Climate Change

The Three Questions – Supercool

Since 2004 Supercool have been collaborating with ambitious, forward-thinking clients – from big music venues to intimate theatres, global touring companies to local festivals – on websites, digital applications, digital strategy and consultancy, and branding projects.

Who you are and what your organisation does?

Katie Parry – a co-owner and director at digital design agency, Supercool. We craft beautiful, accessible, and performant websites for arts and culture sector clients across Wales, England, and Scotland.

What has Carbon Literacy training done for you and the organisation?

On the personal side, the Carbon Literacy training offered by Sustain Wales has given me a good understanding of – and ability to talk with others about – the basics of climate change. I now feel more confident discussing it with friends and family.

My personal pledge was about eating and drinking more locally/sustainably. Since becoming carbon literate, I’ve reduced the amount of meat I eat, I buy more produce locally, and have switched from supermarket plastic bottled milk to local milk delivery in reusable glass bottles.

As for work, making my ‘group pledge’ related to our work at Supercool is a great motivator to get it done! My pledge was to write a guide to having sustainable in-person meetings, and I’m hoping to get this written and published over the next couple of months.

Thinking about your organisations journey with sustainability. What would your advice be for a business starting down this road? (3 top tips)

1) Work out your business’s carbon footprint – there are lots of online tools that can help you with this

2) Review and reduce your energy consumption – from small things like using LED lightbulbs in the office, to big things like ditching the office altogether.

3) Make sustainability an intrinsic part of your company – we’ve seen business benefits including improved recruitment and retention, and it’s helped us to win new clients too.


“I found the Carbon Literacy course run by Sustain Wales an enjoyable and time-efficient way to boost my knowledge and confidence around climate change, and what we can all do about it.”

Katie Parry

You can find out more about Supercool’s sustainable journey, by reading the following blog posts:

Sustainability Update + 2022 Action Plan | Supercool (supercooldesign.co.uk)

Carbon Footprint Update – 2022 | Supercool (supercooldesign.co.uk)

To find out how Carbon Literacy training can benefit your business, visit our training web page or contact training@cynnalcymru.com.

The evidence is clear: the time for action is now. We can halve emissions by 2030

However, there is increasing evidence of climate action, said scientists in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report released today.

Since 2010, there have been sustained decreases of up to 85% in the costs of solar and wind energy, and batteries. An increasing range of policies and laws have enhanced energy efficiency, reduced rates of deforestation and accelerated the deployment of renewable energy.

“We are at a crossroads. The decisions we make now can secure a liveable future. We have the tools and know-how required to limit warming,” said IPCC Chair Hoesung Lee.  “I am encouraged by climate action being taken in many countries. There are policies, regulations and market instruments that are proving effective.  If these are scaled up and applied more widely and equitably, they can support deep emissions reductions and stimulate innovation.”

The Summary for Policymakers of the IPCC Working Group III report, Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of climate change was approved on April 4 2022by 195 member governments of the IPCC, through a virtual approval session that started on March 21. It is the third instalment of the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report (AR6), which will be completed this year.

We have options in all sectors to at least halve emissions by 2030

Limiting global warming will require major transitions in the energy sector. This will involve a substantial reduction in fossil fuel use, widespread electrification, improved energy efficiency, and use of alternative fuels (such as hydrogen).

“Having the right policies, infrastructure and technology in place to enable changes to our lifestyles and behaviour can result in a 40-70% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. This offers significant untapped potential,” said IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Priyadarshi Shukla. “The evidence also shows that these lifestyle changes can improve our health and wellbeing.”

Cities and other urban areas also offer significant opportunities for emissions reductions.  These can be achieved through lower energy consumption (such as by creating compact, walkable cities), electrification of transport in combination with low-emission energy sources, and enhanced carbon uptake and storage using nature. There are options for established, rapidly growing and new cities.

“We see examples of zero energy or zero-carbon buildings in almost all climates,” said IPCC Working Group III Co-Chair Jim Skea. “Action in this decade is critical to capture the mitigation potential of buildings.”

Reducing emissions in industry will involve using materials more efficiently, reusing and recycling products and minimising waste. For basic materials, including steel, building materials and chemicals, low- to zero-greenhouse gas production processes are at their pilot to near-commercial stage.

This sector accounts for about a quarter of global emissions. Achieving net zero will be challenging and will require new production processes, low and zero emissions electricity, hydrogen, and, where necessary, carbon capture and storage.

