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Welcome to Wales in 2051

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

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

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

Here is what they said:

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

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

What can you expect?

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

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

These characters are:

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

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

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

Read on for the first edition in the series…

Setting the Scene

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

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

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

Here is the reporter’s correspondence to the editors:

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

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

How can we develop and use the skills needed to create a 2051 we are proud of? Join Karolina and Camille for three free online Green Skills events on 14th, 21st, and 28th May.

An image of a person's hand writing on a red background. Title text reads: Green skills and your workplace. An orange block with black text reads: What do we mean by green skills? Tuesday 14th May 1 PM. Green recruitment and inclusive job descriptions. Tuesday 21st May 1 PM. Greening every job. Tuesday 28th May 1 PM. Cynnal Cymru logo in bottom left corner.

Welcome to Wales in 2051 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 »

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 »

Green Skills for a Net Zero Wales

How do we build green skills for a Net Zero Wales?

Last week, a few members of the Cynnal Cymru team attended Green Skills for a Net Zero Wales led by Business in the Community. In this breakfast briefing about the Green Skills agenda in Wales, likeminded organisations met to discuss green skills, with an address from the Minister of Economy in Wales, Vaughan Gething. Cynnal Cymru facilitated round tables with senior leaders in business of all sizes across Wales to exchange ideas on how everyone in Wales can grow a skilled workforce that meets Wales’ net zero commitments.  

What are Wales’ Net Zero Commitments?  

As part of the All Wales Plan 2021-25, organisations across every sector have pledged to make changes towards a net zero economy. In order to achieve a net zero economy, Wales as a whole needs to reduce our total emissions in 2030 by at least 90% relative to the baseline year, 2019-20.

How can we do this?

A key message in the event was championing the notion that green skills are not just about technical skills or the creation of new jobs. At Cynnal Cymru, we believe in a well-rounded approach to sustainable change, which is why we have a Fair Work team leading Living Wage Wales and a just transition to sustainable changes.  

Since joining Cynnal Cymru, I have attended and led events such as a Net Zero Skills round table for the Open University, a steering group for the IEMA green careers hub, and a Mainstreaming Equality for a Just Transition evidence panel. Through these conversations and research, I have come to realise that if we define green skills narrowly – only as technical jobs in energy and transport, for example – we will alienate people and will not reach our Net Zero transition goals. The UK economy, like many others, relies on sectors such as hospitality, retail, healthcare, construction, creative arts and more, which also need to be a part of this transition. Our focus must be on supporting existing sectors to upskill and re-skill their existing workforces so that huge communities don’t miss out on being part of a Net Zero economy.  

If we define green skills so narrowly – only as technical jobs in energy and transport, for example – we will alienate people and will not reach our Net Zero transition goals.

So why aren’t we doing this?

I noticed that organisations:  

  • Don’t have the time to think about green skills  
  • Don’t know where to start with these conversations or changes  
  • Don’t know how green skills apply to them  

I think this can be linked back to the understanding that every job can be green.  The Welsh Government is currently taking consultations on how to achieve net zero skills across sector. Cynnal Cymru is a member of the SME Taskforce for Climate, alongside other small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). As part of my work on this taskforce, I am educating workplaces across sectors on the ways they can understand their own skillset in relation to net zero.

Sign up for Cynnal Cymru’s newsletter to discover actions for nature or get in contact for how we can support you directly in your sustainability journey.

Karolina joined Cynnal Cymru in 2021 as our Sustainability Advisor to provide consultancy support to the public and private sectors on how to become more sustainable in their operations. She represents Cynnal Cymru on the SME Taskforce for the Climate.

Green Skills for a Net Zero Wales Read More »

Group of people in panel discussion

Cynnal Cymru and the Circular Economy

In 2022 the Cynnal Cymru team contributed to a project funded by the Wales Innovation Network to help businesses and public services develop their Circular Economy knowledge and skills. The project, which ran from July to October 2022, was a joint venture between Cardiff Metropolitan University, Aberystwyth University, Bangor University, Swansea University, Cwmpas and Cynnal Cymru.  

Central to the project was identifying businesses in Wales that have already successfully implemented circular economy principles and harnessing their experience and expertise to share with others. The project outputs include a report that outlines 21 case studies of Welsh businesses that have successfully implemented circular economy principles, and a series of  inspirational video clips. Their aim is to provide ‘how to’ examples for practitioners to better understand circular economy principles and their implementation.

