Latest updates

We’re recruiting: Director

Salary: £55,000 – £60,000 based on experience, pro rata

Duration: Permanent

Hours: 30 or 37.5 hours per week (4 or 5 days)

Location: Flexible working / Cardiff office based / home working

Start date: As soon as possible

Closing date for applications:12 noon 3 May 2024
Interview date:17 May 2024
Interview location:In-person, Cardiff

Cynnal Cymru is the leading sustainable development organisation in Wales.  With charitable aims at our core, we provide advice, training and connections to help organisations take bold decisions for a fairer and more secure future.

The past few years have seen rapid growth both in the staff team numbers and in our reach. We have been working hard to deliver our unique services, and have done remarkably well. But now is the time to reflect and consolidate our success – before we step forward to further grow our impact for a sustainable future.

Could you be the person to take us forward with this ambitious agenda as our new Director?

We are looking for someone who can help us strengthen our skills and expertise and lead us through a period of consolidation and change as we continue to deliver our ambitious agenda of enabling action towards a fair and just society, a low carbon economy and a thriving natural environment.

You may be an experienced CEO or an experienced senior manager looking for a step up. Our new Director will be skilled in both people and organisational management, with very good business and financial acumen.

We are a lively and progressive charity at an important stage in our development. If our mission resonates and you share our aims, we would love to hear from you.


How to apply

Eastside People is supporting Cynnal Cymru in the recruitment of this role.

All applications will be anonymised to ensure no subconscious biases advantage or disadvantage anyone.


Further information

How we work

We understand that our staff have commitments and priorities outside of work and are therefore happy to explore any flexible working arrangement that will enable you to deliver your best work, providing the organisation business needs can also be met.

We are actively seeking to reach a diverse pool of candidates and we are happy to consider any reasonable adjustments that any potential employees may need to be successful.

Our office is based in the centre of Cardiff and is easily accessible by public transport. We operate a hybrid working model with staff working between the office and home.

Diversity and Inclusion 

Cynnal Cymru is committed to providing equal employment opportunity in all its employment programmes and decisions. We recognise that a diverse and inclusive movement is critical to solving climate change and other sustainability challenges, and that we must ensure that all those directly impacted – particularly those who have been excluded in the past – are at the centre of the movement for change.

We actively seek out training and advice that can make our staff positions accessible to all potential team members, regardless of race, colour, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability, assigned gender, gender expression or identity, sexual orientation or identity, religion or creed, veteran status, and marital or parental status. We strive to recruit team members from communities most impacted by climate change or impacted by other kinds of environmental, social, and economic injustice. We therefore strongly encourage applications from people from ethnic minority groups, LGBTQ people, and members of marginalised communities including those with a visible or hidden disability.

We guarantee an interview to any applicant from the above groups that meets the essential criteria for the post.

Sustainability  

We expect you to carry out your job responsibilities in a sustainable manner, ensuring as little damage to our world as possible.  Our aim is to ensure all resources are used effectively, efficiently and ethically.

Welsh Language Policy     

In carrying out our work, we try to be as bilingual as possible in our daily operations and treat the English and Welsh languages equally so far as is appropriate in the circumstances and reasonably practical.  

We’re recruiting: Director Read More »

23 April | Ask the Expert: Carbon Accounting

Curious about carbon accounting but tight on time? Want to talk about other challenges and connect with great people? Join us for a quick and informative online session, featuring:

  • 15-minute Lightning Talk: Learn the essentials from leading experts
  • 5-minute Live Q&A: Get your burning questions answered
  • 10-minute Speed Networking: Share challenges & connect
  •  5-minute Wrap-up: Walk away with actionable insights & resources

Do you have a question you would like to ask our experts?

What is ‘Ask the Expert’?

‘Ask the Expert’ is a new series of informal drop-in events where you can join our specialists for a short presentation and guided discussion around a chosen topic.

Who is it for?

This session exploring ‘What is Carbon Accounting?’ is open to all businesses and organisations and it is free to attend.