Agriculture, forestry, and other land use can provide large-scale emissions reductions and also remove and store carbon dioxide at scale. However, land cannot compensate for delayed emissions reductions in other sectors.  Response options can benefit biodiversity, help us adapt to climate change, and secure livelihoods, food and water, and wood supplies.

The next few years are critical

In the scenarios we assessed, limiting warming to around 1.5°C (2.7°F) requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by 43% by 2030; at the same time, methane would also need to be reduced by about a third. Even if we do this, it is almost inevitable that we will temporarily exceed this temperature threshold but could return to below it by the end of the century.

“It’s now or never, if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C (2.7°F),” said Skea. “Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, it will be impossible.”

The global temperature will stabilise when carbon dioxide emissions reach net zero. For 1.5°C (2.7°F), this means achieving net zero carbon dioxide emissions globally in the early 2050s; for 2°C (3.6°F), it is in the early 2070s.  

This assessment shows that limiting warming to around 2°C (3.6°F) still requires global greenhouse gas emissions to peak before 2025 at the latest, and be reduced by a quarter by 2030.

Closing investment gaps

The report looks beyond technologies and demonstrates that while financial flows are a factor of three to six times lower than levels needed by 2030 to limit warming to below 2°C (3.6°F), there is sufficient global capital and liquidity to close investment gaps. However, it relies on clear signalling from governments and the international community, including a stronger alignment of public sector finance and policy.

“Without taking into account the economic benefits of reduced adaptation costs or avoided climate impacts, global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) would be just a few percentage points lower in 2050 if we take the actions necessary to limit warming to 2°C (3.6°F) or below, compared to maintaining current policies,” said Shukla.

Achieving the Sustainable Development Goals

Accelerated and equitable climate action in mitigating and adapting to climate change impacts is critical to sustainable development.  Some response options can absorb and store carbon and, at the same time, help communities limit the impacts associated with climate change. For example, in cities, networks of parks and open spaces, wetlands and urban agriculture can reduce flood risk and reduce heat-island effects.

Mitigation in industry can reduce environmental impacts and increase employment and business opportunities. Electrification with renewables and shifts in public transport can enhance health, employment, and equity.

“Climate change is the result of more than a century of unsustainable energy and land use, lifestyles and patterns of consumption and production,” said Skea. “This report shows how taking action now can move us towards a fairer, more sustainable world.”  

Climate Change 2022: Mitigation of Climate Change. Contribution of Working Group III to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

The Working Group III report provides an updated global assessment of climate change mitigation progress and pledges, and examines the sources of global emissions.  It explains developments in emission reduction and mitigation efforts, assessing the impact of national climate pledges in relation to long-term emissions goals.

Working Group III introduces several new components in its latest report: One is a new chapter on the social aspects of mitigation, which explores the ‘demand side’, i.e. what drives consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.  This chapter is a partner to the sectoral chapters in the report, which explore the ‘supply side’ of climate change – what produces emissions. There is also a cross-sector chapter on mitigation options that cut across sectors, including carbon dioxide removal techniques. And there is a new chapter on innovation, technology development and transfer, which describes how a well-established innovation system at a national level, guided by well-designed policies, can contribute to mitigation, adaptation and achieving the sustainable development goals, while avoiding undesired consequences.

The Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group III contribution to the Sixth Assessment Report (AR6) as well as additional materials and information are available at https://www.ipcc.ch/report/ar6/wg3/

To switch on the heating, or not? – a surprisingly complex question

On cold, wet and windy days a bike ride to work seems impossible. Damp shoes and clothes seem too much to contend with and wrapping up in a blanket on a Zoom call seems too unprofessional. Whether in the office or at home, the temptation to reach for the electric heater grows as the gas prices are rising and central heating under-performs. “To switch on the heating, or not” is the question that many people across the Northern hemisphere are asking themselves.

Here at Cynnal Cymru we recognise these challenges as we too battle between the need for comfort and the feeling of warmth versus our knowledge about climate change. We know from the 6th Carbon budget by the UK Climate Change Committee (CCC), that direct building CO₂ emissions were 85 MtCO₂ in 2019, which account for 17% of total UK GHG emission. This was mostly from our homes (77%), followed by commercial buildings (14%) and public buildings (9%). The reason behind these figures is simple – it is our demand for hot water and heating. 74% of this demand in buildings is met by natural gas, and 10% by petroleum, with smaller amounts of other fuels such as coal and biomass.

