Annual Review




Welcome to our 2019 / 2020 Annual Review - a celebration of our work over the past year to combat climate change, reduce litter and waste and protect and enhance the places we care for. This review provides inspiring highlights of how we have achieved this, working with people and their communities, across the length and breadth of Scotland.

At the start of the year we expanded our range of activities into working closely with Scottish Canals and adopted two new projects – Canal College® and canal heritage from the former Scottish Waterways Trust. This enabled us to diversify our work with local communities, helping to build life skills, connecting people with their natural environment and conserving our rich heritage.

Throughout the year we have been inspired by the enthusiasm and diverse range of people and organisations that we work with who share in our ambition to improve Scotland’s environment. Partnership, collaboration and team effort is very much at the heart of our work: we cannot achieve things in isolation and we are forever grateful to our wide range of supporters, funders, donors and partners, as well as the talented team of people working and volunteering with us. Together we have been able to support thousands of individuals to make a very real collective difference.

At the start of March 2020, we were delighted to welcome Barry Fisher to our charity, as our new Chief Executive. Barry brings 20 years of experience from the youth sector, where clean healthy environments played a massive part in his work to engage young people. He has a real enthusiasm for supporting people to make tangible and positive differences to the places they care for.

The Covid-19 pandemic hit at the end of this Annual Review period, and we cannot introduce this review without recognising the many challenges we know we will all face in 2020 / 2021 and beyond. This, combined with the declared climate and nature emergencies, and looming litter emergency, means the future now looks different, and the challenges seem greater. But we also recognise that we have a real chance to do things differently supporting the Green Recovery to build a more sustainable, greener and fairer future for all.

Thank you to everyone who has joined us in our efforts to keep Scotland beautiful, we very much look forward to working with you to achieve our vision of a clean, green and sustainable Scotland for all.

Montgomery CBE, FRSE

Chair of Keep Scotland Beautiful

Our work with the goals

Goal 4 is about ensuring inclusive and fair quality education and promoting lifelong learning opportunities for everyone. Our Eco-Schools programme and wider education work support two of the targets. These are about developing skills for success and providing sustainable development education and global citizenship skills.

Targets supported:

4.4 Increase the number of people with the relevant skills for financial success
4.7 Education for sustainable development and global citizenship
First Green Flags awarded
Eco-Schools assessments completed
Green Flags renewed
Eco-Schools training sessions to 323 people

Climate Ready Classrooms

The announcement by the Scottish Government to fund our innovative Climate Ready Classrooms was a notable high point of the year for us. The funding allowed us to begin rolling the one-day climate emergency training out to secondary schools across Scotland. By the end of the year we had visited 44 schools and taught 798 young people and 77 educators. We also ran five train the trainer sessions to enable educators to deliver the programme themselves.

Case study

“This brilliant experience has inspired to me change/alter my actions to lower my carbon footprint and to spread awareness among my peers to hopefully inspire them to take action just like me.”

Brandon Lei, Lornshill Academy, who took part in Climate Ready Classrooms

Pocket Garden

We were delighted that our annual Pocket Garden competition was once again a huge success, culminating in a fantastic display of gardens at Gardening Scotland in 2019. We received 63 entries from schools across the length and breadth of Scotland. 24 of these were invited to create the central feature of the Garden for Life area at the national event.

One Planet Picnic

Over 16,000 people from 23 different local authority areas took part in a One Planet Picnic – a picnic which celebrates local and sustainable food choices.

Wrigley Litter Less

We once again ran the Wrigley Litter Less campaign, providing funds to 28 primary and nursery schools across Scotland. The funding allows a litter campaign to be run in the local community and in previous years, schools have carried out beach cleans, installed new bins and signs, and purchased litter-picking equipment. In January 2020 we kicked off the campaign with the help of staff and children at ABC Nursery in Alloa.

Young Reporters for the Environment

During 2019, our Young Reporters programme provided tailored media training to young people in schools across Scotland. This resulted in fantastic entries to the competition, including the winning film ‘What a waste’ by St Fillan’s Primary School in Glasgow. Two entries were put forward to the international Young Reporters for the Environment competition, one of which won second place.

Canal College®

In 2019/20 almost 100 people took part in our employability programme, Canal Collage. Participants learnt new skills, including archaeology, conservation and canal maintenance, whilst also working towards accredited qualifications and awards. Following their involvement, approximately 75% found a job, college or training place or found further volunteering opportunities.

Case study

“I came to Canal College to get out of the house for a few hours a week. I’d recommend the course as it's not only a great support network, but also a fun and entertaining way of learning new skills and gaining new qualifications to take through the rest of your life. The course is practical and educational in the best way.”

