May 2, 2024

New Foundational Economy online learning resource

New Foundational Economy online learning resource

Welsh Government are delighted to announce the launch of a new eLearning module on Community Wealth Building and the Foundational Economy. This engaging online resource aims to build understanding of what the Foundational Economy is; the benefits it can bring; and how it can be strengthened.

Jeremy Miles, Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Energy and Welsh Language explains:

“This online eLearning module is an excellent tool to better understand Community Wealth Building and place-based approaches, which can support and nourish the Foundational Economy, central to our Economic Mission. We all interact with the Foundational Economy (FE) every day, from the food we eat, the buildings we live and work in, and the services that we use. It is inseparable from our communities and our country, representing roughly 40% of the economy.

Building the necessary capability and skills to embed FE objectives across the Welsh public sector is crucial. By doing this we can maximise opportunities for our indigenous suppliers and build resilient, highly skilled supply chains – keeping the Welsh pound in our communities.

To do this, we recognise the need to provide the necessary toolsets and support for our public sector partners and practitioners.

I am pleased to announce the launch of this eLearning module and hope it is widely used to strengthen understanding, commitment and know-how to help our foundational sectors thrive.”

FAQs

How long does this eLearning module take?

There are eight sections to this course. We recommend completing the module in one sitting, which will take between 30 – 45 minutes.

Who is it for?

This module has been designed for anyone to take, whether interested citizens or those working in public, private and third sectors. We particularly recommend it to those who are involved in developing economic policies and projects, as well as those working in public sector procurement. The short course is designed to leave learners feeling more informed, confident and energised!

No specialist knowledge is required to take this module and it has been designed for anyone who is interested.

Where can I find out more?

Links to further reading can be found at the end of the module, which is available on the Learning Wales website.

New Foundational Economy online learning resource Read More »

Welcome to Wales in 2051

Over the next few weeks, Camille Løvgreen and Dr Karolina Rucinska will share six stories to inspire the existing generation to take a creative approach to solving issues that previous generations left for us to solve.

Inspired by CAST’s social visions of low-carbon futures report, the manifesto by the Ministry of Imagination, Ciprian Sipos’ posts about future jobs, and Climate Outreach, Karolina and Camille hope to show readers that everyone can play a huge role in achieving a sustainable present and future.

More importantly, through these stories, they want to focus on the role of skills and enabling environments to illustrate that we need all kinds of ideas, people, and institutions working together as one creative hive mind. These stories make up part of Karolina and Camille’s current work on green skills, alongside a series of green skills events and advice sessions.

Here is what they said:

“Nothing moves us like a good story. Through storytelling, we can imagine the future we are working towards, build hope and momentum, and come together to take collective action. These six characters and their setting let us talk, creatively, about big ideas without using big words. This makes it possible for everyone to see how they fit into the current and future world visions.” – Karolina

“The idea of exploring these characters through an imagined society with different operating structures and a different priority on the way we live is not only to imagine what a healthy coexistence between people and planet may look like, but to explore how quality of life can improve with a deeper connection to the people around us.” – Camille 

What can you expect?

The stories start by setting the scene for what it is like to live in Wales in 2051. 

Each week, they introduce a character who describes their day. In doing so, they talk about things that have always mattered to us as human beings: home, food, community, education, health, safety, and a sense of belonging. 

These characters are:

  • Adi – a civil engineer with an expertise in environmental resilience
  • Cameron – a young school boy, friend of Adi and son of Luke
  • Luke – a family man and business owner
  • Aman – a community farmer
  • Cleo – a doctor
  • Gwen-Eddo – a policy-maker 
  • The narrator, whose name is unknown, who works as a correspondent for a leading news agency

Each story leads on to the next, showing how we are all connected directly and indirectly and can positively influence each other’s lives.

They kick off the story by setting the scene in which a correspondent sends a message to editors of a leading news agency about the tour around Wales in…2051!

Read on for the first edition in the series…

Setting the Scene

In this first post, Karolina and Camille outline the world as they see it in 2051.

It’s 2051, just a year after what leaders of the past called the Net Zero deadline. Although the emissions continued to reduce over the decades, only a few benefited from the shift to low-carbon economies. Why? Worldwide, the transition was a disaster. There was a lack of planning, of imagination and foresight, of inclusion and system thinking… Everything that was not meant to happen…happened. Between 2024 and 2035, the world experienced mass unemployment, instability, closure of borders, the collapse of ecosystems, barren agricultural fields, reversal of human rights, and the collapse of economies.