To reduce total emissions, the ways in which we heat and use our buildings must be addressed. Recommendations from the CCC include changing behaviour (use less, lower the temperature), increasing building efficiency (insulation), and introducing low carbon heat (air source or ground heat pumps, hydrogen, low carbon district heating etc). The topic of heat then sits at the core of what we at Cynnal Cymru care about, not just professionally but personally too.

Over the last few months, we took part in an unintentional social experiment, because the building we are located in was undergoing a renovation of its central heating. We wore our thickest jumpers, we made many hot drinks, and despite all efforts, eventually, we turned to the electric heaters knowing perfectly well their economic and environmental cost.

This lack of heat got us talking about comfort, habits, energy, renewables, ways to keep warm, and insulation. We knew well that to reduce carbon emissions and to protect future generations, we need to do our bit around heat –which, in reality, may well mean getting used to feeling colder while waiting for a zero-carbon alternative to arrive. But how might this impact on those other fundamental human feelings and needs – for warmth, security and comfort? And what does this mean for the changes that we need to make as a society?

To delve deeper into these questions – and to explore the challenges and opportunities that Wales faces for warm homes and decarbonisation – Dr Karolina Rucinska, our Sustainability Advisor, set out on a research journey that will be shared over the coming weeks. We start with the basics – what is heat?

Heat is moving

If you are grumbling about how cold your house is despite having the radiators on, it is because heat, if it can escape, will always do so. However hard you try, the hot stuff will eventually become cold because the world we live in is governed by the uncompromising laws of thermodynamics. ‘Heat in motion’, Chris Woodford explains in Atoms under the floorboards (2016, Bloomsbury Publishing), ‘is another way to describe thermodynamics, which explains things like how cars waste energy, why power stations need such stupendous cooling towers, why cows have damp noses and dogs dangle out their tongues – and even why Arctic musk oxen spend so much time standing still in the snow.’

While the first law is concerned with energy loss, the second law of thermodynamics is concerned with the movement of heat, always from hot to cold and never the other way round. So, cold stuff is simply the lack of heat, while heat is stuff that always wants to go where there is less of it. Sounds weird, but effectively this is what is happening in our homes. Heat moves around and is, as it were, always on the go, so to make your home cosy, you are effectively trying to heat up every atom in everything that is inside. This takes huge effort and of course energy. If you are using different heaters that store heat and give it away at different rates, then you might wait hours if not days to feel cosy, while all that heat continues to slosh around and move.

This physical side of heat points to one thing: if you want to keep your house cosy, you must insulate it. Without insulation, heat will always escape regardless of how you warm it up. Before you look up low carbon alternatives to your boiler, invest in insulation.

If only it was that easy….

The UK has some of the oldest and most leaky housing stock in Europe. According to the Independent review on decarbonising Welsh homes, 32% of the Welsh housing stock was built before 1919, when there were no construction standards in terms of thermal performance. Research by the Cardiff University School of Architecture showed that the average energy performance (EPC) rating of the Welsh housing stock is a ‘D’ rating*, which raises the incidences of fuel poverty. 43% of people living in private rented accommodation are living in houses built before 1919.

The Guardian reports that, nine in 10 households rely on gas boilers, and lots of gas boilers need lots of gas: UK households consume more of it than almost all of their European peers, at around twice the EU average. With the price of gas going up and energy companies going down, heating leaky homes feels wasteful if they continue to be not insulated well enough to counter that physical side of heat. Between 2012 and 2019 the number of home insulation installations actually dropped by 95%. National Energy Action (NEA), the national fuel poverty charity, has noted that at that rate it would take nearly a century to properly insulate all of the current fuel-poor homes in the country. The statistics are eye-opening indeed. They are clearly telling policy makers and businesses that to significantly reduce carbon emissions from buildings by 2050, actions have to be taken now. But there is something about heat that speaks not to reason and data, but to feeling, an embodied feeling.

Heat is us

Like houses, our bodies too are governed by thermodynamics. Heat escapes our bodies and even after vigorous exercise, we eventually cool down. We give away heat, which we feel immediately, and we want to do something about it, immediately. But we cannot wait years and decades until housing stock is less leaky. We can put on the warmest jumpers to almost insulate our bodies as we would with our houses, but nothing will stop us from eventually feeling cold again. At some point we will need to, despite all that we know about the costs of gas and leaky houses, warm ourselves up. We are all taking temporary and readily available solutions simply because it is cold.

