Sustainability in Practical Terms

Erik Odendaal MRICS, MICFor ,
10 Feb 2021

windIn this introductory blog, Erik Odendaal of AGREN poses questions around rural businesses adapting and keeping pace with a changing global and political climate.

With the concept of ‘green recovery’ gaining global momentum and a monumental policy shift towards all things net-zero, how do custodians of the land balance the need for adaptation with the need to operate a profitable business?

For Scottish rural businesses, adapting to this new world order can seem a very remote aspiration when considering the day-to-day pressures of running a rural enterprise.  

Farmers, for example, can rightly feel they are caught between a rock and a hard place. Increasing input costs, increasingly expensive and complex wizardry in machinery, increasingly constrained supply chains and temperamental weather: to say that farmers have it tough is an understatement.

agAs custodians of the land, how do we embrace the need for change and maintain a profitable rural business?

At a high-level, policy makers are pushing substantive changes to the way in which we should manage our land. Invariably these changes will take the form of reduced production on a more environmentally friendly basis. Another way to say this would be; we will be encouraged to rewild, or plant wildflower meadows. Neither of which are necessarily bad, but if we are to maintain the fabric of the rural economy, produce food, wood and energy, we need a more holistic approach.

So, the big question is how rural businesses make this transition in a way that does not undermine, jeopardise or lay waste to generational effort and profit. Do we replace the four-wheel Deere with a four-hoofed deer?

agIn practical terms, what could this mean for Scotland’s land mangers? And does yesteryear's sustainable farming practices, often thought to be left of centre, hold relevance with todays need for sustainability?  

In the following blogs, we will cover aspects of sustainability and land management relevant to land managers interested in making their businesses fit for a sustainable future. We will explore aspects of current land management practice, within the agriculture, forestry and renewables sectors. We will look into the state of global and local economics, and the pressure to adopt net zero in the face of and managing a profitable business.


AGREN specialise in sustainable development, focussing on the farming, forestry, renewables and natural capital sectors. With an interest in profitable and sustainable production systems, AGREN are able to assist investors, landowners and organisations looking to transition to ‘climate smart’ and ‘sustainable’ business models. 

Visit the AGREN website and follow them on LinkedIn