What is SMEEF?

The Scottish Marine Environmental Enhancement Fund (SMEEF) is an innovative green finance vehicle that facilitates investment in marine and coastal restoration in Scotland. Through SMEEF users (and enthusiasts) of Scottish waters are able to voluntarily re-invest in the health and biodiversity of our seas by contributing to the Fund. The grants are then allocated on a competitive basis to restoration focused projects in Scotland. 

The unique placement of the Fund, which is managed by a Steering Group comprised of representatives from the Scottish Government, Crown Estate Scotland and NatureScot, provides exceptional insight and assures robust governance and transparency. 

SMEEF has already attracted the support and commitment of the offshore renewable energy sector. The Fund recently ran its first grant round allocating almost £700,000 to marine and coastal projects in Scotland.

If you have a grant enquiry please email us at grants@smeef.scot.  

SMEEF contributes to delivering the outcomes in the Scottish Government’s Blue Economy Vision. It adheres to the Principles for Responsible Investment in Natural Capital and is one of the nine pillars of the Nature Conservation £1 Billion Challenge and Route Map. SMEEF will also assist with the National Strategy for Economic Transition.

Download the SMEEF Prospectus to learn more or watch our 2 minute video.

Why do we need SMEEF?

The climate and biodiversity emergencies have both been recognised by the Scottish Government and the public profile of environmental issues has never been higher.

The Green Finance institute estimated cost to restore nature in the UK is £56 billion, the central estimate for Scotland is £20 billion. This is of course a huge amount and because we simply don’t have enough public money to pay for this, we need to find ways to bring private finance to the table.

SMEEF provides a timely opportunity for businesses to make an important contribution to meeting Scotland’s environmental targets and to supporting a green recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. SMEEF will also assist with the National Strategy for Economic Transition

The marine economy accounts for around 11% of the overall Scottish GVA*, equating to approximately £14.7 billion and this hugely important resource supports a wide range of growing industries, including:

  • Aquaculture where GVA increased by 58% to £354 million between 2013 and 2017,
  • Marine tourism where GVA increased by 28% and employment by 16% between 2008 and 2017,
  • Offshore wind, wave and tidal energy generation has increased by 142% between 2014 and 2018 and is set to increase further under ScotWind.

*GVA – Gross Value Added

SMEEF reflects the fact that Scotland’s seas are not only an incredibly rich resource of natural capital but also a shared space. Unfortunately, historically there has been limited emphasis on coastal and marine enhancement projects and associated funding and SMEEF is designed to help to rectify this.

Employment opportunities

Nature based solutions to the biodiversity and climate emergencies, such as those funded by SMEEF, have the potential to quickly increase the range of employment opportunities in some of the most remote and communities in Scotland. In fact, between 2015 and 2019 the green jobs sector grew at five times the rate of all other jobs and accounts for one-third of all jobs growth in Scotland.  The recent Dasgupta Review* stated that the potential Nature Based Solutions job creation rate is ten times the creation rate associated with fossil fuels. This massive potential will be targeted by SMEEF in partnership with the relevant Scottish enterprise agencies.

*The Economics of Biodiversity: The Dasgupta Review, February 2021, UK Government 

What will SMEEF achieve?

We will work to ensure that SMEEF is an effective, science led long-term funding mechanism that will:

  1. Restore marine habitats and address the biodiversity and climate emergencies
  2. Take a systems view, connecting interventions, considering full ecosystems and life cycles across the Scottish marine seascape
  3. Provide demonstrable corporate social responsibility opportunities, and
  4. Encourage wider research and development.

 Photos by ©Philip Price/seawilding.org (Image 1), ©Calum Duncan/Marine Conservation Society (Image 2) and ©Laurie Campbell/Nature Scot (Image 3)

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