Land Energy loves local in pursuit of sustainability goals
Girvan-based biomass company Land Energy hosted staff and members of Galloway and Southern Ayrshire UNESCO Biosphere's Partnership Board this week, heralding a showcase of sustainable local enterprise during COP26.
Glasgow's climate conference has been making headlines worldwide long before it begins as governments release their strategies for achieving net zero goals. South Ayrshire aligned with national targets when it set out plans to achieve a 75% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030 and net zero by 2045.
The Biosphere team were joined by Councillor Alec Clark, who champions businesses that bring social benefit and stability to South Ayrshire's economy.
Land Energy's Associate Director Hugh Montgomery led the visitors in a tour of operations at Grangestone Industrial Estate, where waste timber and 'brash' (branch wood) from Galloway Forest Park is processed into biomass fuel - wood pellets for the commercial and domestic heating markets. Awarded the Biosphere Certification Mark for sustainability in April 2019, Land Energy remains robust in its commitment to their shared ethos and enthusiastic about demonstrating what can be achieved by creating and testing 'green solutions' to challenges specific to commercial forestry and to Scotland's energy sector.
Applicants for the Biosphere Certification Mark scheme are also asked how they demonstrate their support for communities, including education, training, and employment. Land Energy's Girvan location was selected with a view to accessing a uniquely skilled demographic, and the experience of Ayrshire communities in forestry, engineering and related industries has enabled them to invest in local people and procurement: the company currently spends around £50,000 per month within one kilometre of the site.
This week's factory tour will be developed into a case study to be shared via digital platforms and amplified by the global reach of the Biosphere's UNESCO brand. Similar studies on sustainable businesses will follow, as Tamara Fulcher, the Biosphere's Communications lead, explains: "We really want to showcase good practice across Ayrshire and beyond, because there's so much hard work and innovation going on. For a company such as Land Energy to talk about the whys and hows of what they do encourages Biosphere businesses of all sizes in their own journeys towards sustainability, and COP26 is a unique opportunity to share these stories with a much wider world."
Councillor Clark said: "It was my pleasure to join the Unesco Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Team on a visit to The Land Energy Factory at Grangeston Estate Girvan on Tuesday 19 October. Land Energy is a leading producer of Biomass Pellets from sustainably sourced wood including waste branches from the Carrick and Galloway Forests.
"They constantly try to challenge and create "Green Solutions" in to their supply chain and working processes and are proof that green energy solutions are commercially viable and can expand employment in rural areas and towns such as Girvan and the rural hinterlands.
"Some of the sustainable wood supply can be brought in to Girvan Harbour, boosting harbour revenues and reducing the carbon footprint by taking vehicle journeys off the roads network. Their sustainable ethos can be taken forward in to joint projects with local schools and other social enterprise groups and this has been rewarded by giving Land Energy the right to use The Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Unesco Certification Mark on their products."