South of Scotland Enterprise ready to support South’s journey to Net Zero

Published:  26 November 2021

We are ready to help the region capitalise on the opportunities presented by COP26 through our newly created Net Zero team. 

The region’s economic and community development agency played a proactive role in a series of events throughout the UN Climate Change Conference in Glasgow, with a number of local businesses and enterprises actively participating in the Scottish Government and Scottish Enterprise hosted Climate Ambition Zone earlier this month. 

What will the new Net Zero team do?

Through our Net Zero team, we will now aim to work with businesses, social enterprises and communities across the region to embed the just transition to Net Zero – which means as we reduce our emissions and respond to a changing climate, that the journey is fair and creates a better future for everyone.

Led by Dr Martin Valenti, the Net Zero Team consists of three lead officers, who will shape the agency’s approach and support its staff to engage with clients and partners on their own journeys to Net Zero, as well as lead on key partnerships and projects.

The Net Zero team

  • Dr Martin Valenti – Director of Net Zero. Having joined SOSE in July 2021, Dr Valenti is an award-winning sustainability practitioner and serial disruptor, and is leading the economic and community development agency’s efforts to help the region to just transition to a Net Zero economy.
  • Colin Banks – Lead for Social Enterprise and Communities. Seconded to the role in August 2021, Colin works closely with SOSE’s team of Community Development Specialists and Advisors as well as lead on key partnerships and projects, such as Local Energy Scotland. Colin is a passionate advocate for sustainability, bringing experience from his time with the Energy Saving Trust as well as personal experience in building a low carbon home and involvement in a local environmentally-focussed social enterprise.
  • Richard Smith – Lead for Business and Industry. Seconded to the role in August 2021, Richard works closely with SOSE’s team of Business Development Specialists and Advisors as well as lead on key partnerships and projects, for example with Zero Waste Scotland. As a chartered sustainability professional, Richard has 20 years’ experience in the private sector working with businesses both domestically and internationally to embed sustainable business models.
  • Paul Wheelhouse – Lead for Energy Transition. Appointed on 22 November 2021, Paul will lead on key energy partnerships and projects and take forward key actions from the report ‘Powering Change – calling the South of Scotland to action’, which aims to maximise future energy opportunities in the region. Paul was formerly the Scottish Government Minister for Energy, Connectivity and Islands, from June 2018 to May 2021.

In addition, we have appointed a Head of Natural Capital – Jayne Ashley – and her team will help maximise the region’s natural assets through forging new partnerships and influencing strategies and projects, across the region and beyond.

Jayne has been a sustainability practitioner for over 30 years, advising, facilitating and mentoring communities and the private and public sectors, from the local to the European level. 

Dr Valenti, Director of Net Zero

“I am delighted we now have a full team in place who are ready to support our engagement with businesses, social enterprises and community organisations in the South and help our region’s just transition to Net Zero.

“COP26 allowed a variety of South of Scotland businesses and organisations to showcase their commitment to helping Scotland achieve the goal of Net Zero by 2045.

“We need innovative and entrepreneurial thinking to achieve this target, and our team is looking forward to supporting our region’s businesses, social enterprises and organisations who recognise the massive climate opportunity in front of us.”

Professor Russel Griggs OBE, Chair

“The eyes of the world were on Scotland during COP26 but now it has passed, the hard work really begins.

“There is significant help available for any businesses, social enterprises and communities at any stage of their Net Zero journey and we would encourage anyone in the South to come and talk to us.”

Any business, social enterprise or community organisation keen to discuss how to take forward their Net Zero journey should contact us or phone 0300 304 8888.

Companies can also visit netzeronation.scot/business to find out more about the range and information, resources and advice available to support businesses working to help Scotland become a net zero nation by 2045.

Further information
  • Mr Wheelhouse applied for the role of Lead for Energy Transition which was advertised publicly in September 2021
  • After a thorough and competitive interview process, Mr Wheelhouse was offered the role, subject to consideration from the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments (ACOBA)
  • ACOBA considered that there was no need for a decision to made on Mr Wheelhouse’s appointment
  • ACOBA considers applications under the business appointment rules about new jobs for former ministers, senior civil servants and other Crown servants
  • ACOBA is an advisory non-departmental public body, sponsored by the Cabinet Office
  • More information on ACOBA is available.
Powering Change

‘Powering Change - calling the South of Scotland to action’ was launched in March 2021 and was the result of six months of extensive work by the South of Scotland Enterprise-established Energy Transition Group, which brought together a diverse range of partners and expertise across the public, private, education and third sectors. Further details are available.