Our thriving community of mutually supportive members provides an opportunity to share learning, challenge thinking and mobilise action, be this through co-designed events, hosting networking sessions or simply sowing seeds for future collaborations or thought-leadership.

If you would like to talk to a member of the team about how we can support your organisation, please contact membership@cynnalcymru.com

Our experts

Karolina Rucinska

Sustainability Strategist | Cynnal Cymru – Sustain Wales

Karolina joined Cynnal Cymru in 2021 to provide consultancy support to the public and private sectors on how to become more sustainable in their operations.

Originally from Poland, Karolina developed her interest in sustainable development having witnessed the unintended consequences of the huge transformations that took place in her home country and the Republic of Ireland which she later moved to.

This lived experience prompted her to pursue higher degrees focused on sustainability, tourism, food systems and public understanding of science at Cardiff University. While a student, Karolina was involved in research investigating farm animal welfare, but later she moved to manage research projects at the Cardiff School of Engineering. There, she gained an appreciation of energy systems and the challenges that come with decarbonising them.

In her spare time, Karolina volunteers at Oasis Cardiff as a lead gardener and the Good Gym as a task member. She refuses to learn to drive and is a firm believer and practitioner of low carbon lifestyle. Karolina is described as one that brings people together and strives to make things better.

Huw Williams

Principle Carbon Accountant & Verifier | Auditel

As an Associate Consultant of British Standards Institute, NQA Partner and IEMA Affiliate, Huw is qualified in the GHG Protocol Accounting & Reporting Standard, ISO14064-1, ISO14068-1, TCFD, CFD, CBAM, PAS2060, and PAS2080 he has worked with many organisations to calculate their carbon footprint and create robust and achievable carbon reduction plans. Huw understands that businesses need to grow and adapt whilst also achieving carbon reduction. With over 30 years’ experience in sales and operations, working with organisations from SME’s to Corporate Groups, he has worked with, and understands the Private Equity market.

Auditel is a leading Cost, Procurement & Carbon Solutions Company. We help organisations reduce their carbon emissions whilst also reducing their costs. In the current challenging economic climate, organisations are battling with the desire to drive growth and profitability, whilst investing in low carbon emitting technologies to reduce their carbon footprint and speed up their journey to achieving Net Zero.

23 April | Ask the Expert: Carbon Accounting Read More »

Two women sit back to back on a step

Cynnal Cymru’s advice team grows

Camille will b responsible for helping guideing Cynnal Cymru’s clients towards more effectiveand through their transition to sustainable practices by providing them with personalised andmanageable action points. Camille joins our team of specialists providing advice to organisationswho want to become sustainable, led by our Sustainability Strategist Dr Karolina Rucinska., whohas recently been promoted as a manager to lead this growing team.Karolina said:‘Camille brings a wealth of knowledge to the team and has a talent for systems thinking,explaining complex topics in a engaging and impactful way, and insights that help shift mindsetswhile offering practical solutions.’Camille previously collaborated with Cynnal Cymru on sustainability guides for SMEs alongwith co-creator Gillian Rumsey. Theis free guides delves into a range of topics, such as wastemanagement, energy efficiency, responsible material sourcing, and sustainable supply chainmanagement, among others. Each guide delivers clear, actionable recommendations, illustratedwith real-life examples to motivate and steer SMEs towards a sustainable future.Camille said:‘As a recent Sustainable Development graduate, I am thrilled about the possibility to not onlycarry out my knowledge and skills in practice, but to work with a talented and inspiringSustainability Strategist who is able to think holistically in her approach to addressingunsustainable practices. Already in my first two weeks of being in my new role, I have beenencouraged to set goals for yearly progress that merges my personal passions with project ideasthat can be developed within the organisation. As you can image, I am excited to get started onsome of these projects and work towards minimising unsustainable business practices aroundWales.Whilst new to the role, this is not my first time working with Cynnal Cymru. Earlier last year, Idid a four-month internship working with Karolina Rucinska to develop sustainability guides forSMEs. It was based on this positive experience that I decided to apply for a job in theorganisation. However, I was unsuccessful in the first attempt. Nevertheless, the feedback I wasgiven following the interview process gave me great insight into what I did well and what I couldhave done better. So, when another relevant job posting surfaced from Cynnal Cymru monthslater, I applied for the job and I applied the feedback, which, I believe, is what gave me theadvantage. Being a little persistent does have its charm I suppose.’Camille moved to the UK from Denmark, pursuing her passion for and education in systems-focused approaches, and specifically how their application can build and enhance localcommunity agency and ownership. She brings with her extensive knowledge and understandingof how global challenges interlink, and their impact on local communities, and is always keen toexplore these challenges and find effective strategies for addressing them.CTA (signpost to new Sustainability Advice page or email?):So, whether your organisation is taking its first steps towards emissions-reduction or in need of acomprehensive footprint and action plan, we have the expertise to help you achieve your goals.If developing a sustainability strategy, action plan or staff workshop for idea-generation has been on your to-do list, then Camille and Karolina are keen tohelp! Please get in touch at…. Or learn more here (if Advice page ready

