Marissa Lippiatt, Head of Resource Effiency for Zero Waste Scotland and National Librarian Dr John Scally

National Library surpasses energy targets

The National Library of Scotland has exceeded the Scottish Government’s 2020 climate change targets, and its actions have been recognised with a gold pledge award from Zero Waste Scotland.

The Government set the targets in 2009, and since then, the Library has reduced its carbon emissions by 62% – 20% more than the 42% target. Energy use has been cut by 52%, far surpassing the 40% target.

Cabinet Secretary for Environment and Climate Change, Roseanna Cunningham said:

“I wish the National Library of Scotland continued success in their carbon reduction efforts, and for their on-going support in contributing to Scotland’s ambitions in this area.

“The Climate Change Bill is in direct response to the Paris Agreement and will help to ensure that Scotland achieves carbon neutrality by 2050.

“Public bodies have an important role to play in the delivery of our climate change ambitions, and organisations such as the National Library of Scotland can be exemplars, leading the way and inspiring others across Scotland to follow.”

National Librarian and Chief Executive Dr John Scally said:

“We’re proud to lead the way in energy efficiency and help our partners, Zero Waste Scotland, to encourage greater savings across public sector.

“While it’s important for us as a national institution to meet these targets, it’s also vital work for the environment. Our work in reducing emissions and energy use has also led us to make financial savings. It’s a double win for us.”

Marissa Lippiatt, Head of Resource Efficiency, Zero Waste Scotland, said:

“The Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009 sets ambitious targets to reduce carbon emissions by 42 per cent by 2020, and earlier this year announced a new target of 66 per cent reduction by 2032. That’s why it’s fantastic to see that the National Library has already surpassed their goal. They have done an amazing job of putting a realistic and measurable plan in place that involved everyone in the organisation.

“All public bodies in Scotland have a responsibility to help Scotland meet these targets and Zero Waste Scotland can help. The first step is creating a baseline before targets can be set and plans put in place – all the tools to do this can be found at

“We would be delighted to welcome more organisations in the private, public and third sectors to become Resource Efficiency Ambassadors – showing leadership in promoting the long-term sustainability of Scottish businesses.”

To achieve the targets, the Library established a set of carbon initiatives and put a programme of work in place involving all staff. This included replacing infrastructure throughout its buildings with more energy-efficient equipment, replacing all lighting with LED across the estate, and ensuring all staff were aware of energy use and used only what was required.

Contact Information

Barbara Burke

National Library of Scotland

+44131 623 3738

+447904 791002

Notes to editors

As a Resource Efficiency Ambassador, the Library will promote energy efficiency and support learning with businesses, local communities and public bodies throughout Scotland. 

About Zero Waste Scotland

Zero Waste Scotland exists to create a society where resources are valued and nothing is wasted. Our goal is to help Scotland realise the economic,environmental and social benefits of making best use of the world’s limited natural resources. We are funded to support delivery of the Scottish Government’s circular economy strategy and the EU Action Plan for the Circular Economy.

About Resource Efficiency Ambassadors

The Resource Efficiency Ambassador scheme is a reward system run by Zero Waste Scotland that recognises Scottish organisations that are steadfast in their year-on-year sustainable growth. The National Library joins a leading group of organisations from both the public and private sector who have been awarded the gold standard. If your organisation would like to become a Resource Efficiency Ambassador, it’s easy. Contact  and we’ll support you to demonstrate your leadership.

The National Library of Scotland

The National Library of Scotland is a major European research library and one of the world’s leading centres for the study of Scotland and the Scots - an information treasure trove for Scotland’s knowledge, history and culture.

The Library’s collections are of world-class importance. Key areas include digital material, rare books, manuscripts, maps, music, moving images, official publications, business information, science and technology, and modern and foreign collections.

The Library holds more than 26 million physical items dating back over 1000 years in addition to a growing library of e-books, e-journals and other digital material. The collection includes more than four million books, eight million manuscripts, two million maps and more than 45,000 films and videos. Every week the Library collects around 3,000 new items. Most of these are received free of charge in terms of Legal Deposit legislation. / @natlibscot / facebook