A year after the big two-oh-five-zero, a leading news agency correspondent visited nations worldwide to see how they were doing. Most people had forgotten what 2050 was about, but a few remembered. 

Here is the reporter’s correspondence to the editors:

I have made it at last. 
As you know, Wales, like other nations, was not spared. But…after a decade of the Great Discontent, when everything seemed to be going wrong, from the economy to the environment to social systems, they did something spectacular – and yet pretty simple. Here is what I have been able to gather so far. 
Firstly, they – that is, everyone from school teachers to policymakers to community leaders and influencers – took the lessons from what had gone wrong. Some outcomes were their own doing, and some were not. In fact, many were the result of actions by previous generations, some going back hundreds of years! Because there was nobody left from those generations to blame, a farmer called Anam told me, it was a blessing in disguise. They could move past talking about the problems facing their communities, and towards taking action to fix them! One of the inspiring people I met, Adi, said, “We knew there was no point in just talking about our problems any longer, as we could not change the past, and we are living in the reality of them today.”
Secondly, they went back to the recommendations their predecessors had made over the decades and decided to finally implement them, keeping in line with the principles of sustainable development. Their leaders, from all political parties, communities and businesses, adopted the mantra, “We are better than division, we are better than fear, and greed, we are a nation of sanctuary to people and nature, we can't live without nature and we can't rebuild lives without people.” I thought this was pretty inspiring, but I wasn't sure how real it was. 
Well, I saw for myself that they implemented the Well-being of Future Generations Act, which they had dug up from decades-old documentation, to its full! They started by acting on what mattered to them the most. One of the leaders, a business owner named Luke, told me: “When we remind ourselves we are the homo resilient, living here in service of this planet and honouring the past and the present, we achieve all and more than our predecessors dreamt about.”
I know what you are thinking: "Ah, of course someone would say that if they knew they were going to be interviewed by a leading news agency.” I thought that too, but just wait until you hear more. 
Sorry for this short message. But having spent just one day here, I think these folks have mastered the art of the possible. 
This is all I have to say for now. I will update you again in a week!

Would you like to know more about Wales in 2051? Next week’s story follows Adi, a civil engineer, who spends a day showing the news correspondent around. 

Welcome to Wales in 2051 Read More »

Foundational Economy in Action: Excellence in Public Sector Food 

Foundational Economy in Action: Excellence in Public Sector Food 

The Foundational Economy is the backbone of everyday life in Wales, providing essential goods and services to everyone. These include health and social care, food, housing, energy and utilities, construction, retailers on the high street, and tourism. The Foundational Economy is supported by a range of businesses, from small and medium-sized enterprises to large companies such as privatised utilities, mobile companies, and major supermarkets. It is estimated that the Foundational Economy provides employment for four out of every ten people in Wales and contributes to £1 out of every £3 spent in the country. 

A strong foundational economy ensures that essential human needs are available to everyone, regardless of their location, income or status. Supporting the foundational economy is a top priority in the Welsh government’s mission of economic resilience and reconstruction, which aims to create thriving communities and businesses throughout Wales. The Welsh Government’s Economic Action Plan encourages collaboration to address inequalities, promote inclusivity, and drive economic development, supporting business decisions. Building on the success of the 2021 Welsh Government’s Foundation Economy Challenge Fund, the Backing Local Firms Fund aims to support local businesses in delivering the products and services required by the public sector, creating better job opportunities closer to home. 

The Welsh Government’s “Backing Local Firms Fund” has financed various projects in the food sector to increase the amount of Welsh food served on public plates. The grant aims to support local food producers and suppliers in providing local, sustainable, and healthy food to schools, hospitals, and other public sector institutions. By promoting the production and consumption of local food, we can reduce our environmental impact and encourage sustainable practices in Wales. 

Cynnal Cymru is showcasing three of the public sector food-focused projects, all aiming to strengthen Wales’s Foundational Economy. To learn more, please see the case studies below:

Castell Howell Foods

Velindre University NHS Trust

Can Cook

Foundational Economy in Action: Excellence in Public Sector Food  Read More »

School children stand with a beekeeper around a bee hive.