Rhiannon McArthur, course participant

Goal 6 focuses on ensuring the availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation. Through our work, we support the target to improve water quality, waste water treatment and safe reuse.

Targets supported:

6.3 Improve water quality, wastewater treatment and safe reuse
social media post engagements on My Beach, Your Beach campaign
of beach users noticed our My Beach, Your Beach campaign materials
My Beach Your Beach link clicks to our website from social media

My Beach, Your Beach

Following the success of My Beach, Your Beach in 2018, we ran the initiative again in 2019. The approach was expanded to cover four beaches and we introduced a business pledge to encourage local businesses to take ownership of the campaign messages. We also introduced litter picking stations which were very popular.

Case study

“There needs to be a change of littering culture mentality and we need to encourage a sense of civic pride in our area. Little steps can make a big impression on the appearance of our town and I am delighted that local businesses are signing up to Keep Scotland Beautiful’s pledge and taking responsibility for the cleanliness of their area.”

South Ayrshire Councillor, Siobhian Brown

Making cities and communities inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable is the key ambition of Goal 11. Our work meets two of the targets for this goal – protecting the world’s natural and cultural heritage and providing access to safe and inclusive green and public spaces.

Targets supported:

11.4 Protect the world’s cultural and natural heritage
11.7 Provide access to safe and inclusive green and public spaces
people attended our annual Beautiful Scotland award ceremony in September
volunteer hours given to Beautiful Scotland and It’s Your Neighbourhood
different sites surveyed for environmental quality indicators such as litter and dog poo
participants attended 18 of our local environmental quality training courses

Green Flag Award

In the summer of 2019, we awarded 71 parks and green spaces across Scotland with a Green Flag Award. This international award recognises parks with excellent management and environmental standards.

People’s choice park award

We were delighted when Strathaven Park in South Lanarkshire yet again reached the top ten in a nationwide poll of the country’s best green spaces. The park retained its title as Scotland’s best park for the fourth year running.

Community Green Flag Award Glasgow

We were excited to be awarded funding from the Postcode Local Trust for a specific project to help local communities achieve a Green Flag Award for their local green spaces. During the course of the year, we worked with seven different community groups in less affluent areas of Glasgow, providing guidance and support to help them improve the green spaces they care about.

Canal heritage

Through our canal heritage work we engaged over 50 volunteers and more than 220 young people, providing them with the opportunity to learn about their local canal environment and how to protect it. Through a programme of 22 guided walks, talks and events we have encouraged more than 360 people to make greater use of Scotland’s canals.

Beautiful Scotland

2019 was a great year for our Beautiful Scotland campaign with 38 groups from across Scotland participating, of which just over a quarter were from less affluent areas. The groups all did a fantastic job improving and enhancing their local areas and we were delighted to award North Berwick in Bloom as our overall winners, presenting them with the Rosebowl.

Britain in Bloom

We had six Beautiful Scotland groups enter the UK-wide RHS Britain in Bloom competition. We were thrilled when all six won awards, making Scotland the most successful part of the UK. We were also delighted when Beautiful Perth won the Champion of Champions award – the top award of the Britain in Bloom competition.

Case study

“Trying for a Beautiful Scotland Award is a powerful catalyst for action, and it really does bring the community together. So, whether you have been around for years or you are just starting up, we would certainly recommend giving it a try. You’ll find it will provide focus and a framework for planning and delivering excellence, and the result is clear – everyone comes out as a winner! Being part of the wider Beautiful Scotland family is a huge benefit too. Scotland as a whole punches ‘above its weight’ in UK competitions because of the support provided by the team at Keep Scotland Beautiful.”

Monica Straughan, Beautiful Perth

It’s Your Neighbourhood

2019 saw 175 different community groups across Scotland take part in It’s Your Neighbourhood, which we run in partnership with the RHS. The initiative supports and recognises communities who are cleaning and beautifying their neighbourhoods, and we were really pleased that more than a third of the groups who took part were in less affluent parts of Scotland. During the year, It’s Your Neighbourhood racked up more than 100,000 hours of volunteer time – a great achievement!

Helping Chivas Brothers be Responsib’All

In June 2019, we had a great time working with Scotch whisky business Chivas Bros. Along with our staff, almost 700 employees from the six Scottish offices took part in a litter pick, clearing up 730 bags of litter and flytipping. The strangest item found was an abandoned caravan on Dumbarton foreshore!

How clean is our environment?