Camille will be responsible for helping Cynnal Cymru’s clients towards more effective and sustainable practices by providing them with personalised and manageable action points. Camille joins our team of specialists, led by our Sustainability Strategist Dr Karolina Rucinska.

Karolina said:
‘Camille brings a wealth of knowledge to the team and has a talent for systems thinking, explaining complex topics in a engaging and impactful way, and insights that help shift mindsets while offering practical solutions.’

Camille previously collaborated with Cynnal Cymru on sustainability guides for SMEs along with co-creator Gillian Rumsey. The free guides delves into a range of topics, such as waste management, energy efficiency, responsible material sourcing, and sustainable supply chain management. Each guide delivers clear, actionable recommendations, illustrated with real-life examples to motivate and steer SMEs towards a sustainable future.

Camille said:
‘As a recent Sustainable Development graduate, I am thrilled about the possibility to not only carry out my knowledge and skills in practice, but to work with a talented and inspiring Sustainability Strategist who is able to think holistically in her approach to addressing unsustainable practices. Already in my first two weeks of being in my new role, I have been encouraged to set goals for yearly progress that merges my personal passions with project ideas that can be developed within the organisation. As you can image, I am excited to get started on some of these projects and work towards minimising unsustainable business practices around Wales.

Whilst new to the role, this is not my first time working with Cynnal Cymru. Earlier last year, I did a four-month internship working with Karolina Rucinska to develop sustainability guides for SMEs. It was based on this positive experience that I decided to apply for a job in the organisation. However, I was unsuccessful in the first attempt. Nevertheless, the feedback I was given following the interview process gave me great insight into what I did well and what I could have done better. So, when another relevant job posting surfaced from Cynnal Cymru months later, I applied for the job and I applied the feedback, which, I believe, is what gave me the advantage. Being a little persistent does have its charm I suppose.’

Camille moved to the UK from Denmark, pursuing her passion for and education in systems-focused approaches, and specifically how their application can build and enhance local community agency and ownership. She brings with her extensive knowledge and understanding of how global challenges interlink, and their impact on local communities, and is always keen to explore these challenges and find effective strategies for addressing them.

So, whether your organisation is taking its first steps towards emissions-reduction or in need of a comprehensive footprint and action plan, we have the expertise to help you achieve your goals.

If developing a sustainability strategy, action plan or staff workshop for idea-generation has been on your to-do list, then Camille and Karolina are keen to help! Please get in touch at advice@cynnalcymru.com or learn more here.

Cynnal Cymru’s advice team grows Read More »

An image of two people walking in the park, one holding a bike

Reconnecting face-to-face in a climate-conscious world

While convenient, virtual meetings can’t fully replicate the power of in-person interactions. Non-verbal cues, spontaneity, and the energy of shared space contribute to trust, understanding, and ultimately, sharper collaboration. Pre-pandemic travel patterns could have been better, but dismissing in-person meetings entirely ignores these significant benefits.