Foundational Economy Capability Networks: Castell Howell Foods

Castell Howell Foods 

How the supply chain can collaborate to instigate change that leaves a social, environmental, and economic legacy. 

As an indigenous Welsh food company, Castell Howell is very much at the centre of this foundational economy.  

Serving both private and public sector hospitality and food service providers in Wales and beyond, the company recognises its responsibility to be agents for change, working towards the goals of the Economic Action Plan. 

‘Optimising the Welsh food system necessitates a focus on onshoring production for enhanced social value and nutritional content. This entails aligning menus with seasonal harvests, improving yield and supply chain data, and extending produce shelf life. Collaborative efforts will foster a more resilient system that empowers our farmers, delivers nutritious meals to the public sector, and minimises risk. While cost and efficiency challenges exist, a pragmatic approach focused on long-term objectives can yield significant benefits. Transparent procurement practices that prioritise not just price point, but also social value, environmental impact, and community engagement are essential.’

Edward Morgan – Group Corporate Social Responsibility & Training Manager, Castell Howell Foods 

This case study highlights four independent yet interlinked projects that demonstrate how the supply chain can collaborate to instigate change that leaves a social, environmental and economic legacy within the foundational economy and beyond. 

1. Locally Grown Veg to Cardiff Food and Fun – ‘The Courgette Pilot’ 

In the summer of 2022 Castell Howell (CHF) collaborated with growers Blas Gwent, Food Sense Wales and Cardiff Council to deliver locally-grown vegetables to the Welsh Government funded and WLGA managed Summer Food & Fun programme.  

A series of images of children cooking in a school setting with vegetables.

Courgettes grown near Cardiff were delivered to 22 local schools, and CHF’s development chef worked with the Council’s nutritional team to create dishes that were nutritionally balanced, palatable, and attractive to the children. The summer programme included activities such as cooking demonstrations and vegetable art. 

Food Sense Wales published a report highlighting the efficacy of the pilot and how the inclusion of locally-grown vegetables in school meals can reduce environmental impacts and benefit both the grower and the children.  

Image from Food Sense Wales Report – Courgette Pilot 

Follow this link to find out more.

The Courgette Project – Phase 2 

Phase 2 extended beyond Cardiff Council to Monmouthshire and Carmarthenshire, and included three small-scale vegetable growers: Blas Gwent (Wentloog), Langtons Farm (Crickhowell), and Bonvilston Edge (Bonvilston). Their vegetables were used for the Summer Food & Fun project by all three local authorities, with a longer-term project in Monmouthshire extending to their autumn and winter menus. To ensure that food safety was maintained, Tyfu Cymru/Farming Connect delivered safety and process training. 

An online call with several attendees. A shared presentation reads Harvesting: We need to know what has been harvested, when and was it done safely. The Harvest Record checks equipment (knives, field rigs, tractors) to make sure they are intact and clean and will not contaminate the produce. It also records the quantity harvested from which break/field.
Several people stand in a large greenhouse with tall plants around them.
Managing the Supply Chain 

Yield forecasts, menus and harvesting all had to be aligned, and allow for flexibility for seasonal variations. Authentic Foods (Hirwaun) were contracted to grow vegetables to be harvested, prepared, and, after a programme of new product development work, included in kitchen-prepared, multi-portion meals to the public sector. Dialogues with local authority catering teams on nutritional compliance, acceptability, palatability, pricing and the practicality of using school kitchens were essential to the project’s success, and in May 2023 the partners met at Langtons Farm, where a commitment was made to plant 1,000 cauliflowers to harvest in early 2024, for use in school-compliant multi-portion meals from March 2024 onwards. 

Lab results for the micronutrients for the meals developed at Authentic were of particular interest. Except for the standard Welsh Tom Pizza sauce, the results seem in line with expectations. Particularly good to see the addition of the Welsh grown spinach and chard boosting the iron and zinc values of the Cauli Cheese meal. It’s not clear what portion size a primary school child would eat, however it is hoped that the 20% added would exceed the 3g of these micronutrients that is a general baseline. 

The Welsh Beef Bolognaise (with the added spinach/chard base) seems to perform well too. 