During 2019/20, we carried out 5,849 individual audits across all of Scotland to measure how clean the places where we live and work are. These audits, and bespoke reports, support local authorities to understand the local environmental issues they are faced with and we provide information and recommendations on how to tackle problems such as litter, dog poo and graffiti.

This goal focuses on ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns. Our work supports four targets for this goal. These are about sustainable management and use of resources, sustainable reduction of waste, encouraging companies to adopt sustainable practices and reporting, and promoting universal understanding of sustainable lifestyles.

Targets supported:

12.2 Sustainable management and use of natural resource
12.5 Substantially reduce waste generation
12.6 Encourage companies to adopt sustainable practices and sustainability reporting
12.8 Promote universal understanding of sustainable lifestyles
single-use cups collected and recycled as part of our Cup Movement® in Glasgow
people involved in over 750 litter picks during our annual Spring Clean campaign
Clean Up Scotland Heroes awarded for their efforts to improve their local area

Reducing single-use cups in Glasgow

19 organisations in Glasgow joined our Cup Movement® and over a year 500,000 single-use cups were collected for recycling. Raising awareness of our single-use cup problem was a large part of the campaign, and along with city-wide advertising, we also went along to the TRNSMT festival, displaying our messages to their 120,000 strong audience.

Driving down roadside litter

During the year, we continued our campaign to tackle roadside litter. We were very pleased in April 2019 when the Scottish Government announced they would be bringing forward legislation to make car owners responsible for litter thrown from their vehicle, something we had been campaigning for since 2016.

5 stars for Wheatley

We continued our partnership with Wheatley Group, assessing 204 of their sites against a range of environmental quality indicators. We were delighted that 35 of their multi story flats achieved our 5* award. Alongside this, we also trained over 100 of Wheatley’s employees and tenants to carry out the environmental audits themselves.

National Award for Environmental Excellence®

We continued to work with organisations in Scotland to help them to improve their environmental performance by assessing them against the criteria for our National Award for Environment Excellence®. These included SP Energy Networks and Scotmid. We also worked with Queenscross Housing Association and Ochilview Housing Association to audit their properties again our national award criteria.

Clean Up Scotland

We were delighted that over 57,000 people took part in an activity to Clean Up Scotland during 2019/20. This led to a staggering 575 tonnes of litter being removed from our beautiful country. Of these people, we were pleased to note that 31,000 were young people and that 257 of the litter picks took place in the less affluent parts of Scotland.

Spring Clean 19

Our Spring Clean campaign is one of our favourite times of the year, and 2019 was no different. A particular highlight was our Source to Sea week which saw 2,000 people get involved in cleaning up local canals and Hubbub bring their fishing punt to Scotland, enabling almost 700 plastic bottles to be removed from our waterways.

Case study

“Scotmid are proud to have supported Keep Scotland Beautiful’s Clean Up Scotland campaign – the initiative matched our core values and principles as a responsible community retailer. As a co-operative, our main purpose is to serve communities and improve people’s everyday lives and, by reducing the amount of litter, we can take a positive step towards achieving those goals. Scotmid will continue to be committed to helping achieve a cleaner and more beautiful Scotland and we were proud of the impact our partnership made in the communities we serve.”

John Brodie, Scotmid Chief Executive

This goal is about us all taking urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts. A significant part of our work supports one of the five targets for this goal which is about building knowledge and capacity to mitigate, adapt and reduce the impact of climate change.

Targets supported:

13.3 Build knowledge and capacity to meet climate change
people involved in 87 Climate Challenge Fund projects
volunteer hours given to Climate Challenge Fund projects
Climate Emergency Training events held, which allowed 80 people to become accredited as Carbon Literate
Climate Challenge Fund training events run with 97 attendees
peer-to-peer networking events attended by 324 people

Big Climate Conversation

On behalf of the Scottish Government, we organised 143 Big Climate Conversation events attended by 2,500 people across Scotland. The conversations facilitated discussion about Scotland’s response to tackling the global climate emergency. We also held a Big Climate Conversation in our office, which fed into the Scottish Government’s ongoing consultation on climate change.

Striking for climate change

We were pleased to support the Climate Strikes led by young people which took place during the second half of 2019. We attended strikes in Edinburgh, Glasgow, Stirling and Dundee.

The Climate Challenge Fund

We distributed £6.2m of Climate Challenge Fund grants to communities across Scotland. Of this, 17% of projects were led by ethnic minority groups and 13% of projects were in areas of multiple deprivation.