The answer lies in strategic, mindful choices with multiple co-benefits:

Reducing emissions: Connecting locally

  • Prioritise local clients: Connect with nearby clients face-to-face, favouring trains or carpooling for reduced emissions and increased productivity during commutes.
  • Embrace hybrid approaches: Combine virtual elements with smaller, local teams for distant clients, fostering strong relationships while saving travel time and costs.
  • Optimise travel when necessary: Choose the most fuel-efficient mode – trains, buses, or carpooling – for reduced emissions, individual cost savings, and potential networking opportunities.
  • Advocate for change: Encourage clients and organisations to prioritise sustainable travel options and infrastructure development, contributing to a wider positive impact on the environment and society.

Beyond the footprint: Optimizing for more than the environment

  • Maximising time: Careful planning and efficient travel modes can minimise travel time while maximising productivity, boosting your personal efficiency and client satisfaction.
  • Boosting well-being: Balancing virtual and in-person interactions offers both focused solitude and stimulating social interaction, contributing to increased personal well-being and potentially enhancing creativity during client meetings.

Leading the way: Beyond words, actions that speak volumes

As consultants, we have the opportunity to champion sustainable practices in a post-pandemic world. By demonstrating that face-to-face connections can thrive alongside environmental responsibility, we can:

  • Inspire clients and organisations to embrace sustainable travel solutions, driving positive change within the business community.
  • Drive wider change by advocating for infrastructure development that prioritises sustainability, contributing to a more liveable and environmentally friendly future for all.
  • Become exemplars of walking the walk, showcasing how success can be achieved while minimising our environmental impact, building trust and respect with clients who share similar values.

Leading by example: Cynnal Cymru’s commitment to sustainable client meetings

While the pandemic sparked the widespread adoption of virtual meetings, the desire for face-to-face client interaction is undeniably returning. At Cynnal Cymru, however, we recognise that prioritizing the planet shouldn’t come at the expense of strong client relationships. That’s why we’ve implemented specific measures to ensure our consultations are both fruitful and environmentally responsible.

Our travel policy: Walking the talk

  • Active Travel First: We prioritise walking, cycling, and public transport for all local meetings. By making this the default option, we minimise emissions and promote healthy lifestyles.
  • Open Communication: We openly discuss our travel policy with clients, explaining our commitment to sustainability and encouraging them to explore eco-friendly travel options when visiting our office.
  • Transparency and Tracking: We’ve added a dedicated line in our expense claims for employees to specify their mode of travel and destination. This allows us to monitor our impact and identify areas for further improvement.
  • No to Flights: As an organisation, we’ve made a conscious decision to avoid air travel entirely. While this may restrict our geographic reach, it underscores our unwavering dedication to minimising our carbon footprint.
  • Sustainable Directions: We provide clients with detailed instructions on reaching our office using public transport, cycling routes, and walking and wheeling paths. This empowers them to make informed choices that align with their own sustainability values.

Beyond the policy: Continuous improvement

While we’ve made significant strides, we acknowledge that there’s always room for growth. One area we’re focusing on is onboarding new staff. We recognise that not everyone instinctively integrates active travel into their business travel routines. We have incorporated sustainability awareness training into our onboarding process to ensure everyone understands and embraces our travel policy.

Join the conversation

We invite you to share your thoughts and experiences on navigating the balance between client relationships and environmental responsibility. Together, we can pave the way for a sustainable future for all.

Reconnecting face-to-face in a climate-conscious world Read More »

Make 2024 your Carbon Accounting year

What is Carbon Accounting?

Carbon Accounting is a process that assesses your organisation’s impact on the climate (known as your carbon footprint), from the electricity your office uses, to the travel-to-work habits of your staff, to the supply chains you use. It can be an extensive process that often takes several months.

Most businesses, especially small businesses, can’t afford to employ someone to focus on carbon accounting, which is why you can hire a Carbon Accountant to do this for you. You know you’re getting someone qualified, who understands carbon accounting inside-out, and can lead your staff through the process of getting all the necessary data and documents together. Cynnal Cymru has just launched a Carbon Accounting service for small and medium businesses across Wales!

Can I do my own carbon accounting?

