Finally, after a year’s delay due to the pandemic, COP26 kicks off in Scotland this weekend. The leading global forum on climate change feels more urgent and crucial than ever. And so it’s only right that world leaders are gathering to review their emissions targets – and (hopefully) halt the climate emergency in its tracks.
Recently awarded the status of ‘Global Green City’, host city Glasgow has set its own target of achieving carbon neutrality by 2030. Which is big news. And with lectures, panels, pop-up arts spaces like The Landing Hub and event series like Climate Fringe, it’s hoped that COP26 will give local communities the impetus to really engage with the climate conversation.
But this is also a city awash with businesses and year-round projects that place the climate crisis front and centre. Glasgow Eco Trust and Sustainable Glasgow are just two examples of wide-reaching projects that aim to foster a greener Glasgow. Here are seven more pioneering eco-friendly firms and initiatives we really rate.
The bedding brand
Buy the pyjamas and duvets from Glasgow-based brand Irregular Sleep Pattern, and you’ll go to sleep safe in the knowledge you’ve done at least one thing that’s good for the planet. The firm promises to produce its comfy bedclothes with the lowest possible environmental impact (all its products are ethically made in only very small batches). Expect snazzy prints, inclusive sizing and certified organic cotton.
The community group
South Seeds is a community group, based in the South Central area of Glasgow, that aims to help locals ‘live more sustainable lives’. And what exactly does that entail? Everything from a community garden called the Croft to a handyman service offering residents energy-efficient improvements to their homes.
The textile shop
Glasgow’s Bawn aims to bridge the gap between the ever-expanding textile supply chain and the customer. The small firms takes great care in sourcing its fabrics sustainably, and supplies several fashion brands (as well as amateur haberdashers). Customers can visit the shop on Pollokshaws Road or head to their website to get items delivered – in 100 percent recyclable and plastic-free packaging, of course.
The zero-waste store
Refill stores are booming across the UK, and Neighbourhood is one of Glasgow’s best. It stocks all your classic refillable foods, along with ‘low-impact’ homeware and beauty products (and some very decent coffee). Glasgow residents can also have refills delivered straight to their door.
The coffee shop
One decent description of Dear Green Coffee would be ‘really, really, really goddamn ethical’. Founded in 2011, this coffee shop sources all its beans directly, seasonally and with producers always front of mind. All the packaging is biodegradable, and they aim to reduce waste as much as possible. It also hosted the world’s first single-use-cup-free coffee festival.
The guerrilla gardeners
Many of us discovered a passion for gardening during lockdown, but city life may well have limited the extent to which you could really get into it. Grow73 is a charity that encourages people of all ages and abilities to grow their own produce throughout the city. It took over Rutherglen train station in 2015, and has since installed planters on the platform. Now it offers lunchtime gardening clubs for schools, and is also working on a larger community garden in Overtoun Park.
The 18-million-tree forest
The epic Clyde Climate Forest project will see 18 million trees planted across Glasgow over the next decade. You read that right: 18 million. The idea is one of the main pillars of Glasgow’s pledge to reach net zero by 2030. The aim is to allow tree canopy cover in central Glasgow to reach 20 percent. That would be quite the achievement – and very befitting of this forward-looking city.