A Circular Economy for Scotland

We responded to the Scottish Government’s consultation on Developing Scotland’s Circular Economy, and supported Scottish Environment LINK’s call for ambitious action to move Scotland towards being a waste-free society.

Climate Challenge Fund Gathering and Awards

We once again held our popular Climate Challenge Fund Gathering and Awards for community groups taking action on climate change. The Gathering was also available through a live webcast allowing 200 people from community groups the length and breadth of Scotland to celebrate and strengthen their local efforts to reduce carbon emissions. In the evening following the Gathering, we awarded Climate Challenge Fund ‘Climate Hero’ status to 20 volunteers.

Greening our charity

During the year, we continued our work on ‘greening’ our charity, running several events for staff including a clothes swap, level three cycle skills training and growing herbs and tomatoes. We also renewed our membership of Nextbike and continued our promotion of waste minimisation, including recycling packaging through Terracycle.

Climate emergency training

Since we became accredited as a Carbon Literacy Training Organisation in December 2018, we have supported over 700 people to gain their Carbon Literacy certification, including 468 through our Carbon Literacy for Communities training, 76 through our Carbon Literacy in Scotland course and 200 through our Climate Ready Classrooms programme.

Climate emergency training for community leaders and youth workers

In early 2020, we were excited to launch two new climate emergency courses for both community leaders and youth workers and funded by the Scottish Government. We have designed both courses to develop an understanding of climate change and the actions we can all take to tackle it.

Case study

“Once again we congratulate Keep Scotland Beautiful on its achievement. The only organisation in Scotland to hold a Gold Carbon Literate Organisation award and one of only four organisations across the whole of the UK to be fully accredited as a Carbon Literacy Training Organisation. The charity continues to lead the way in the development of low-carbon culture.”

Dave Coleman, Managing Director of The Carbon Literacy Project

This goal is about how we conserve and sustainable use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development. Goal 14 has been particularly relevant to our work during 2019 / 2020 as we continued work on our award winning Upstream Battle campaign – tackling marine litter at source. The target within this goal which is relevant to our work is about reducing marine pollution.

Targets supported:

14.1 Reduce marine pollution
school pupils involved in our Upstream Battle® campaign along the River Clyde
Anchor Groups carrying out litter surveys and litter picks
beaches presented with Scotland’s Beach Award

Beach Awards

During 2019 / 2020, we awarded 61 beaches across Scotland with our Beach Award. The award celebrates some of the best managed beaches in the country and acts as a benchmark for local environmental quality on Scotland’s coastline.

Case study

“Thanks to Keep Scotland Beautiful and the passion from a range of organisations, local authorities and individuals to achieve recognition through the Scottish Beach Awards, beach users can enjoy a wide range of spectacular environmentally considerate beach settings across the country.”

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland

Live lessons with Doug Allan

We were delighted to host two live lessons with our Upstream Battle® ambassador, Doug Allan. He provided fascinating sessions for both primary and secondary school children, talking about his first-hand experience of marine litter’s damaging impact and why he is so passionate about raising awareness of the problem.

A week of action

In September we kicked off our Upstream Battle week of action with a high-profile litter protest on the Squinty Bridge in Glasgow. Following this, an exciting week of activities took place across the River Clyde catchment which saw an amazing 400 bags of litter removed by over 300 people from in and around the river and its tributaries.

A winning campaign

A real high point of the year for us was when our Upstream Battle campaign won the Best Communications and Campaigns category at the Scottish Resources Awards.

Young Reporters for the Clyde

We received fantastic entries from the schools taking part in our Young Reporters for the Clyde competition, linked to our Upstream Battle campaign. The pupils produced impressive videos showing how litter discarded on land finds its way to the River Clyde and the negative impact it has.

Professional learning for teachers

Over 60 teachers from schools across the Clyde Valley area signed up to our Upstream Battle professional learning course. The course used source to sea litter to explore how STEM skills can be taught and saw all participants use their learning in their schools.

STEM the flow

We had a fantastic day at the Riverside Museum in Glasgow in June, when pupils from 17 primary and secondary schools across Glasgow and the West Partnership area showcased their engineering solutions to removing plastic from the River Clyde as part of our Upstream Battle STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) challenge with Education Scotland.

Case study

“Education Scotland is proud to be part of the steering group shaping this programme [Upstream Battle STEM the flow]. Innovative programmes such as this capture the imagination of pupils, helping our teachers to develop learners’ skills in both STEM and Learning for Sustainability in a meaningful way that is relevant to current world issues.”

Alan Armstrong, Strategic Director Education Scotland

For the Global Goals to be a success, partnership and working together is a key part of the process. Our work supports the target about encouraging and supporting effective partnerships.