Provided that the children are ok with 20% added Cauliflower Cheese meal (not too green looking etc), this could be great news for our cohort of growers, helping us to narrow down what can be grown well and profitably  in Wales for a target customer i.e. schools. 

  Welsh Tom Pizza Topping With 10% Spinach With 20% Spinach With 10% Chard Knorr Tom Basil Sauce Maggi (Nestle) Rich & Rustic Tin Chopp/Plum Toms Welsh Beef and Welsh Bolognese Welsh Cauli Cheese With 10% mixed leaves With 20% mixed leaves With 10% spinach 
Energy KJ/100g 168 155 161 150 213 257 80 354 359 337 329 337 
Protein g/100g 1.8 1.8 2.1 1.8 1.2 1.4 1.1 5.5 3.4 3.5 3.5 3.4 
Fat g/100g 0.3 0.2 0.3 0.3 1.1 2.8 0.1 4.6 5.3 4.9 4.5 4.8 
Sugars g/100g 5.2 4.5 4.4 4 6.9 5.7 3.8 2.7 2.7 2.4 2.3 2.3 
Fibre g/100g 2.6 2.5 2.4 2.7 0.7 1.1 0.8 2.8 1.6 2 2.33 1.7 
Sodium mg/100g 204 202 183 169 n/a n/a n/a 292 220 213 231 198 
Zinc mg/100g <2.00 2.23 3.37 3.78 n/a n/a n/a 11.6 5.56 8.65 11.3 5.62 
Iron mg/100g 7.17 5.41 6.22 6.13 n/a n/a n/a 7.84 1.81 3.54 5.53 2.74 

 2. Gower Grown Veg, Field to Fork  

In collaboration with Swansea Local Authority, Bishopston Secondary school and 4theregion, Castell Howell developed a pilot local supply chain for vegetables grown in Gower to feature on the menu at Bishopston school. The school held a fortnight of food-based activities in lessons, a school visit to the growers, and helped with the development of meals that featured on a Gower Grown school menu. 

This project helped raise awareness of nutrition, environmental impact, financial fairness across the supply chain and local food resilience.  

3. Sustainable supply chains, and ‘Scope 3’ on menus 

Food miles and Scope 3 supply chain emissions are inextricably linked. Working with hospitality providers to decide on menu options, and then with suppliers, can reduce the total environmental impact of the products. 

An example of the circular economy in action was demonstrated by the collaboration between Celtic Pride, CHF’s premium Welsh beef supplier run by the Rees family from Bryn Farm, in Pendoylan, Vale of Glamorgan, and NFU Energy. Bryn Farm received biosolids from Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, a by-product that is a rich source of nutrients and allowed the farm to reduce the need for synthetic fertilisers, which is one of the biggest challenges faced by the agricultural sector. 

An online call with several attendees. A shared presentation reads Navigating Scope 3.
Communicating the Positive Benefits to Stakeholders 

CHF promotes the environmental and social benefits of a sustainable supply chain to stakeholders through positive messaging on menus, supported by further information accessed via QR codes. 

A Sustainably Sourced Menu for a Farming Conference 

In collaboration with Cardiff Catering, CHF developed a sustainably sourced menu for the 2022 Nuffield Conference banquet. The key suppliers adopted a range of environmental objectives, including a Farm Carbon Audit with the beef farmer, net-zero potatoes, Gower-grown vegetables and cheese from regenerative farms. This film shows how the menu was created with sustainability at its heart and showcases the sustainability journey of the food producers, as well as highlighting how this was communicated to the diners. 

4. Digestibility and Nutrient Density Project 

There is a growing acceptance of the health risks posed by ultra-processed foods. CHF partnered with Aberystwyth University on a Welsh Government funded project to develop prepared meals for NHS Wales that demonstrate that nutritional, environmental, social and commercial goals need not be mutually exclusive.  

The outcomes were achieved with a range of multi-portion meals following a new and innovative product development pipeline, which included measuring the true nutritional quality of the new meals, via amino acid compositional analysis and in-vitro gastrointestinal protein digestibility scores. Protein derived from UK grown pulses was successfully substituted for red meat, ensuring that the meals still met the required nutritional standards.  