The project also looked at available resources for learning about the circular economy, which have been mapped out on a capability development matrix.  Ranging from Level 1 content, which provides short videos and briefing notes that develop CE understanding, up to Level 7, which features intensive programmes to enable practitioners to implement CE principles within their organisation, the aim is to help organisations find relevant resources to develop appropriate knowledge and skills for individuals and groups.

Our own circular economy journey

Our Sustainability Advisor Dr Karolina Rucinska also took part in a training programme, organised by Cardiff Metropolitan University, that led to a formation of the Cardiff Circular Economy Network (CCEN)). As a result, Karolina has started introducing the concept of a circular economy to our members and clients and has mapped out how we at Cynnal Cymru can become circular too. Click here to listen to Karolina describing the value of the network, and if you think membership might be for you, get in touch via Twitter or the CCEN website.

For those of you who are interested to learn more about the circular economy, its roots, history and recent development, read Karolina’s post ‘Back to Nature: Circular Economy Then and Now’

Cynnal Cymru and the Circular Economy Read More »

What inspires you to take action on the climate and nature crisis?

“I’m really excited about the future if we tackle these crises in a positive way. We’ve lost so much biodiversity in Britain. And in my lifetime, if we could see that natural spectacle come back, what a wonderful future we could create.” (Dan)

“There’s a trillion planets but as far as we know, we are on the only one that can sustain life! It just proves how precise the conditions need to be for life. And you know, climate change, it’s not about the planet: it’s about life, here.” (Carys)

“As a kid, I enjoyed playing in nature. It’s so important for confidence, learning about yourself. And that’s only going to be possible for kids in the future if they don’t have to worry about how resilient the environment is.” (Gethyn, Ecologist)

“I was born in rural France and I can see all this change. If we don’t make a difference now, then the world we live in will be so different, so dangerous for the future generation. Think about that! We have to sort it out.”

“We’re helping to decarbonise Wales one business at a time so they can have a good carbon footprint and a solid carbon reduction plan because it just makes perfect sense.” (Dave, Auditel)

“I think the vegan movement and a more plant based lifestyle is a way that is going to help propel us into a more conscious future.” (Carly)

“It’s my duty of care as a teacher to have an interest in sustainability and make sure it has a direct impact in education and on future generations.” (Mary)

“I’m involved primarily for my and others’ future generations. But also because it’s the sensible way to live” (Ceri)

“I’m of the insect-splattered windscreen generation. My children have no concept of it; it’s declined by 80% in my lifetime. It’s the proverbial canary in the coalmine. Halting and reversing the moving baseline is what inspires me.” (Ben, Woop Woop Magazine)

“The time is now to think and work collectively to envision a brighter and environmentally just world. Join the conversation to realise a better planet and collective future. We need to move beyond doom and imagine what is possible.” (Louise)

“SMEs account for over half of the UKs economy and I feel a sense of honour and privilege in playing a part in a more sustainable commercial future.” (Louis, Web Marketer UK)

“My belief that we have a moral obligation to leave the world a better place was strengthened when I travelled & experienced the impact of climate change first hand. Now I use my unique skillset to try to reverse the damage that’s been done” (Ant, Motion Manor)

“When you have a home planet that has everything in it to help you live a good life, it makes sense to look after it. It’s self care – for us as a species who have the good fortune to exist in this bountiful ecosystem.” (Sylvia, Cynnal Cymru)

What inspires you to take action on the climate and nature crisis? Read More »

Save our Wild Isles

The experience was organised by WWF Cymru, RSPB Cymru and National Trust Cymru together with experts from the Open University that brought to life the Save Our Wild Isles campaign and television series, demanding an immediate halt to the destruction of nature here in the UK and urgent action for its recovery.

The event outlined the challenges facing us and how everyone has a part to play in supporting this recovery – something Sylvia and Jason know first-hand from their experience teaching Cynnal Cymru’s Nature Wise | Nabod Natur course. It brought together nature ambassadors advocating on behalf of our precious grasslands, freshwater areas, woodlands and oceans in a combination of film screenings, panel discussions and interpretation boards, all accompanied by a delicious sustainable vegan meal provided by local caterers Wild Thing Cardiff.