Targets supported:

17.17 Encourage effective partnership
Scottish and UK-wide consultations responded to
motions raised by MSPs in the Scottish Parliament in support of our work
discussions held with MSPs on matters relating to our work

Progress against the Sustainable Development Goals

June 2019 saw a UK-wide report published, setting out progress against the Sustainable Development Goals. And, through the SDG Scotland Network, we contributed to a Scotland-specific progress report. We were delighted to see our work feature, with references made to Eco-School Scotland, Climate Ready Classrooms and our Cup Movement® in Glasgow.

Case study

“It would not have been possible for the network to secure Scotland’s first standalone review of progress toward the Global Goals without the continued commitment of Keep Scotland Beautiful as a key partner. The frequency and depth of Keep Scotland Beautiful’s engagement during the review, and indeed across all network activity, has been fundamental to achieving this milestone in Scotland.”

Paul Bradley, Coordinator of SDG Network Scotland

Working together to tackle single-use cups in Glasgow

We worked hard throughout the year to bring many businesses and organisations on board with our Cup Movement® in Glasgow. We were delighted when two leading shopping centres – Glasgow Fort and Buchannan Galleries – joined the movement and began to tackle cup waste on their sites.


In February 2020, as part of our Cup Movement®, we joined forces with Glasgow City Council and some of the country’s biggest coffee retailers. The campaign saw #TakeitBack recycling points installed across the city to encourage people to recycle their single-use cups.


We once again partnered with Greggs for our Spring Clean campaign. Greggs provided vouchers to those who took part in a clean up, for a free ‘treat’ to thank them for their effort.

International Costal Clean Up

During the year, we became the Scottish Coordinator for the International Coastal Clean Up. Becoming a coordinator allows us to connect, learn and network with a large team of experts in different fields.

New Environment Strategy

We welcomed the publication of the new Environment Strategy for Scotland in February 2020, setting out the Scottish Government’s long-term vision for the future of Scotland’s environment. We committed to playing as positive a role as possible in achieving the strategy’s ambitious outcomes and addressing the climate and nature emergencies.

Climate Emergency Training in China

We worked with the Scottish National Centre for Languages at Strathclyde University and the Confucius Institute to deliver climate emergency training to 12 teachers from China and eight from Scotland and to facilitate ongoing collaboration between Scottish and Chinese twinned schools.

Stirling University partnership

During the year we continued to work with Stirling University to provide learning opportunities and experiences for their students. We were also delighted to be offered, and take up, a place on their Management School’s Business Advisory Board.

Case study

“Our developing partnership with Keep Scotland Beautiful is very beneficial to the University of Stirling Management School. The various student consultancy projects and research opportunities provide excellent, real life learning experiences for our students during and after their studies, whilst helping Keep Scotland Beautiful to develop and improve behaviour change campaigns and initiatives. We are delighted that the charity is the sponsor of our Masters in Behavioural Science for Management student research prize.”

Lynn Whiteside, Employability Manager, University of Stirling Management School


2020 has presented us with a range of challenges, the magnitude of which we couldn’t have imagined a year ago. Yet as difficult as these have been, the experiences of recent months have only redoubled our determination to make Scotland a country which is clean, green and sustainable.

With the need to address the climate emergency still as urgent as ever, we will work to ensure that Scotland achieves a truly green and sustainable recovery from the pandemic. We will do this by increasing the reach of our Climate Emergency Training to people and businesses across Scotland, further expanding our Climate Ready Classrooms programme and continuing to support and fund inspiring community climate action.

The post-lockdown period has shone a light on communities who continue to face the blight of poor local environmental quality. Through our Clean Up Scotland campaign, audits and assessments, we will continue the fight against litter so that everyone can take pride in and benefit from the neighbourhoods where they live. We will also work with stakeholders and provide leadership to drive real improvements to local environmental quality across Scotland.

Finally, one undoubted positive of recent months has been an increasing recognition of the value of our places and their unique heritage, particularly in supporting our health and wellbeing. Over the next year, through our heritage activities and our support of community groups across Scotland improving their local neighbourhoods, we will work to make this year one in which we really did manage to reconnect people and places in a lasting and meaningful way.

We will continue to work in a collaborative, positive and ambitious way with the communities, schools, partners and supporters we are so fortunate to embrace as part of the wider #TeamKSBScot.

We’re here to support you to take action so please join us in 2021 as we celebrate our 21st year and get involved to support us in our efforts to keep Scotland beautiful.