Environmental charities challenge politicians to meet five tests for a ‘green recovery’

29 May 2020

Leading Scottish environmental charities have today jointly published five tests for politicians to meet when implementing a ‘green recovery’ from COVID-19.

Scottish Environment LINK has challenged decision-makers to meet its tests, which it says will ensure that Scotland can move towards a new sustainable and socially-just era.


LINK, the network of 39 of Scotland’s leading environmental organisations – will be using the following criteria to assess the recovery policies and recommendations from the Scottish Government, and UK Government for reserved matters:


1. Every individual policy/action adopted must be based on sound evidence, must not increase carbon emissions, must not damage nature and must not harm social wellbeing. 


At the same time, the package of policies that we expect to see emerge from the recommendations to government must, together, meet these additional four tests, while each individual policy/action must contribute to at least one:


2. Reduce pollution;

3.  Improve adaptation to climate change and meet net zero by 2045;

4.  Secure sustainable consumption of natural resources

5.  Improve biodiversity and ecosystem services


Deborah Long, Chief Officer at LINK said “We are living in times of multiple emergencies. As we emerge from Covid-19, there are growing calls from society and scientists that the recovery must be sustainable and fair. We must build a better society for all, in a healthy environment capable of sustaining communities and individuals and livelihoods.

International peer-reviewed studies suggest we’ve only ten years left to address the climate emergency (IPCC 2018) and the nature crisis (IPBES 2019 and State of Nature 2019).

“We owe it to future generations to make sure that our economic reset is the time when we started living as if we had a single planet, and not three (SEPA).”

This year had been billed as the big year for the environment, but sadly two international environmental conferences, including the Conference of the Parties on climate in Glasgow, have understandably been postponed to 2021.

LINK wants to emphasise that that the nature and climate crises have not gone away. We have just ten years to 2030 to halt biodiversity loss, restore nature and rapidly reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

LINK welcomed the Scottish Government’s recent steps to scope and map out the route towards the ‘new normal’ as the world recovers from Covid-19, including establishing two new Advisory Groups in recent weeks to advise on a sustainable and fair recovery: the Advisory Group on Economic Recovery, reporting to the Cabinet Secretary for Economy and Finance, and the Sustainable Renewable Advisory Group, chaired by the Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform.

Vhairi Tollan, LINK’s Advocacy Manager said:
“With so many Government and non-government groups looking at what a sustainable and fair recovery might look like, there is a danger of overlap and repetition with contrasting and possibly conflicting recommendations. Reassurance that the Scottish Cabinet will be able to prioritise action to achieve the outcomes Scotland needs to see will be crucial if we are to make a successful transition to a sustainable and fair future. LINK’s 5 tests offer a mechanism to do just that.”



  1. Scottish Environment LINK is the forum for Scotland’s voluntary environment community, with over 35 member bodies representing a broad spectrum of environmental interests with the common goal of contributing to a more environmentally sustainable society scotlink.org


  1. LINK’s 5 tests for a green recovery are available here.


  1. References in text:


Contact details:

Vhairi Tollan, Advocacy Manager, 07512 828004.

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