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What is the Glasgow Green Deal?

The Glasgow Green Deal is a nine-year mission which will fundamentally reshape the city's economy. It is a transformative new approach, designed to bridge the gap between aspirations and action around the climate and ecological emergencies and deliver equitable, Net Zero carbon, climate resilient living by 2030.

Through the mission, Glasgow City Council is working with businesses, citizens and Governments to design policy and regulatory measures, support, reskill and upskill people to be able to participate in the transition, and finance and deliver innovative and investable projects, enabled by a common framework in partnership with Governments, the private and public sector and communities.

The Glasgow Green Deal, is being guided by three interlinked objectives:

  • reducing carbon emissions and building resilience to the impacts of climate change
  • creating prosperity, sustainable jobs and high-quality places
  • eliminate poverty and deliver justice through inclusion and equality.

The deal was a key commitment in Glasgow's Climate Action Plan, with climate change highlighted as an integral challenge for the future of the city and regional economies. The Glasgow Green Deal will:

  • inspire and engage businesses and citizens to participate in the mission
  • scale up and accelerate deployment of solutions and delivering systemic innovation in a way which addresses these three aims
  • revise and reshape existing programmes and project activity to align with the objectives of the Green Deal

Why do we need a Green Deal?

Glasgow's economy, like all others, is operating beyond planetary boundaries which provide a safe space for citizens to thrive, with climate change the most significant and growing risk to our economy and our way of life. The need to decarbonise and build resilience is more urgent than we thought - with emissions having to halve globally by 2030 to achieve the goal to limit warming to 1.5°C. Glasgow has reduced its emissions by nearly half since 2005, but climate risks from global emissions are increasing and are projected to have impacts of 2.5% of the city's regional GDP per year by the 2070. At the same time, the rules and norms guiding our economy are increasingly unfit for purpose, having widened inequality, and increased the insecurity of many over the last decade.

Efforts so far to solve these challenges have been done in isolation from each other and have been incremental. But the urgency of the science and situation mean the city, businesses and communities must now deliver a step change in the pace and scale of action. This must be at the system level, and deep rooted, tackling the links between emissions and climate risk, poverty, health, equity and justice, and our economic model.

This will not happen by chance. It needs concrete, coordinated action across public, private and third sectors, and all levels of Government, within a framework which creates the conditions for a transformation across the City which:

  • guides, scales up and accelerates public, third sector and private investments
  • spurs research and innovation in the city and beyond
  • provides the right signals to markets and creates new ones
  • enables locally led solutions from communities and businesses
  • supports citizens and communities in a just and equitable transition
  • nurtures leadership and agency at all levels, reshaping our culture, institutions, governance and power relations.

What are the benefits?

Whilst the scale of investment needed for a Green Deal is a step change in existing investment approaches, delivered correctly it will create transformational benefits for Glasgow citizens and our economy.

The investment facilitated through the Glasgow Green Deal is projected to create over 20,000 extra jobs, as well as increasing inward investment, improving business competitiveness, ensuring a more fair and equal economy, improving the performance and reliability of the city's infrastructure, and supporting regeneration.

How are we doing it?

We developed a high-level pdf icon Green Deal roadmap and Call for Ideas [2Mb] which has now been taken forward into the pdf icon Green Deal Outcomes Framework and Action Plan [3Mb].

The Green Deal is supporting many projects and activities already underway in the city, such as the Housing Retrofit Programme, the Glasgow Metro, the Climate Neutral Innovation District and the Clyde Climate Forest - and complements them with a strong focus on systems innovation. This is about developing new processes, new approaches, new ways of working, new institutions, to do things differently and do different things.

To help direct activity, the mission has 8 areas of focus:

  • Energy efficiency
  • Renewables
  • Mobility
  • Infrastructure connectivity
  • Restoring nature
  • Competitive Industry and Circular Economy
  • Adaptation and Resilience
  • Tackling Residual Emissions

It focuses on developing and delivering new approaches in each of these areas, by using levers of change - such as co-design, financing, arts and culture, governance, and policy and regulation.

What has been achieved so far?

A Green Economy Unit has been set up within Glasgow City Council's Economic Development team. The unit leads the work on a just transition to a net-zero carbon, climate-resilient economy.

The Council has approved a Green Deal Action Plan and Framework to support the delivery of the Glasgow Green Deal. The plan will enable council services and partners to implement the Green Deal and align their activities, and to allow appropriate measurement and scrutiny of progress. More information is available here. The council has agreed to produce annual reports which provide more detail on the work underway and how it is delivering change.

Ahead of the first report, some of the key achievements include:

Launching a £1.2m Green Business Support programme for SMEs - the programme helps small and medium sized enterprises reach net zero and build resilience to climate change as well as helping to address the challenge of rising energy costs. The programme offers a Green Business Grant of up to £10k and a programme of targeted advice and support for SMEs. More information is available here.

Securing a place on the EU's most ambitious net zero innovation programme - Glasgow had joined the EU Mission on Climate Neutral and Smart Cities, designed to create new economic opportunities from the transition to net zero.

Developing the city's approach to a Just Transition - the council has established a cross party Just Transition Working Group which is developing recommendations to facilitate a just transition. Economic Development is also working with Skills Development Scotland to develop a Just Transition Skills Action Plan.

Building the financial case for investment in sustainable infrastructure - we are developing an overall investment approach to sustainable infrastructure and working with the partners such as 3Ci and the UK Infrastructure Bank to develop individual business cases as well as more innovative business models in areas such as housing retrofit and nature-based solutions.

Supporting evidence-based decision making- The city council has commissioned a range of studies to inform its approach. These include a study on the size and structure of Glasgow's Green Economy, a baseline of the emissions intensity of economic sectors, and a headline assessment of the economics and financing of the Green Deal (see Background Documents section).

Developing a plan to support local businesses to decarbonise - the Green Economy team is working with Sustainable Glasgow's Green Economy and Private Sector Hub to develop a workplan to support businesses to decarbonise to support the wider city economy.

How can you get involved?

Delivering the Glasgow Green Deal is one of the biggest challenges the city has faced. It is achievable, but it will rely on everyone - all citizens, businesses and public sector organisations - bringing skills, expertise, capacity and resources to bear. Therefore, we are calling for citizens, businesses and community groups to get involved.

Help us deliver the Glasgow Green Deal

If your community, organisation or business can help deliver the Green Deal or is already delivering projects and initiatives aligned to outcomes and activities of the mission, we're keen to hear from you - and to profile and champion them!

Similarly, if you have project ideas, you can tell us about them, along with what help and support you need to make it a reality. We can't guarantee we'll support all of them but understanding need will help us prioritise and respond more effectively.

You can get in touch with the Green Economy Unit at

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