The problem though is that the embodied feeling is not experienced, which in turn perhaps influences our motivation and ability to act, for ourselves and others. Illness, age, cardiovascular system, place, and even norms, as research suggests, dictate how our bodies experience heat or lack thereof. If you have had a disagreement with your family or co-workers about the “right” temperature settings, then you will know what I am talking about.

Heat is suddenly a societal thing. It unites us as well as divides us. How one experiences heat or the lack of it, and what one does about it, also reveals something, unknowingly, about us. Which is why, heating our homes or not, it is about us too. It is a personal, deeply private and emotional thing. As researchers, Erin Roberts and Karen Henwood, from Cardiff University observed, heating is not just about thermal performance of a house, but about thermal comfort. It evokes the feeling of belonging, of feeling safe, of feeling looked after. It brings up the good memories of being with a family and sadly, bad memories of coming home after school with radiators off because parents, often despite being in work, cannot afford high energy bills. Heating can then become, unfairly, a social stigma and a social divide.

Heat is incredibly complex then, as it touches on our most intimate and most sacred parts of our lives, lives which, just like our housing stock, are governed by laws of thermodynamics. Our attention to these laws and insights, or lack of it, will influence future heating actions and policy.

Over the coming weeks, we will be sharing a series of articles to explore the challenges and opportunities it poses for equality, decarbonisation and social transformation.

*Properties are given an energy-efficiency grade between A and G, with A being the best – i.e., most energy-efficient – and G being the worst.

Person with a mug staring into a window

When switching the heating on is still not an option for many

In 2019, 13.4% of households in the UK, that’s 3.8 million households, were classed as fuel poor. In Wales, households that spend more than 10% of their income on energy, would be referred to as fuel poor. The three main drivers behind fuel poverty are low incomes, the low energy efficiency of homes, and high energy prices. However, the picture is far more complex and challenging to analyse because, as research by Groves et al. suggests, fuel poverty is to with households being caught in between numerous disabling conditions. For example, households, where older people or people with disabilities live, may need to spend significantly more on space heating or on powering assistive technologies. Constraints on adaptability can also be because of the material fabric of homes. A lack of adequate insulation or of double glazing can significantly reduce the efficiency of heating systems, for instance. But constraints on households’ choices can also come from external conditions. These are often social in nature, such as the relationships between tenants and private landlords, or the use by utility companies of prepayment meters and higher tariffs for consumers on low incomes.   

Fuel poverty is not just about the inability to keep warm, but rather being unable to make a difference, which is the real issue here. People feel not just cold physically but they feel stigmatised. Heating and energy bills bring on anxiety, rather than comfort and cosiness. Providing households with information to reduce energy consumption are least likely to make an impact, this is because there are too many disabling conditions and therefore too much anxiety associated with this topic. 

To change one’s behaviour, there must be plenty of enabling conditions for the desired change to happen along with progressive policies. More on this point, in the third part of the All about heat series.  

Heat is environment  

Fur, wool, houses, wood and coal burners, warm food, and eventually central or district heating – these are the artifacts or, if you like, evidence of humans trying to stay warm. It is our history really – an epic effort to feel warm enough, to see while it is dark, and to put machines and cars into motion.   

In a brilliantly titled, Energies: An Illustrated Guide to the Biosphere and Civilization (1999, MIT Press), Vaclav Smil takes the reader on a journey through natural resources showing how they were used, what impact they had on the growth of cities, and environment. For example, pre-industrial civilisation depended on wood, straw, charcoal as raw materials to build houses and as material for smelting.  Here is how Smil described the scale of that demand. 

 “A large Wooden Age city in a colder climate (in Northern Europe or in North China) would have consumed at least 20–30 W/m2 of its built-up area, mainly for heating and cooking, and also for manufactures ranging from blacksmithing to firing of tiles. Consequently, the power density of sustainable forest growth in temperate climates was commonly equal to less than one and rarely more than 2 percent of the power density of urban energy consumption—and the cities required nearby areas anywhere between fifty to two hundred times their size to satisfy their thermal energy needs”. 

Throughout the centuries, the demand for the smelting of iron created many deforested landscapes. England’s early adoption of coke, Smil argued, is easy to understand: A single early eighteenth-century furnace consumed annually a circle of forest with a radius of about four kilometers.  He went on to say that, “if American ironmakers had not switched to coke after 1870, by 1900 they would have consumed annually enough forest to fill a square whose side would be the distance between Boston and Philadelphia”. 

But earlier centuries pale in comparison to the impact of coal and oil. The impact is to do not only with the emissions and pollution coming directly from the processes of extraction and burning, but it is also to do with the emission coming from all of the new sectors of industry and economy powered by the energy generated by coal, oil, and gas.