This fantastic opportunity to network and share experiences with others working in the sustainability sector did, however, make clear just how much work still needs to be done. The statistics are deeply worrying: 30 million birds have vanished from our skies over the last 50 years and as many as 1 in 6 species is at risk of extinction here in Wales. And this is something humanity has caused: in the words of Sir David Attenborough, “this starts and ends with us”.

But all is not lost – part of the event was to promote the People’s Plan for Nature created by thousands of people across the UK in an inclusive participatory process calling for “urgent, immediate action from everyone to protect and restore nature for future generations”. The Plan is an ambitious vision which aims to bring the nature crisis and nature conservation to the forefront of decision making while maintaining the delicate balance between human and non-human needs. Add your voice now to the People’s Plan for Nature and make it too big to ignore any longer.

Save our Wild Isles Read More »

Partner Insight: Implementing circular economy principles, lessons from businesses in Wales

The project, funded by the Wales Innovation Network, identified businesses in Wales that have successfully implemented circular economy principles and content that can help businesses and public services develop their CE knowledge and skills.

The Circular Economy concept requires a new way of thinking, away from the traditional linear economy thinking, where products are bought, used, and thrown away. Put simply, the circular economy is a system in which resources such as materials and equipment are used, reused, and repurposed as effectively as possible, for as long as possible.

The WIN project, which ran from July to October 2022, was a joint project between Cardiff Metropolitan UniversityAberystwyth UniversityBangor UniversitySwansea UniversityCwmpas and Cynnal Cymru.

Partners have researched and written a report that outlines 21 case studies of Welsh businesses that have successfully implemented circular economy principles, including inspirational video clips, such as Bluestone National Park Resort in Pembrokeshire or Celsa Steel UK in Cardiff.

Marten Lewis Head of Corporate Responsibility at Bluestone National Park Resort states “The circular economy programmes we have embedded in our operations have been very impactful, supporting need in the local community, creating positive engagement with staff, reducing our waste streams, and providing evidence of our lived brand values”.

Adele Williams founder of Green Wave Hair Workshop gathers hair donations and sews them into an absorbent mat which can be used to soak up oil spills in the ocean and on land commented on how circular economy practices have helped her business:

“Implementing circular economy practices within my business has attracted many more customers and helped to create goals, inspire, and create a sense of fulfilment for myself and Green Wave’s customers.”

Suzanne Wardell, CEO of Circular Economy Mid Wales, a not-for-profit organisation that aims to save waste from landfill explains

“Implementing circular economy principles is at the heart of what Circular Economy Mid Wales not only does, but it is what and who we are! Every aspect of our business is driven by recycle, reuse, repair – from the core business of reducing landfill to our partnerships with other social enterprises. Our aim is to turn a linear economy into a more circular one.”

The case studies provide ‘how to’ examples for practitioners to better understand circular economy principles and their implementation. The case studies also aim to encourage public service organisations and businesses to begin implementation of CE principles. The report disseminates some of the magnificent work ongoing in Wales and supports organisations to reduce their carbon footprint whilst moving to a CE business model.

capability development matrix provides a ‘road map’ which organises available resources into levels to enable organisations to develop appropriate knowledge and skills of individuals and groups. The level 1 content provides short videos and briefing notes that develop CE understanding, whereas level 7 content features intensive programmes that develop the knowledge and skills of practitioners to implement CE principles within their organisations.

A successful hybrid conference allowed partners from across Wales to participate, soft-launched the resources and findings in October 2022.

The WIN project follows the successful Cardiff Circular Economy Network Project, a pilot project working with businesses and schools in the Cardiff Council boundary which facilitated a series of workshops for practitioners and educators to come together, network and to develop a fuller understanding of circular economy principles.

Project Director Dr Gary Walpole commented on the importance of the research:

“The funding from WIN allowed us to develop a report and resources that will enable practitioners to fully understand the principles of the circular economy and embed them within their organisations. Implementing CE principles will enable clean growth and reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHGs).”

Nick Clifton, Professor of Economic Geography and Regional Development at Cardiff Metropolitan University explained:

“We need to transform our innovation ecosystems to deliver truly sustainable societal outcomes that go beyond narrowly defined measures of growth and development. Projects like WIN which brings together private, public and third sector actors to implement real-world solutions and share best practice, are vital to achieving this goal.”

Partner Insight: Implementing circular economy principles, lessons from businesses in Wales Read More »

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