You can absolutely do your own carbon accounting. If you’d prefer to do it yourself, Cynnal Cymru can provide advice on the best tools to use – or you can become a member for free advice on the process from our Sustainability Advisors.

If you do choose to do your own carbon accounting, you’ll need a lot of different data, including:

  • Number of staff
  • Company turnover
  • Metered gas, water, and electricity usage
  • Weight and type of waste
  • Types, number, and weight of goods purchased
  • Money spent on services
  • Transportation in type and distance for business travel and staff commutes

Even just collecting this information and ensuring you don’t miss anything out can seem a daunting task, which might not feel worth it for small businesses. Hiring someone to guide you through that process, ensure you get all the right information, and then do the calculations for you can lift a weight off your shoulders – and for a fraction of the price of a full-time employee!

Why should I care about carbon accounting?

It’s a great question that we hear often – why does my organisation need carbon accounting? Is carbon accounting just for big businesses with huge carbon footprints?

While big businesses should absolutely be leading the way on carbon footprinting, all organisations of every size should be thinking about their carbon impacts. We are currently in a climate crisis, and if we ignore our own contributions then we will end up causing further harm. In Wales, we are legally committed (through the Environment (Wales) Act 2016) to reduce our carbon emissions to net zero by 2050. That’s only 26 years away! Whether you have just started a new business or are an established not-for-profit that has started looking carefully at its carbon output, you’ll want to start working towards net zero emissions in your organisation sooner rather than later.

Beyond your legal requirements, going through carbon accounting helps you better understand your emissions and gives you opportunities for reduction. If you base your organisation’s sustainability decisions on guesses, you may overlook big areas for improvement and mislead your staff, suppliers or community. With Carbon Accounting, you can set targets based on real data, which you can monitor based on international standards and targets. With the support of a Carbon Accountant, you can compare your performance year after year and see your progress towards your goals. You will feel more secure in your carbon targets and your team will be able to see the results of the changes they make.

Can I afford to do Carbon Accounting?

We know that small businesses, charities, and nonprofits operatre within very tight budgets. We get it! As a charity ourselves, we understand that you can’t afford to pay for services you don’t need.

At Cynnal Cymru, we’ve developed a model that works best for organisations like yours and takes into account the pressures on both your time and resources. From £2,250 plus VAT, you can get a full carbon footprint assessment, recommendations for emissions reductions, and a final report that can be shared with your board, customers, and stakeholders.

We also see our role as educational, so as we go through this service, we’ll explain each step to you and give you tips on understanding and improving your carbon footprint. That means that, after your initial carbon accounting process, you may well be equipped to go off and do it yourself in future years. If you want some support and guidance without going through the whole process every year, you can become a member to get free support from our Sustainability Advisors on your carbon accounting needs.

Do you provide any discounts to certain organisations?

Yes! At Cynnal Cymru, our Carbon Accounting package has been developed for small and medium organisations.

Our service is best for (but not limited to):

  • Organisations of 1-49 employees
  • Not-for-profit organisations
  • Organisations in one building or location — including rented offices
  • Organisations that offer services rather than sell and manufacture goods

We provide a Membership programme for organisations like these, which provides you with benefits such as networking, events, and added support from our team. As a Cynnal Cymru member, you will receive a 10% discount on your Carbon Accounting services, as well as free consultancy from our Sustainability Advisors.

How do I start my Carbon Accounting journey?

Ready to speak to the team? You can contact us to speak to a Sustainability Advisor and begin your journey!

If you’re not sure yet, read more about our Carbon Accounting service here.

Make 2024 your Carbon Accounting year Read More »

View of forest from the air

9 April | Deforestation Free Business (DFB) Champions

Do you want to be part of a growing movement of socially responsible Welsh businesses who are leading the way in protecting tropical forests?

 

Cynnal Cymru and climate change charity Size of Wales will be holding an in-person, peer-to-peer learning event to help businesses take practical steps to address tropical deforestation and social impacts within their supply chains.

During the event, participants will hear from organisations who have already started their Deforestation Free journey and learn the practical steps to help them reduce their tropical forest footprint. It will include a forest-risk surgery to help identify areas for action, with support and advice from the Size of Wales team. The event will provide a fantastic opportunity to meet a supportive business network committed to acting for forests, people and nature.

