Nature Wise

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.

Nature Wise Open Course

Nature Wise

Eco Literacy

Learn about the links between human activity and ecosystem disruption and develop the knowledge to enable you and your organisation to take action for nature recovery.

Nature Wise is a science-based, action-focused course to help participants understand the relationships between people and natural systems. It shares knowledge, builds understanding and provide the tools to motivate and catalyse action. 

The course

Duration

Two sessions in one week
4.5 hours total

Facilitated Sessions

Tuesday
Thursday

Self Directed Learning

Optional
further learning

Certification

Subject to completion
of the course

Learning Outcomes

During the course you will learn about:

Who is this Course for?

Individuals will learn about the links between human activity and ecosystem disruption and develop the knowledge to enable action for nature recovery.

This course is available to any member of a voluntary organisation or community group in Wales (staff and volunteers). We are particularly keen to hear from non-environmental organisations.

Planning for a Successful Learning Experience

You will need access to computer with the internet to attend and participate in the online facilitated sessions.

This is an interactive course where you will be encouraged to participate verbally or in the chat messaging box.

The course includes two virtual sessions with your course-tutor(s) and fellow students. These sessions are essential to achieving your certification as well as providing a valuable opportunity to reflect on your learning and explore each topic in more depth.

To participate in the online facilitated sessions you will need access to a computer or tablet with a mic and camera as well as access to Zoom video conferencing or Microsoft Teams.

Checklist

Course Tutors

Clare Sain-Ley-Berry

Policy and Development Manager

Clare is an experienced trainer and facilitator and has been delivering Nature Wise since its inception. She has a background in delivering partnership projects for the natural environment and sustainable resource use and enjoys facilitating collaboration.

Rhodri Thomas

Principal Consultant

Rhodri co-ordinates and develops advice and training with a focus on integrated management and reporting, Environmental Management Systems and ‘Carbon Literacy’.

You can explore the course below, and see what content is featured.

Wales Nature Week is coming! 29 May – 6 June 2021

One of the key messages emerging from lockdown has been a heightened awareness – or perhaps renewed appreciation – of the importance and benefits of nature. Gardens, parks, walks along open spaces, even balconies to experience bird song or rooms with a view of woodland or hedgerows have all been embraced, with growing recognition that these are not just nice-to-have backdrops but something fundamental to our well-being – anchors in daily life that restore and revive us.

If this rings true for you, and you have also found nature to be a soothing and restorative presence, then there is an opportunity to repay some of this natural bounty, and even help it spread, through Wales Nature Week, starting at the end of May.

Wales Nature Week is an annual celebration of the often overlooked but nonetheless incredible habitats and species of Wales. Temperate rainforests, globally significant seabird populations, insects and spiders found nowhere else in the world – these are all on our doorstep, alongside species recently re-introduced or coming back from the brink such as beavers, pine martens and red squirrels.

Through its virtual programme, which includes a participative Garden BioBlitz, Wales Nature Week shines a light each day on different habitat types and the species they support. There will also be helpful tips and support from a community of experts for anyone curious to learn more, particularly about how we as individuals can give back to nature in our homes or workplaces.

As the amount of land left to wilderness and wildlife shrinks, our collective potential contribution to nature recovery, as citizens, homeowners and inhabitants of work premises, becomes increasingly important. We explore this, and other contributions that individuals and organisations can make to nature restoration, in our new training course, Nature Wise – Nabod Natur, which we will launch on World Environment Day on 5 June.

If you want to learn more about the links between human activity and ecosystem disruption and develop the knowledge to enable you and your organisation to take action for nature recovery, then we hope that this will be the course for you. Please get in touch if you’d like to know more.

In the meantime however, for more insights into how anyone can take practical actions to help nature thrive, take a look at the Environmental Volunteering resource on our site and remember to sit back, recharge, re-energise and give back through logging in to Wales Nature Week.

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