Digital transformation within Scotland’s environment sector

We believe that digital transformation can accelerate the speed at which Scottish environment organisations can address the shared challenges of climate change and biodiversity loss.

By collaborating openly on the digital transformation agenda, organisations can become more resilient, efficient and effective at tackling the threats facing our natural world.

What’s happening?

To look at this is in more detail a number of government agencies and environment NGOs came together in a webinar for senior leaders of environment organisations on Monday 31 August 2020.


  • Francesca Osowska, CEO of NatureScot
  • Jo Pike,CEO of Scottish Wildlife Trust
  • Dr Murray Collins, Edinburgh University & Space Intelligence, Earth science
  • Daisy Narayanan, Sustrans, Sustainable urban environments / citizen science
  • Morgan Korchia, Head of Digital Innovation at SopraSteria

With a panel discussion hosted by David Pirie, Executive director, SEPA

  • Why collaborate on digital transformation within the environment sector?
  • Why collaborate across public and voluntary sectors? How best to engage private sector and academia?
  • Why have NatureScot and the Scottish Wildlife Trust taken the initiative on getting this going?
  • Why is it important for CEOs to engage directly?

Find out more, including the full agenda and recording, at the event’s dedicated wiki page.

Our Statement of ambition

Following the webinar with senior leaders, we have been openly developing the following Shared Statement of Ambition:

The scale of the environmental challenge that humanity is facing should not be underestimated. As one of the first countries in the world to declare a climate emergency, Scotland has set a world-leading target of being net zero by 2045. At the same time, the Scottish Government has recognised biodiversity loss as an equally pressing issue. In order to progress towards the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals, there is a real urgency to act.

As senior leaders from some of Scotland’s leading environment organisations, including charities and government agencies, we want to accelerate the transition to a more sustainable way of living. Our collective ambition is to explore how we can use innovative digital technology to address the twin challenges of biodiversity loss and climate change, whilst at the same time helping us to secure a green recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Through improved scientific understanding, streamlined internal operations and more targeted public engagement, we can all be better informed, more effective and better focused on tackling these pressing issues, while empowering the public to help us on this journey to a nature-rich, net zero future.


We want to:

  1. Inspire the environment sector to have a shared interest in advancing digital transformation, while learning from others.
  2. Use digital approaches to mobilise greater action in order to tackle the biodiversity and climate crises.
  3. Encourage shared learning and collective innovation in order to scale up efforts to reverse the loss of Scotland’s biodiversity and to reach net zero.
  4. Identify the greatest environmental imperatives for digital transformation and how these can be best resourced.
  5. Engage in digital technology which is consistent with environmental sustainability for people and the planet.


We are exploring the following potential commitments:

  • Contributing towards a shared digital resource knowledge bank.
  • Pooling resources and attracting additional financial investment to support joint digital transformation initiatives.
  • Utilising the existing experience and expertise in digital transformation across the environment sector and beyond.
  • Making our collective digital assets more open, and using these to foster shared analysis and greater insight.
  • Harnessing the full potential of digital engagement with people and their communities (for example through citizen science), with a focus on greater inclusion and participation.
  • Becoming actively involved in a dedicated forum for sharing knowledge on digital transformation in order to achieve our shared environmental goals.

“The Sustainable Development Goals lay out the most important challenges we need to address for the sake of people and planet by 2030. […] Digital technology provides part of the answer to these challenges.”

Prof. Jeffery Sachs, President, Sustainable Development Solutions Network

Get involved

Embracing innovative science and technology, improving operational effectiveness and empowering an informed
public will help us all create a nature-rich, net-zero future.


Collaborating on digital transformation

To support collaboration, open planning and discussion, we have created an open shared resource that will allow all relevant parties to help develop and benefit from the digital transformation agenda for Scotland’s environment sector.

We’ve chosen a wiki platform to support this, for several reasons. Firstly, it’s accessible through government firewalls while many proprietary digital platforms are not. Secondly, it’s more robust and road-tested than many options it and continually evolves. Thirdly, it’s easier for engaging a lot of people and registration is optional. Finally, it’s machine readable by the software used for accessibility needs, driving total inclusivity.

We want you to directly shape these plans by adding your ideas and content through this wiki.

Start collaborating

View the wiki and start collaborating by adding your ideas and content.

Visit the wiki

In association with:

What's being planned

Shared Statement of Ambition – being developed with senior leaders within the environment sector (Sep 2020)

Interactive sharing and learning workshop – with digital leaders in the environment sector, to share learning and best practice (TBC)

What's in progress

Digital resource – to capture learning and develop a knowledge base for eNGOs to contribute and tap in to (initiated Feb 2020)

What's been delivered

Concept for digital transformation – as it applies to the environment sector (delivered Nov 2019)

Planning webinar with eNGOs in Scotland – to ensure buy-in and negotiate the agenda (delivered Jan 2020)

Webinar with Senior Leaders – ‘Inspiring digital transformation within the environment sector’ (August 2020)

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