The event will be hosted by Orchard Media at their premises on Trade Street, Cardiff, and ethically sourced coffee and pastries will be provided. 

9 April | Deforestation Free Business (DFB) Champions Read More »

How does my job relate to nature?

Why holding a space for nature-connection is my dream job

Our Sustainability Trainer Sara Wynne-Pari discusses her sustainability journey.

Growing up in rural North Wales has greatly influenced my love for nature and my dedication to protecting the natural environment. Although I’ve worked across a wide variety of disciplines, nature and biodiversity have been a constant underlying theme. I enjoy helping others on their sustainability journey and being a good environmental communicator, able to understand and tailor discussions to individual needs, has been integral to my work.

This passion for both nature and communication has led me to be the lead trainer and project manager for  Nature Wise, our eco-literacy training programme. I also develop content and deliver bespoke nature-based training to help organisations improve their understanding of the nature crisis and recognise ways they can take action to reverse it. 

I’m currently studying an IEMA-accredited MSc in Environmental and Business Management at Bangor University. Although I was nervous to return to education two decades after my bachelor’s degree, I have found the experience re-energising. It is rewarding to develop my own knowledge but also great to be able to apply all the experience and insights I have gained to what I’m learning.

When I’m not working, you’ll find me exploring the beaches of Ynys Mon, waiting for the cuckoo’s return to Nant Ffrancon, looking for new swimming spots or riding my electric bike through Eryri (Snowdonia). Delivering the NatureWise course has given me an even deeper respect and connection to nature and I feel very lucky to be able to hold a space for others to explore this through the course.  

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 provides the tools to motivate and catalyse action. 

We can’t live without nature — it provides us with the essentials for life, such as clean air, water, and food, and greatly contributes to our physical and mental wellbeing. It is our best ally in the fight against climate change. 

There’s a way we can all incorporate nature into our work – of course planting trees and volunteering outdoors is important but it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. There are lots of other ways we can help, for example, you could become a nature champion at work, sharing tips and ideas with your colleagues; encouraging your organisation to incorporate wildlife corridors and pollinating plants around your business sites or incorporating biodiversity considerations into your procurement process. 

Unsure of how you can implement any of that in your role? Worried you don’t have the right influence, or can’t figure out the steps to getting there?

Join us for the Nature Wise eco-literacy course! We will provide you with information, ideas and inspiration. We also offer bespoke courses for any organisations who would like more tailored content.

Sara Wynne-Pari is one of our Sustainability Trainers. She leads Nature Wise eco-literacy training, regularly running Nature Wise for Work which helps you understand your human-nature relationship as it fits in with your job role, and how you can improve your work’s relationship to nature via achievable goals.

How does my job relate to nature? Read More »

We Must Believe That The World Can Be Different: Welsh Pensions and Deforestation

We Must Believe That The World Can Be Different:

Welsh Pensions and Deforestation

We must believe that the world can be different.

This comes from the foreword to the recently published ‘Saving for the future: A report into Wales’ public pension exposure to global deforestation’. 

It is a specific call on Wales and the rest of the world to act to ensure that investments in pension funds are not driving the destruction of the home of the Guarani people in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest – of which only 12% remains intact.  

The report is published by climate change charity and Cynnal Cymru member Size of Wales, and Global Canopy, a data-driven not-for-profit that uses clear metrics and actionable insights to help organisations make better decisions about nature, forests, and people. 

The report highlights how a handful of commodities including beef and soy are devastating indigenous lands and communities, not least through the massive use of pesticides – many of which have been banned in the Global North due to their impact on other animals, water, soil and human health. The report’s launch event on 28 November highlighted the extent to which indigenous lands have been converted or confined between plantations often preceded or accompanied by human rights abuses. 

