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Scotland’s approach to securing events is set out in our national events strategy, called “Scotland, the Perfect Stage”. The EventScotland team in VisitScotland works in partnership with local authorities, sports and venues to attract and secure events of all types across Scotland. EventScotland promotes best practice in environmental sustainability, rights protection and ethical considerations through its funding criteria and industry engagement. Scotland has recently secured the inaugural UCI world cycling championships for 2023 when, for the first time ever, all 13 championships will take place in one country and at the same time of year.
There is a huge opportunity to use the Scottish Government’s role in the promotion of events to advance the case for the living wage and other workplace rights, particularly in the hospitality sector, the use of sustainable transport and a wide range of other environmental considerations.
To give one specific example, is the cabinet secretary aware of the strong criticism this year of the influence of the fossil fuel industry lobbying at the COP25 climate change conference in Madrid, and will the Scottish Government commit to use whatever opportunity and influence it has to ensure that that toxic voice is not heard when COP26 meets in Glasgow next year?
There are two parts to that question. On the first part, I can give an example of good practice. The Solheim cup, which was a major event here this year, developed a sustainability plan focused on minimising the event’s carbon footprint, achieving zero waste to landfill, conserving important habitats and promoting sustainability to spectators. That is a very practical example.
On Mr Harvie’s point about COP26, Roseanna Cunningham, the Cabinet Secretary for Environment, Climate Change and Land Reform, is at COP25 as we speak, as indeed are officials from the Scottish Government and from Glasgow City Council. They are there precisely to see how it is operating and to learn lessons from that. We want COP26 to be a COP of best practice in delivery, but also in policy. It is a great opportunity to do things in an ethical way and promote Scotland’s sustainability and, importantly, our world-leading contribution to climate change.
There is much to be done. We have to practise as well as preach, and I understand exactly the message that Patrick Harvie is conveying.