Domestic life has been transformed by gas and electricity, and it is really difficult to undo that transformation. As noted earlier, wearing lots of layers for long periods of time is not comfortable for us humans.  And yet, the idea of switching the heating and gas cooker on is relatively recent. No household would be able to do so, if the infrastructure was not built, or appropriate appliances were designed. In fact, in the 1960s the UK underwent an incredible project to convert appliances from town gas (manufactured gas from coal and oil) to natural gas (gas extracted from seabed and ground) and to fully establish it as a go-to solution for heating. The project involved converting 13.5 million domestic and 650 thousand commercial and industrial consumers and took 10 years to complete. Special training schools were established to train staff (engineers, installers, sellers, admin) to make the transition happen. It required incredible coordination, planning, and establishment of numerous organisations. The Office of the Budget Responsibility reports that moving 13 million properties to natural gas involved the 12 regional gas boards, parts of the industry (to make new appliances or the parts necessary to convert existing ones), contractors (to enter people’s homes and carry out the conversions), public relations (to sell the idea) and the public (to embrace it). The Government took a central coordinating role, with time nationalised Gas Council giving the state direct control of the required investment. It was not an easy project and as Stathis Arapostathis, Peter J.G. Pearson, and Timothy J. Foxon noted,  the conditions to change to different types of heating and regulatory regimes were enabled. So, to switch to low carbon heating alternatives or lower energy consumption, the processes must also be done such they enable everyone to do their bit. But, as the Office goes on to say, the costs of transitioning to net zero heat (heat pumps and hydrogen) are far greater than before.

In the next and the last post in this series, Dr Karolina Rucinska will turn to the role of policy in dealing with fuel poverty and decarbonisation before summing it all.

How the CLCC is breaking down barriers in climate education

Since its inception, 75 members have become trainers and 157 individuals have certified as carbon literate. CLCC’s Project Lead (Luke Penny) and Facilitator (Fiona Humphreys) were interviewed by Abi Hoare Development Officer at Cynnal Cymru to share the story behind the collaboration.

What is the CLCC?

Carbon Literacy Cartrefi Cymru (CLCC) is a consortium of 27 different housing associations in Wales, which have individually contributed resources to increase Carbon Literacy throughout Welsh social housing.

Through peer-to-peer delivery, the project provides the tools necessary for individual tenants to understand the causes and consequences of climate change, as well as empower them to act upon their choices. At the close of 2021, 75 trainers were involved, and 157 individuals had been certified as Carbon Literate, even though most independent courses weren’t due to start until 2022.

What is a consortium?

Effectively, a consortium is a formal collaboration, where people work together to achieve a common objective. In this instance, the common objective is to certify as many Carbon Literate individuals as possible within housing associations – both staff and tenants.

How does it work?

Each of the housing associations involved have contributed resources to fund the development of Carbon Literacy delivery within their individual organisations. Currently, 75 staff members have attended Cynnal Cymru’s ‘Train the Trainer’ course to support their teaching.

Even though the delivery is down to the trainer’s own discretion, participants will typically receive a day’s worth of virtual peer-to-peer learning, before submitting an evidence form to become certified. This will feature two pledges that will have a positive effect on carbon reduction at home and in their workplace/ with a group.

What is its main advantage?

Firstly, it removes the ‘us and them’ narrative that dampens climate activism and makes it inaccessible. One of the difficulties with climate change discourse, is that it’s difficult to know where to start if you have no formal education.

By providing Carbon Literacy training through housing associations, the course can give individuals the starting block they need that they may not have had the time, money, or knowledge to access otherwise.

How has working in collaboration increased action on Carbon Literacy?

In simple terms, by training new trainers, more individuals can take part in the Carbon Literacy Project than before. Not to mention, the resulting network and Communities of Practice are providing moral support that otherwise wouldn’t be possible.

The energy and excitement of the CLCC’s trainers is what makes all the difference, so having a safe space to share experiences and challenges has helped significantly.

What role does Cynnal Cymru play in the consortium?

Cynnal Cymru acts purely within a secretariat and facilitator role. It has no specific requirements within the project, besides its initial creation and providing the necessary tools and support. What housing associations and trainers choose to do with Carbon Literacy beyond that is entirely their own decision.

What’s next for the CLCC?

A second version of the course is currently in development based upon the feedback received in the Communities of Practice, but the next big step is translating the course and delivering it entirely in Welsh.