The report then makes the uncomfortable link between these destructive practices and Welsh pension funds, which can directly impact deforestation through the sectors and industries that they invest in. The report looks at the eight Local Government Pension Schemes that make up the Wales Pension Partnership. It finds that at least 10% of investments made by the eight funds are at a high risk of financing deforestation – equivalent to £2.6 billion across the partnership. When the descriptor is changed from ‘high risk’ to ‘likely exposed to deforestation’, the figure changes to 45%, equivalent to more than £11 billion.  

There is therefore an enormous opportunity for Welsh pension funds to drive change.

The report sets out a clear step by step methodology for doing so. 

If your organisation wants to act on this or other deforestation risks, you can take the first step today by joining the Size of Wales movement to make Wales a Deforestation-Free Nation.

We Must Believe That The World Can Be Different: Welsh Pensions and Deforestation Read More »

What can a just and fair net zero transition look like? 

What can a just and fair net zero transition look like?

What can a just and fair net zero transition look like? It’s a topic that has been on my mind a lot since joining Cynnal Cymru in February as the Senior Programme and Policy Lead, leading our Fair Work and Living Wage team. Unsurprisingly for a charity called ‘Sustain Wales’, we’ve always been a sustainability charity first and foremost. But for a few years now, we’ve worked on developing our aims on ‘just transition’, and that has included embedding the fair work agenda outlined in the Fair Work Wales report in 2019 into our aims. That has meant working with trade unions, writing policy papers on spreading fair work principles throughout existing government programmes, and sitting on the Welsh Government’s group aimed at tackling modern slavery.  

We’re also the Living Wage Foundation’s accreditation partner for Wales, meaning we essentially host Living Wage Wales in house. Living Wage Wales has delivered over 22,000 pay rises for low-paid workers across Wales through this work, including 5,575 in 2023 alone – making a direct contribution to tackling the cost of living crisis. This fits with another key Cynnal Cymru principle – focus on action, not just words. 

This is what myself and my colleagues on the Fair Work and Living Wage team work on – but what does it have to do with sustainability? I’d say it has a huge contribution to make. We should be honest about the fact that there are vested interests who are opposed to carbon reduction and nature-positive actions, particularly at the scale we know these need to happen at. It barely needs saying, but profit motives very often run against sustainability aims. A tree can be a project stewarded by communities over hundreds of years that provides space for nature and clean air for people, or it can be a blocker to a new car park. At time of writing, it was only yesterday that we heard the UAE government plans to use COP28 to make oil deals.  

There are often efforts to protect private profit motives via leveraging the jobs business creates, to bind the inexorable destruction of the natural world to the interests of working people. In this framing, environmentalists and their causes are painted as cloistered from the demands of the real world that most people have to deal with. There’s no hiding from the fact that this can be an emotive and powerful dividing line, carving the people whose world is being worsened away from efforts to protect it. We saw in the recent Uxbridge by-election how action on emissions, in this case Ultra Low Emission Zones (ULEZ), can be utilised for political gain. 

Focus on action – not just words.

For me, then, a just and fair transition isn’t just a slogan. It is a vital tool in our efforts towards carbon reduction and nature restoration. If our sustainability efforts are questioned, we can very happily point to the work we do to ensure that people have access to fair working conditions and boosting the pay of those in the lowest-paid jobs so that they can afford to live and not just exist. Work on a fair and just transition can bind working people to the cause of sustainability – not an inconvenience for people, but an opportunity. At a legislative level in Wales, the recent Social Partnership and Public Procurement Act has amended the Well-being of Future Generations Act to include ‘fair work’, and our well-being indicators include payment of the real Living Wage and trade union membership. This binds the cause of working people even closer to the task of saving our planet. 

If we get it right, the green transition gives us the opportunity to repair many of the broken elements of our economy. It can mean high-quality, unionised, green jobs spread across communities that have seen unfair working practices and low pay proliferate. Green skills training programmes that prepare our workforce for the future can contribute to bringing an end to the gender and racial inequities we see today. And of course, it can mean the avoidance of the road to disaster our climate and natural world are currently on.

So, as we look at Wales Climate Week and COP28, let’s keep the things that are important to people – their livelihoods, incomes, and their everyday lives – at the forefront of our minds. That’s what a just and fair transition is all about. 