The project found that a range of flexitarian or “hybrid” meals, based on well-established and recognised meals but substituting plant-based protein sources for meat wherever possible, were the most viable in meeting the requirements. Where meat was used this was predominantly pasture-grazed Welsh beef aligned with Hybu Cig Cymru’s ‘Welsh Way’ vision of lower carbon protein derived from Welsh livestock. However the increasing price of meat since the start of the project underlined the important commercial aspects of “hybrid” foods that contain an element of Welsh meat alongside UK grown pulses. 

————————————————————————————————————– 

I cannot overstate the importance of these projects, in terms of developing the supply chain, generating product development and providing more Welsh products to Welsh schools.

Edward Morgan – Group Corporate Social Responsibility & Training Manager, Castell Howell Foods 

  

We at Cynnal Cymru are excited to keep you informed about the progress of this work. 

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Foundational Economy Capability Networks: Castell Howell Foods Read More »

A person stands with a bag full of vegetables among crates of carrots and other vegetables.

Foundational Economy Capability Networks: Velindre University NHS Trust

Velindre University NHS Trust 

Enabling a FutureGen-ready food system  

The link between healthy food and patient recovery may seem an obvious one, but in 2023 staff at Velindre University NHS Trust (Velindre) set out to explore this relationship in more detail – and to find ways to maximise the benefits that a healthy food system can bring to patients, hospital staff and beyond. Chris Moreton, Deputy Director for Finance at Velindre, explains more. 

The Challenge:  

The current food system in Wales is facing multiple challenges that affect everyone. These include climate change, nature loss, a declining rural economy and food security. 

Agriculture in Wales is currently responsible for about 14% of Wales’s greenhouse gas emissions, whilst the move towards more intensive farming processes, to accommodate changing diets and consumer demand, reduces land fertility, contributes to negative impacts on surrounding air and waterways and is a key driver of biodiversity loss.  

Years of intensification in agriculture have left rural communities poorer and less stable, negatively impacting the well-being of farming communities. In addition, an over-reliance on an increasingly fragile global food system has contributed to rising food prices, food poverty and inequality.  

This in itself has knock-on effects for the NHS, but Wales is also seeing an increase in diet-related disease, exacerbated by a lack of affordable, accessible, fresh produce being eaten in the home and workplace. These diseases include Type II diabetes, cancers, cardiac and vascular diseases, strokes, and joint problems. 

The Opportunity:  

The Welsh public sector spends £97m on food for schools, hospitals, and social care, with Velindre’s annual food budget alone standing at c.£22 million. 

Chris believes that the NHS in Wales has the opportunity to lead the promotion of environmentally and socially responsible public sector food sourcing. By supplying local, good quality and sustainably-produced food, it can improve the health and well-being of patients, staff, and their families, as well as reducing ecological harm and supporting a fairer and more resilient Welsh food sector.  

This mission aligns with the goals of the Well-being of Future Generations Act, the Welsh Government’s ‘Buying Food Fit for the Future’ initiative, Velindre’s duty of actioning Socially Responsible Public Procurement, and contributes towards the ambition of reaching Net Zero by 2030.  

These mutually-reinforcing ambitions are contained in the project’s objectives: 

  1. Increased access to healthy and affordable food will lead to better health outcomes. 
  1. The food supply chain will be shorter, more resilient, and will have minimal environmental impact while providing value for money. 
  1. The Trust will have more spaces where people can learn about and enjoy food. 
  1. There will be a reduction in food waste and the ecological footprint. 
  1. Partnerships will lead to the development of vibrant local food economies and communities. 

Velindre aims to make food a well-being priority for its patients and staff through increasing access to healthy food options at a reasonable price both inside and outside of work. This includes the introduction of “Well-being Wednesdays” and a veg box scheme – which proved successful during the pandemic – to promote healthy eating habits.  

Menu redesign will be evaluated, starting with the restaurant at Velindre Cancer Centre, to explore opportunities to integrate seasonal and organic ingredients, using tools such as meat reduction and use of non-branded projects to help maximise budgets.  

By working directly with suppliers, the project aims to ensure that ethical sourcing and fair-trade options will also be explored where Welsh produce is not available. Skills, training and education will be a key pillar in the project both in terms of roles linked to food – from cooks to procurement – to broader staff engagement to help staff make informed decisions about food in work and wider life. 

