Our biodiversity duty as a public body
As a Scottish public body we have a statutory duty to further the conservation of biodiversity:
“It is the duty of every public body and office holder, in exercising any functions, to further the conservation of biodiversity so far as it is consistent with the proper exercise of those functions” Nature Conservation (Scotland) Act 2004
The Wildlife and Natural Environment (Scotland) Act 2011 places a duty on us to make a report publicly available every three years on our compliance with the biodiversity duty. This publication is our report of our activities to October 2020.
How we deliver our biodiversity duty
Our role, set out in legislation, is to regulate social landlords. We monitor, assess and report on local authorities’ and registered social landlords’ (RSLs) performance in delivering services and RSLs’ financial well-being and standards of governance.
Our regulatory role does not extend to promoting or assessing the core activities as set out in the Scottish Government’s guidance on the biodiversity reporting duty.
We are a small public body with around 50 staff. We operate from one small city-centre office space which we sub-let from another public body. We do not own any land or vehicles and we have no direct role in the management and use of land or natural resources.
Given our role and organisation size, we are best placed to carry out a smaller, proportionate set of activities for biodiversity, and this is where we have focused our efforts.
Our ongoing commitment
Between 2017 and 2020 we have continued to focus on two types of biodiversity activities: awareness-raising and practical staff volunteering. We have recruited a Business Coordinator whose role includes a focus on climate change and biodiversity in a way that is relevant for us,
We also consider sustainability and environmental impact when procuring goods and services, wherever relevant Our procurement policy has a section dedicated to explaining our considerations when developing project briefs, and links to our objectives that are set out in our environmental strategy.
Practical activities we’ve undertaken
In the last 3 years we have taken part in two volunteering days to help improve biodiversity local to our office and promote workforce development.
Our first volunteering opportunity for staff was in collaboration with Transport Scotland and Glasgow City Council. We spent time helping to clear up litter in and around Glasgow Green.
Our second was volunteering with Scottish Canals at Applecross in Glasgow. A group spent time clearing up litter along the public footpath of the canal towards Firhill, before tackling some overgrown shrubbery on the opposite side of the canal near the mooring points for boats just east of the Scottish Canals office.
Both activities provided us with excellent opportunities to help our local green spaces and promote biodiversity. These have benefited local wildlife and helped maintain access to nature for the public. We promoted our achievements on our intranet, and used social media to share our experiences with our stakeholders.
We have raised our staff’s awareness of biodiversity by using the Residence, our staff intranet, to:
- highlight the importance of biodiversity;
- promote International Day for Biodiversity on 6th June 2019;
- encourage staff to take photos of the environment and biodiverse surroundings when out and about to share via the Residence;
- updated our staff travel guidance to support a reduction in our carbon footprint, which we will roll out to staff once our office re-opens after the pandemic and staff being to travel again.