Harry Thompson is Cynnal Cymru’s Senior Programmes and Policy Lead. He manages the Fair Work and Living Wage team, which work towards Cynnal Cymru’s strategic goal of a fair and just society. He comes from an economic policy background, having led projects on topics such as empowering trade unions, the Welsh Government’s fiscal framework, and community empowerment.

He is also our Equality and Diversity lead.

What can a just and fair net zero transition look like?  Read More »

A large wave crashes onto the edge of the pier with a visible lighthouse in Porthcawl.

National Infrastructure Commission for Wales (NICW) launches research project into climate change and engagement with the public

This week NICW has launched a new climate research project run by Cynnal Cymru to explore how climate change is communicated to communities. Over five months, the research team will analyse current trends and meet with communities to ultimately help public bodies engage better with the public to manage long-term climate risks.

Climate change is a serious issue that will transform landscapes worldwide, including Wales. The impact will be particularly significant here in Wales, where 60% of the population and the infrastructure we depend on are located in coastal areas. Many communities in these areas are situated below the high tide line, and rising sea levels and increased storms will gradually erode coastlines at a rate of 20-67m every 100 years. This rate is expected to increase to 82-175m depending on the level of carbon emissions.

However, rising sea levels are not the only change that the people of Wales will experience. Prolonged heat waves, heavy storms, and droughts might become the new norm, posing significant challenges to everyone. Therefore, it is essential to consider these impacts when maintaining and upgrading the infrastructure, which is often over 200 years old.

It is also crucial to recognise that the likelihood and severity of these risks will increase in the coming decades. Public bodies, the Welsh Government, and other important stakeholders must make critical decisions on responding to this risk, which may require responding to this risk and ensuring that communities are also engaged in the difficult decisions around planning and investment.

About the Project

The new project launched on November 6, 2023 and is set to end in March 2024. Its main objective is to help public bodies make better decisions and engage with the public to manage long-term climate risks. This learning will be applied to other climate threats as well. The project will focus on engaging those who are directly or indirectly affected by the risks, as well as the wider public, who may be affected in the future by the use of our nation’s infrastructure assets or in their homes. 

To accomplish these goals, the project will analyse current and emerging data about climate threats and ways to communicate these threats through interviews with stakeholders, including the NICW. Additionally, the analysis of the call for evidence, which is currently open, will be considered. Ultimately, this is a scoping project that aims to assist NICW in establishing a wider research program for 2024/2025 and provide recommendations on governance.

Cynnal Cymru, a sustainable development charity, was chosen to run the project due to their innovative approach to how the public, including policymakers, can act in the face of uncertainty.

Cynnal Cymru

“We are excited to contribute to this important initiative by providing direct insight on climate, engagement, and decision-making to those whose decisions will directly impact the well-being of communities in Wales”.

Helen Armstrong 

“We commissioned this project because we wanted to be pushed and challenged about how we think and communicate climate change with the public and decision-makers in Wales.” 

Steve Brooks 

“Climate change affects us all, but its effects vary across Wales and we want to ensure diverse voices are part of our strategy.” 

About the National Infrastructure 

The National Infrastructure Commission for Wales (NICW) was established in 2018 as an independent, non-statutory advisory body to Welsh Ministers. Its key purpose is to analyse, advise and make recommendations on Wales’ longer-term strategic economic and environmental infrastructure needs over a 5-80-year period. Welsh Ministers have recently set the NICW a new remit for this Senedd term which includes investigating and making recommendations to the Welsh Government on climate change resilience.  

About Cynnal Cymru 

Since 2002, Cynnal Cymru has paved the way for sustainable development in Wales. We aim to help organisations create a fairer and more secure future for all through training, consultancy, research, and facilitation. A fair and secure future is sustainable and climate literate, which is why we provide training and consultancy as a partner of the Carbon Literacy Project and across other sustainability areas. Our Fair Work team help businesses create fairer working practices as the Welsh accreditor of the real Living Wage. 

National Infrastructure Commission for Wales (NICW) launches research project into climate change and engagement with the public Read More »

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