Beyond that, by providing visible leadership through its food mission, Chris hopes that Velindre can lead by example across the public sector in Wales to help drive regional collaboration and alignment around food sourcing, promoting agroecological food production and unlocking opportunities for innovation. 

A person stands with a large bag among crates full of carrots and other vegetables. A board on the back reads Greengrocer.

Next steps:  

The project has been developed with the support of Welsh Government’s Backing Local Firms Fund that supports the development of key foundational sectors such as food.  

Staff buy-in for this project is already high, with staff workshops indicating near-unanimous support for the food mission. This provides a key resource for consistent messaging around the benefits of the proposed changes.  

Chris explains that “Clear, consistent messaging and collaboration with suppliers, producers and partners such as Cwm Taf Morgannwg’s Central Processing Unit will be critical to creating the conditions that allow people to commit to change.”  

An Action Plan is currently being developed to help operationalise the project’s goals and embed them into Velindre’s operations. Whilst some performance indicators exist and can easily be measured, such as percentages of food coming from local suppliers, food waste reduction, staff accessing veg boxes and average days for patient recovery, others will need development, including a Patient Reported Outcome Measure for food and the Social Return on Investment for the local food economy. 

Chris believes that this whole-system approach is necessary both to tackle the challenges within the current food system and to demonstrate the full range of benefits that can be delivered by values-based healthcare. We look forward to reporting more as the project progresses. 

Foundational Economy Capability Networks: Velindre University NHS Trust Read More »

Foundational Economy Capability Networks: Can Cook

Can Cook 

Well Fed – MealLockers / Plastic-free and Net Zero Programme 

 “We all want a food system that wants to feed children and people good food. Ultra-processed-free has everything to do with people’s health, we match the price and impove the quality.” – Robbie Davison, Director of Can Cook. 

Can Cook, a social enterprise, is tackling food poverty and unhealthy eating habits in Wales by providing fresh, nutritious cooked from scratch meals at affordable prices. Their “Well Fed” programme includes initiatives like Cook-at-Home meal boxes, mobile shops, and Meals on Wheels.  

With support from Welsh Government’s Backing Local Firms Fund, a recent focus has been to develop and improve 3 new aspects of delivery: plastic-free vending machines (eatTAINABLE) ‘MealLockers’  and a Net Zero emissions-reduction programme with solar energy integration. 

The Challenge 

One of Wales’s key public health challenges concerns food poverty and rising childhood obesity rates. 1 in 4 children born in 2022 will be obese by age 5 in Wales and over 50% of the UK population cannot afford a shop based on fresh produce. Ultra-processed foods (UPFs) are prevalent in the average weekly shop and also dominate school meals.  

Robbie explains that the project came about after identifying that, despite meeting nutritional standards, the majority of food eaten by children at school is ultra-processed. “If ultra-processed foods help schools meet nutritional standards, then we are in the wrong place.” he concludes. “Our primary concern is feeding children well. We are looking at everything in the supply chain to eliminate UPFs and preliminary the big issue in cooking at scale is the stocks, gravies and sauces” 

Having identified the main ingredient to change in their meals – stock – the Can Cook team went about developing a UPF-free alternative. The solution is a stock made from mushrooms, sourced from a local farm, that can be cooked at scale, stays within budget, and with the same taste and properties as commercial alternatives.  

This demonstrated to the team that the elimination of UPF ingredients is possible. All the meals provided by Can Cook are now UPF-free and the project helps others avoid these in their wider diet also by teaching people how to cook from scratch. 

Another challenge concerning the Can Cook team is that isolated communities often lack access to fresh, nutritious food options. Traditional catering methods can be impractical for these areas.  

Can Cook’s solution includes an initiative to dispense fresh, healthy pre-prepared meals to isolated communities through MealLockers located in public spaces. They are also developing a plastic-free vending approach dispensing meals in returnable, microwavable stainless-steel containers – an innovation targeting workspaces and is convenient and accessible to customers, whilst also reducing waste and energy in reheating.  

To help reduce thier own carbon footprint, Can Cook is moving their production kitchen towards Net Zero through the installation of solar panels by June 2024 to reduce reliance on non-renewable electricity by 60%. 