In time, there is the possibility of starting new Carbon Literacy consortiums in different sectors or industries where Cynnal Cymru are available to offer that inception and on-going support role.

Public Health Wales: Health and well-being impacts of climate change infographic

Launched to coincide with the Council of Parties 26 (COP26), the infographics focus on the relationships between the natural environment and health, the population groups affected and some of the key health and wellbeing impacts of climate change and those population groups who could be affected.

Public Health Wales (PHW) has committed in its long term plan to work with our partners to prepare for, and respond, to the expected and unexpected impact of climate change in Wales. As part of our contribution, the Wales Health Impact Assessment Support Unit (WHIASU) has been working with partner agencies including Natural Resources Wales, Renew Wales and Welsh Government, on a Health Impact Assessment (HIA) of Climate Change in Wales.

The infographics are part of this work which is ongoing and aims to ensure that organisations and Public Bodies in Wales have the evidence and information they need to plan for and respond to the health and wellbeing impacts on people and communities that climate change will bring.

The infographics can be downloaded here along with the references used to create the infographics.

Welsh christmas climate campaign sees over 100,000 trees planted in Kenya

Trees for Christmas’ is an annual campaign that encourages individuals, schools, and businesses to raise money and support tree planting in tropical forests. Last year it raised money to support planting 73,208 trees in Mbale region of Uganda. This year’s campaign has well surpassed this and is the most successful ever run by Size of Wales.

The Boré Community is located in a remote part of eastern Kenya near the equator. Climate change and deforestation has led to increasingly unpredictable weather, bouncing between the extremes of drought and flooding, leading to reduced crop yields. This has been compounded by the economic impacts of COVID-19, which has seen local employment opportunities all but disappear.

The trees will be planted by the Boré Community Forest Project, a locally-led initiative set up in 2008. The new trees will not only help address erratic climate conditions, but will create employment for around 60 local women, and provide free trees to 2,500 farmers and over 100 schools. Extra employment will directly benefit hundreds of families and combat malnutrition, which affects 26% of Kenyan children under the age of five.

A significant portion of the donations came from online retailer SportPursuit who pledged to plant a tree for every order over the Christmas period. Their donation of £30,000 is the equivalent of 100,000 trees and is part of an ongoing commitment to support the growing of 250,000 trees overall.

Nicola Pulman, Size of Wales Director, said:

“Our goal as a charity is to connect communities in Wales to those on the frontline of the climate crisis internationally and make a tangible difference. This year’s campaign is a massive leap forward in this goal – and to have increased the funds raised by nearly 50% during a difficult year for many families, I couldn’t be more delighted.

“We are extremely grateful to the donors, schools, and businesses for coming together in showing their generosity and friendship. With 2020 having been the joint hottest year on record, there has never been a more important time to support tree planting projects such as Boré.”

Ru Hartwell is the Lampeter-based Director of Community Carbon Link, an organisation that links Wales to Boré, and has worked closely with the project since 2008. He said:

“With 2020 having been a particularly tough year for the people of Boré, I will sleep better knowing the positive impact these donations will have on the lives of my friends in this wonderful community.

“The trees distributed to farmers and schools will not only generate cleaner air and improve the climate, but they will provide future forms of nutrition and income. The ongoing support from the people of Wales, along with the hard work of the Boré Community Forest Project is a powerful example of what we can achieve when we work across continents to tackle climate change”

Adam Pikett, co-founder and CEO of SportPursuit, said:

“It’s a huge achievement to be planting 100,000 trees from our December Festive Forest campaign taking our total tree planting so far to 224,650. We would like to thank all our customers, our team and our partner Size of Wales for their great work”

Tropical forests in areas such as Boré are particularly effective in combatting climate change. Tropical forests not only absorb approximately a fifth of the world’s human-made CO2 emissions every year, but support biodiversity vital to our planet’s health. They also play a crucial role in storing water, regulating rainfall, and preventing floods, droughts, and erosion.

Currently the planet loses around 18 million hectares of forest each year to deforestation, roughly nine times the size of Wales.

Free NatWest Accelerator Programme open for climate focused businesses

The NatWest Accelerator Programme is now open for applications for the new cohort which starts in January 2022.

With four fully-funded programmes now available, NatWest particularly wants to hear from Welsh entrepreneurs who are dedicated to climate and sustainable solutions.

It’s Climate Accelerator is for businesses looking to take on the challenges faced by climate change and who are focused on sustainable success, similarly the Purpose-led Accelerator is aimed at entrepreneurs who are redefining what it means to be a business and supporting a more inclusive and sustainable economy.

