Learning from the best: how we’re building a fairer and more inclusive country

This week a report from the World Economic Forum found that most of the top ten most inclusive economies in the world are small European countries. In contrast, the UK was 21st. 

In Scotland, we are working to build a more inclusive economy, where the benefits of economic growth are more fairly shared across society and where our natural resources are used sustainably.

To do that we’re learning from the best in the world. Here’s how.



The first in Europe to introduce a plastic bottle deposit scheme, in 1994, Sweden is amongst the best in the world when it comes to recycling.

The Scottish Government will now introduce a deposit return scheme for bottles and cans – making Scotland the first part of the UK to do so.



Norway is a world-leader on electric vehicles – half of all new car registrations in Norway are now for electric or hybrid vehicles.

We will now seek to emulate this success in Scotland by removing the need for petrol and diesel cars by 2032 – eight years ahead of the rest of the UK.



In 1938 Finland introduced a Baby Box, providing parents with essential items for the first weeks of a newborn babies lives and to encourage them to accept support from doctors and nurses.

Scotland’s Baby Box was rolled out across the country in 2017 and aims to help tackle deprivation, improve health and support parents



The Netherlands regularly tops the leaderboard for the most cycle friendly country in Europe, with 32 per cent of all journeys in Amsterdam made by bike.

We have an ambitious plan to shift to a low carbon transport sector so this year funding for walking and cycling in Scotland will be doubled to £80 million a year.



Cycling without Age started in Denmark to help older people enjoy the benefits of cycling. It’s now set for a national roll-out in Scotland thanks to Scottish Government funding for active travel.



In a world-first, Norway introduced quotas for gender balance on boards in 2007. As a result the proportion of women on boards increased from just 6 per cent in 2002 to 42 per cent in 2016.

While most equality laws remain reserved to Westminster, the Scottish Government is using new powers to introduce quotas to increase the number of women on public sector boards in Scotland. The new law will reach its final stage next week.