Challenge Fund is a massive opportunity for Scottish food and drink businesses to get access to academic expertise which they may never have had without it.

“Scottish food and drink businesses, across sectors and regions, are pushing the sustainability agenda and finding new, innovative ways to reduce their carbon footprints and help the industry reach its Net Zero targets.

“The funding, provided through the Scottish Government funded Recovery Plan, will allow Scottish food and drink businesses to pursue sustainable opportunities and projects with academic support and guidance. I would encourage any business with Net Zero ambitions to apply.”

For more information about the Scottish Food & Drink Net Zero Challenge Fund please click here.

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