The comprehensive programme includes:

  • 1:1 coaching – These sessions are bespoke and offer business owners the opportunity to focus on the topics that matter to them and which will give them the confidence to fulfil their ambitions for their business.
  •  Insight and thought leadership.
  • Peer-to-peer support from a community of fellow business owners from around Wales and across the UK.
  • The right connections at the right time for you and your business.

Timeline:

Applications are open now and virtual interviews are being booked through November and early December. Places are limited and the application process is competitive.

Eligibility:

  • High Growth – £8k monthly turnover or £50k investment (significant early growth would be considered if trading less than 12 months)
  • Climate – No performance criteria, but must be a climate focused business
  • Fintech – No performance criteria, but must be a fintech business
  • Purpose Led – No performance criteria, but this Accelerator is for businesses who focus on more than simply making a profit. A purpose-led business may be focused on making a positive difference in its community, on social responsibility, and on building sustainable relationships
  • Food & Drink – Open to Wales-based food and/or drinks producers who are already trading and generating revenue, and are ambitious, motivated to grow the business, ready to engage fully and to own their results

The first six months of support are available to all; you do not need to bank with NatWest to apply. Subsequent 12 and 18 month cohorts are reserved for NatWest Group customers only.

Applications:

Ready to apply? Visit the Natwest bank website

For further info please contact cardiffaccelerator@natwest.com

Four ways Welsh businesses can tackle climate change

As COP26 comes to a close, many of us will be wondering what more we can do to tackle climate change.

As well as being the forum for governments to debate the way forward, it’s sparked wider discussions on the changes we all need to make.

Governments alone won’t solve the problem. Companies have a huge role to play too. Many businesses in Wales have already pledged action as part of the All Wales Plan to reach net zero or the UK Business Climate Hub (which also has useful tips on cutting emissions). Others have also added their voices to the Climate Cymru campaign, which is calling for strong commitments from government.

So what can your business do right now to make a difference? Whether you run a snack bar, solicitor’s or a steel plant, here are some key ways you can take action.

1. Tackle your energy use

At 29% of Wales’ emissions, our energy supply pumps out more greenhouse gases than any other sector – higher than transport or agriculture.

Fortunately, there’s plenty your business can do.

Switching to a green tariff will support renewables, but how about cutting how much energy you use too?

A survey by the Carbon Trust shows that 80% of SMEs in the UK are taking action on energy efficiency, with installation of LED lighting the most popular measure.

According to Business Wales, heating accounts for about half the energy used in offices. It also provides a guide to saving energy, starting with checking the building is insulated as thoroughly as possible.

One business that’s taken action on energy is Cardiff restaurant Kindle, which has installed sheep’s wool insulation and sensor controlled lighting.

2. Train your staff to be ‘Carbon Literate’

Cutting your emissions isn’t always easy.  This is where Carbon Literacy training comes in.

The course helps learners understand how climate change will affect them, and develop knowledge and skills to lower their carbon footprint.

One Welsh business that’s already benefitted is the country’s largest motor retail group, Sinclair Group. Nine senior representatives from the company recently took part, building on the firm’s existing work to cut emissions such as installing solar panels and switching to renewable energy providers.

Since doing the training, the managers have made a pledge, including giving customers access to electric courtesy cars and investing in ethical pension funds.

If you’re interested in getting your staff certified in carbon literacy, then check out our courses!

3. Protect and restore nature

We’re facing a nature crisis – one in six species in Wales is at risk of extinction – yet nature holds many of the solutions to global heating.

For example, trees absorb carbon from the atmosphere and lock it up for centuries. According to the Woodland Trust, a young wood with mixed native species can lock up 400+ tonnes of carbon per hectare.

Peatlands are another important carbon sink. Globally, they store more than double the amount of carbon than the world’s forests. Draining and digging peat up to use as garden compost however causes  it to break down with time, releasing the stored carbon dioxide and methane.

One example of a firm taking action is Cardiff-based Orchard Media & Events Group, which has partnered with Coed Hills Rural Artspace, to create its own ‘Orchard’ within the existing eco-friendly community.

Your business can help too. Perhaps you can seek advice on how to create, protect or restore habitats on any land you own or manage, or switch to using or promoting peat-free compost? The Nature Wise toolkit is a great place to start.

By signing up for our Nature Wise programme, you and your staff can learn more and get support with developing your own nature action plan.

