The James Hutton Institute has today become one of the first recipients of the new King’s Award for Enterprise in Sustainable Development.

The award recognises the institute’s world-leading research on sustainability across land, food and natural resources and how it’s addressing its own sustainability as major scientific research establishment.

The Hutton, which employs more than 500 scientists across sites in Dundee, Aberdeen and its three research farms, plays a pivotal role in delivering interdisciplinary science across agriculture, food security, ecosystems and resilient communities.

Colin Campbell, Chief Executive at The James Hutton Institute says, “We’re honoured to be a recipient of one of the first King’s Awards for Enterprise. Sustainability drives our research and we recognise the urgency with which we must all act.

“One of the major areas we focus on is agriculture, which is responsible for approximately 7.5 MtCO2e, or 19%, of Scotland’s emissions. To move towards UK and Scottish Government net zero ambitions, innovation is needed and through our initiatives like the International Barley Hub (IBH), the Advanced Plant Growth Centre and our Climate-Positive Farming Initiative, Scotland is at the forefront of tackling these issues.

“The connectivity of the climate, nature and food crises also means we need systems change. Our interdisciplinary research helps to underpin policies for sustainable land-use working with communities and supporting future generations’ wellbeing.”

The King’s Award for Enterprise recognises a wide range of activities that The James Hutton Institute undertakes to address global sustainability challenges, all of which are aligned with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This includes establishing the IBH), creating the world’s lead centre of excellence in barley science, and the Advanced Plant Growth Centre, delivering commercial and environmental benefits through precision controlled environmental technologies.

The Hutton is also leading by example through several projects, including its Climate-Positive Farming Initiative, which seeks to achieve negative emissions through transforming farm activities. This includes planting 110 ha of trees in 2020 alone, peatland restoration, catchment scale water management and the HydroGlen project, which will demonstrate the first green hydrogen-powered commercially run farm in the UK.

In addition to its scientific research, the Hutton is also focused on its own financial and environmental sustainability.

“We have been reporting and reducing our own emissions since 2013, through alternative and energy saving measures, from solar power to biomass, and have met and even exceeded our short-term targets,” says Stefan Jindra, Sustainability Officer at the institute. “We also have biodiversity plans and are addressing recycling, waste and travel across our sites, while our Just Transition Hub project in Aberdeen, we’ll be helping build capacity and share expertise in the transition.

“There is more to come too. We now have a target to be net zero in carbon emissions by 2035, for scope 1 and 2 emissions, and 2040, for scope 3, in line with the Science Based Target initiative. We’re excited about what meeting those targets will involve.”

See pictured: Colin Campbell, The James Hutton Institute’s Chief Executive (L), and Stefan Jindra, Sustainability Officer(R).

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