A Wales that cares: People, planet, and green skills – A focus on sustainability and equality

At Cynnal Cymru, we recognise that we are not the only organisation in Wales working to make sustainability challenges, and their solutions, visible and relatable.

Engaging with others is a key part of what we do and what we learn we try to share – through our advice and action planning, training – and posts like these.

We recently participated in an event organised by the Institute of Welsh Affairs (IWA) and Oxfam Cymru which highlighted the importance of acknowledging and valuing unpaid (or poorly paid) labour, a form of work that is predominantly undertaken by women across the globe and is often unrecognised.

This intersection of work and justice is close to our hearts. Cynnal Cymru is the Living Wage accreditation partner for Wales and we see Fair Work as a critical cornerstone of any equitable society and economy.

If this issue also touches you, please read on for more insights from the event from our Sustainability Strategist Karolina and further resources around the care economy, alternative economic models, inequality and climate.

A Wales that cares: People, planet, and green skills – A focus on sustainability and equality – IWA and Oxfam Cymru April 2024

I was curious and excited to attend this event and to explore how a Wales that prioritises people and the planet could be constructed. A key takeaway was that this cannot be done without first recognising and fairly rewarding unpaid (or poorly paid) labour, a form of work that is predominantly undertaken by women and is often unrecognised.

The event featured a series of debates and conversations, ignited by thought-provoking presentations by:

  • Anam Parvez , Head of Research, Oxfam GB, on care, climate justice and inequality – a perspective from the UK
  • Leah Payud, Portfolio Manager, Oxfam Philippines, on care, climate justice and gendered dimensions – a perspective from the global South.
  • Erinch Sahan, Business and Enterprise Lead, DEAL, on doughnut economics and alternative economic models
  • Helen Lucocq, Head of Strategy and Policy, Bannau Brycheiniog National Park Authority, on doughnut economics and alternative economic models in Wales.

The takeaways that we’d like to share, including resources from the event or found subsequently, are:

Necessity of a Paradigm Shift:

It’s crucial that we progress beyond using GDP as the only indicator of success. This measure has shown to be patriarchal and has been globally implemented with devastating consequences. To truly understand its impact on our climate, it’s worth listening to Mia Motely’s discussion on the imperative need for systemic change and a compelling story from Gabon.

Significance of the Care Economy:

It’s undeniable that women bear a disproportionate burden of caregiving duties. For a just transition to occur, it’s essential to recognise and appreciate these contributions. During periods of transition, it’s crucial to consider all forms of paid and unpaid labour, as the most overlooked types are often the most affected and necessary. To gain a deeper understanding, visit Oxfam’s website dedicated to care in the UK and listen to these two insightful podcasts here and here, plus an episode about the staggering amount of money women in the care sector send back home.

Making change in Wales:

If you are in a position where you can help reset this balance in Wales you can watch how one social care provider became a Living Wage employer here.

Interconnection of Climate and Inequality:

Climate change tends to exacerbate existing social inequalities, with minority groups often bearing the brunt. Those burdened with caring responsibilities are often left to protect and rebuild with little or no external support. Thus, climate action and disaster preparedness plans should be inclusive, considering those with caring responsibilities and people with disabilities. In this regard, developing nations have made significant strides, providing valuable lessons for developed nations. For further information, you can read stories of preparedness with gender in mind, about the impact of climate on women in rural areas, listen to the episode about preparedness in Bangladesh, heartbreaking stories about the impact on women due to climate; and about the lack of consideration for people with disabilities in action plans.

The Doughnut Model – A New Business Paradigm:

The Doughnut Model is an innovative framework for redesigning businesses to address both environmental and social needs. System thinking skills are indispensable for facilitating this transition. To learn more, visit the Doughnut Lab.

Green Jobs & Just Transition Across All Sectors, Including Care:

The definition of green skills needs to be broadened to prevent exacerbating existing social inequalities.

Real Stories of Possibility:

There are countless solutions out there; they encompass technology, politics, socio-cultural changes, and are entirely achievable. Let’s make sure to share these inspiring stories! For a wealth of uplifting and inspiring stories, I recommend People Fixing the World.

The event spurred numerous questions:

  • What could these alternative metrics to GDP look like, and how can they be effectively implemented?
  • How can we ensure a just transition that benefits everyone, not just those with privilege?

We look forward to seeing these insightful discussions developed into a comprehensive position paper, which IWA should soon publish.

A Wales that cares: People, planet, and green skills – A focus on sustainability and equality Read More »

Lunchtime challenge: Craft the future! Design a 21st Century business strategy

Lunchtime Challenge: Craft the Future! Design a 21st Century Business Strategy

Join Clockwise Cardiff for an exciting event where you can unleash your creativity and innovation!

Time: 1 Hour (with light lunch provided)

Host: Karolina Rucinska, Sustainability Strategist at Cynnal Cymru

Calling all innovators! Ready to shake things up? Join us for a dynamic lunchtime challenge where you’ll brainstorm and build a business strategy fit for the 21st century.

The Challenge: Craft a future-proof strategy that considers not just profit, but also social responsibility and environmental impact.

Lunchtime challenge: Craft the future! Design a 21st Century business strategy Read More »

May events: Green skills and your workplace

All upcoming Cynnal Cymru events can be booked via Ticketsource

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

Tuesday 14th May | 1pm | Online

Hosts: Karolina Rucinska and Camille Lovgreen

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

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

This session will:

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

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

Postponed and merged with session 3

Session 2: Green recruitment and inclusive job descriptions

Tuesday 21st May | 1pm | Online

Hosts: Karolina Rucinska and Camille Lovgreen

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

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

Please bring your own challenges and experiences to share.

Session 3: Greening every job

Tuesday 28th May | 1pm | Online

Hosts: Karolina Rucinska and Camille Lovgreen

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

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

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