4. Pay the real Living Wage

Making the shift to low carbon will mean some big changes, and it’s important that this change is fair to everyone, including those in high emitting industries or on low pay.

One thing your business can do is sign up to be a real Living Wage employer. Earning a real Living Wage helps people to make choices – with the food they buy, the gas and energy they use. This helps people to participate in being part of the solution to tackling climate change – mentally, physically and economically.

Ready to act?

Have these ideas inspired you to do more in your business to tackle climate change?

We’re here to help turn your sustainability aims into action, providing advice, training and connections – so please get in touch if you’re ready to take the next step.

Sinclair Group Drives Ahead with Carbon Literacy


Coinciding with the opening of the COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow, the event was hosted by sustainable development company Cynnal Cymru, the official Welsh partner of the Carbon Literacy Project, as part of a day to catalyse action on climate change.

Nine senior representatives from the Sinclair Group undertook a bespoke training course at the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire, where they gained a better understanding of the impact of greenhouse gases and the effects of climate change together with an appreciation of the company’s own footprint and the influence this has on the local environments around its 21 dealerships and much further afield.

They are the first business in Wales to engage with the Carbon Literacy Project at a senior management level and the only motoring group so far. The Sinclair Group represents a number of motor manufacturers that are already taking significant strides towards an emission-free future with the electrification of their vehicle ranges. By 2025, Audi will offer more than 20 models with all-electric drive and estimates around 40 per cent of its sales will be for electrified models, whilst by the same date, Mercedes-Benz will produce electric-only vehicles as it gets ready to go all-electric by 2030.

Meanwhile as the decade draws to a close, Volkswagen intends to have increased the share of its all-electric vehicle deliveries to more than 70 per cent across Europe. From Brecon to Neyland, Sinclair employees are also making a difference following the appointment of ‘eco-champions’ at each site to co-ordinate colleague suggestions for green initiatives that can be introduced across the Group.

As a result, solar panels have been installed on the roofs of 10 of the Group’s dealerships to convert the sun rays into electricity. The company has also switched its energy supply to providers using renewable sources. Other ideas include the introduction of meat-free Mondays to encourage staff to opt for vegetarian/vegan options at the start of each working week, the use of china cups in showrooms instead of plastic or paper alternatives to reduce waste levels and the installation of recycling stations in every location.

“In partnership with the manufacturers, we recognise that as a retailer we have a responsibility to do all we can to best protect our environment and offset carbon. It is our aim to see an 80% reduction in our carbon footprint by 2035 and to be carbon neutral as an organisation by 2050”


“Our colleagues across the group are already making progress but, as Directors, we want to demonstrate our commitment too and, following our involvement in the Carbon Literacy Action Day, each of us has made a pledge that includes giving our customers access to electric courtesy cars, improving our provisions to car sharing and investing in ethical pension funds.”

“We want to inspire our staff to understand climate change, their role in it and to take positive action at home and at work. That way we can make a positive difference together.”

During their training session, the Sinclair Group received a virtual visit from the Carbon Literacy Project to share the actions resulting from their day of learning with over 30 other leading UK businesses participating in similar events around the country.

Andy Sinclair, Sinclair Group Managing Director

Cynnal Cymru has trained 548 people since they first introduced Carbon Literacy in Wales in 2017. Up until now, they have primarily provided this type of training for the leadership of local authorities but this is the first time that a course has been delivered for the executive directors of a leading Welsh business.

Lead trainer and Principal Consultant, Rhodri Thomas, explained:

“It’s not easy for executive teams to find the time to ask for training. It shows a level of humility, but it is also bold. In fact, it’s a sign of true leadership – being willing to learn in order to improve, innovate and ultimately succeed.
“The Sinclair Group recognises that this is a hugely significant moment for the motor industry. We must stop using fossil fuels – petrol and diesel, but can we really expect people to give up the convenience and freedom of personal mobility? We are on the verge of a revolution in transport and the Sinclair Group wants to lead the way by providing solutions for customers but also ensuring that their own behaviour is exemplary. Carbon Literacy is the perfect tool for bringing about this profound change in business culture.”

Rhodri Thomas, Lead Trainer and Principal Consultant, Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales

The National Botanic Garden of Wales provided a fitting location to host the landmark event.


“It was great to welcome the Sinclair Group to the Botanic Garden and help celebrate a real ‘first’”

“We were delighted they chose us as the venue for their milestone ‘seize-the-day’ moment.”

Huw Francis, Director, National Botanic Garden of Wales
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