Looking forward: 

For the future, Robbie notes that continued efforts are needed to identify reliable suppliers of UPF-free ingredients for large-scale production. He also believes the MealLockers model has huge potential to expand to efficiently deliver healthy meals to more locations, including schools, hospitals and rural areas, which public sector commissioning could support. He explains: 

“To truly benefit public health, it is vital that public sector commissioning moves towards encouraging and protecting quality and social value. We believe that a social food model for public sector contracts is needed now, to make sure everyone can eat well, regardless of income.” 

The Can Cook team believe there is huge potential for initiatives like these to make a significant contribution to public health in Wales and further afield. We at Cynnal Cymru are excited to keep you informed about the progress of this work. 

Robbie Davison – Director of Can Cook 

Foundational Economy Capability Networks: Can Cook Read More »

May events: Green skills and your workplace

All upcoming Cynnal Cymru events can be booked via Ticketsource

Session 1: What do we mean by green skills and why are they needed?

Tuesday 14th May | 1pm | Online

Hosts: Karolina Rucinska and Camille Lovgreen

Green economy, green jobs, and green skills! What’s the difference and what do they mean in practice? Are these just for engineers and energy specialists or can anyone acquire these skills? Why they matter to every business and how they can help address changing legislation around energy, waste and social impact?

‘Green skills’ are the competencies required to create greater resilience and adapt to an environmentally flourishing and socially just present and future. Noticeably, these skills are broad and vary from technical to soft skills. Yet, many soft skills, ranging from the ability to think creatively, empathetically and analytically, are crucial for transition as they enable a reimagination of current ways of doing to allow new system designs that address the challenges we face as a society.

This session will:

  • Unpick key terms related to green skills so we can all better understand the skills we need for a future-fit society – how to nurture them and why they are important. It also outlines the main Welsh organisations that provide training and support in relation to climate, nature, and social justice.
  • Touch upon opportunities associated with green skills.
  • Provide useful names of organisations and resources to employees and employers alike.
  • Explore how green skills can help stay ahead of different legislation for environmental protection and just workforce conditions.

And of course, the session gives a chance to exchange contact details to make the most of this networking opportunity!


Postponed and merged with session 3

Session 2: Green recruitment and inclusive job descriptions

Tuesday 21st May | 1pm | Online

Hosts: Karolina Rucinska and Camille Lovgreen

This session focuses on how to rewrite job descriptions to be more inclusive and attract a wider pool of green talent, emphasizing skills beyond just technical expertise. It will cover:

  • Identifying Unconscious Bias: Recognise language that might exclude potential candidates with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and communication styles. Offer alternatives for commonly biased terms and highlight the value of empathy and cultural understanding in sustainability work.
  • Highlighting Green Skills: Showcase the specific green skills required for the role, including creativity in problem-solving, system thinking for holistic approaches, and strong communication skills for building partnerships with diverse stakeholders.
  • Action-Oriented Language: Reframe job descriptions to focus on the impact of the role, promoting inclusivity and building a more sustainable future.
  • Inclusive Hiring Practices: Briefly discuss strategies for ensuring diverse interview panels and accessible application processes, emphasizing the importance of recognising the value of different perspectives for achieving sustainable solutions.

Please bring your own challenges and experiences to share.


Session 3: Greening every job

Tuesday 28th May | 1pm | Online

Hosts: Karolina Rucinska and Camille Lovgreen

This session explores how every job in a company can contribute to sustainability goals, emphasising broader green skills beyond technical expertise. It will cover:

  • Sustainability Integration: Discuss how seemingly unrelated roles can contribute to making the company more environmentally aligned and socially just. For example
    • Marketing & Sales: Highlight the importance of storytelling to engage customers with sustainability and collaboration with design teams to ensure products and services are truthful and do not perpetuate overconsumption and inequalities.
    • Finance & Accounting: Show how life cycle and circular economy principles (system thinking) can be integrated into financial decisions; and how to ensure investments are ethical and long-term.
    • Workforce Development: Explore strategies for building a fulfilled, diverse and inclusive green workforce.
    • Front of house, shopfloor and admin roles: Highlight the importance of the client facing roles in demonstrating the sustainable values of any organisation; ; and highlight the value of the on-the-ground knowledge that can aide in creating realistic solutions.
  • Everyday Green Practices: Offer practical tips for integrating sustainability principles into daily work routines while promoting collaboration and inclusivity (people skills).

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