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Blaenau Gwent To Hold First Climate Assembly in Wales

10,000 households in Blaenau Gwent have received written invitations to register their interest in participating. From those who apply to be involved, 50 people will then be randomly selected to take part and will learn about climate issues facing their community, discussing the themes of housing, nature and transport before proposing and debating potential solutions. 

The Assembly is being organised by housing associations United Welsh, Linc Cymru, Melin Homes and Tai Calon in partnership with sustainable development charity Cynnal Cymru, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and ERS Cymru.

Steve Cranston, Foundational Economy Lead for housing association United Welsh said: 

“Climate change is an emergency that impacts us all, from the homes we live in through to the food we eat with our families.

“A climate assembly is a fantastic opportunity to capture the views of local people representing the wider population about what needs to happen, helping decision makers across the Welsh public sector to shape their approach.

We all have a part to play in tackling climate change. As a partnership, we are looking forward to coming together with people in Blaenau Gwent to learn, challenge and inspire action.”

The Assembly will see leading experts present information on climate change and the sub-themes to the 50 participants to provide context to inform the discussions.

Jess Blair, Director of ERS Cymru said: 

“Through this climate assembly, Blaenau Gwent is leading the way in Wales on a new model of democracy, which gives local people a greater say in issues that affect them. Assemblies like this have been used across the UK, including with the Citizens Assembly of Scotland, UK Climate Assembly as well as elsewhere around the globe.

“The Assembly will give a representative sample of people in the community a chance to discuss, deliberate and produce recommendations that will be heard by decision makers across local government, local registered social landlords and Welsh Government. 

“Elsewhere models like this have been proven to build trust, give people a greater say in local decisions and give decision makers an insight into the trade-offs people would make around climate change. This is a really exciting development and we can’t wait to see it in action.”

Sarah Hopkins, Director of Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales said: 

“Local Authorities across Wales are declaring climate emergencies and recognising that urgent action is needed at local level to reduce carbon emissions. The transition to net zero will mean changes to people’s lives so it’s vital that citizens understand and participate in this journey. 

“We are delighted to be involved with organising the Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly. The recommendations decided upon will help to inform the collaborative approach to decarbonisation from Housing Associations, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and other key organisations in the region. We hope that other regions in Wales will also adopt similar processes to inform decarbonisation action plans.”

The Assembly has received funding from Welsh Government through a consortium managed by energy service provider Sero, where 68 partners in Wales were awarded more than £7m to decarbonise 1,370 homes and create tools to roll out large scale decarbonisation of homes across Wales as part of the ‘Optimised Retrofit’ programme.

The recommendations from the Assembly will be shared with all consortium partners and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council to help inform effective citizen engagement for climate change in future.

Michelle Morris, Managing Director, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council said: 

“Climate change is a global issue and it’s absolutely vital that we act now to protect our environment for the well-being of future generations and I am sure that the Climate Assembly will help us all focus on this.  As a Council, we recognise the importance of the challenges and we recently approved a new Decarbonisation Plan.

“We’re already taking a number of actions to reduce our carbon impact such as improving the energy efficiency of our schools; our public buildings and our street-lighting and also reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill. This Plan will see us take a more strategic approach towards achieving carbon neutrality and will help us to prioritise work in a number of key areas of our operations which, with some changes, can make a significant contribution towards our carbon neutral aim.”

Find out more about the Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly >>

How to create a more sustainable organisation in 2021

The new year is always a period of reflection, goal setting and looking ahead at the things we’d like to achieve over the next 12 months. 

We know that for many organisations, part of that involves thinking about becoming more sustainable, more fair and more representative. 

Here are our top three tips to get 2021 off to a productive start…

Commit to learning about climate change 

When it comes to the environment, knowledge is power. Learning the science behind climate change is the best way to recognise how it impacts your life and gives you the confidence to make informed decisions that tackle the problem. 

The best place to get started is with an accredited Carbon Literacy training course, which provides a valuable basis of information, resources and accountability for anyone who wants to commit to making a real change this year. 

As the only accrediting body in Wales, we’re proud to have trained over 400 people, from small enterprises to large organisations.

Consider signing up to our next group open course on 25-28 January 2021.

Focus on long-term solutions  

For organisations wanting to make a long-term commitment to sustainable development, consider investing in expert support to help you reach your wider goals. 

This aspect will help you to understand how to balance the financial needs of your business with benefits to society, the economy and the planet. 

Consider a sustainability health check, a review of your environmental policy or getting advice on how to start an environmental management system. 

Our Members have access to a free sustainability assessment, action based training and a diverse network of like-minded people amongst other benefits.  

You can become a member for as little as £150 a year. To find out more, please reach out to lynsey@cynnalcymru.com 

Become a real Living Wage employer 

Paying the real Living Wage has shown to have a number of benefits for employers and employees alike. 

In 2020, 93% of businesses said that paying a real Living Wage has benefited their business, with a further 75% sharing that it has increased motivation and retention rates for their employees. 

Hundreds of organisations across Wales chose to go further than paying the Government minimum wage last year, by becoming real Living Wage employers, including Health Board, WLGA, United Welsh, Natural Resources Wales. We also completed a clean sweep of accredited universities; a huge achievement for the real Living Wage movement.

We can guide you through the process of becoming a real Living Wage employer. 

Email bethan@cynnalcymru.com or Register online via the Living Wage Foundation Website

If you have any questions or want to find out more about how we can help you to achieve your wider goals and objective in 2021, please email lynsey@cynnalcymru.com

Riversimple Appoint Juergen Maier as Commercial Partner Custodian Director

Maier joins the Welsh hydrogen car manufacturer as they approach volume production

Juergen Maier CBE joins Riversimple after retiring from Siemens a year ago. Maier is actively involved in roles that are focused on accelerating positive change – he is Chair of the Digital Catapult, Co-chairs Made Smarter and serves on the Industrial Strategy Council, which advises Government on Industrial Strategy.

He is also a strong advocate for the modern re-industrialisation of the North of England and is Vice Chair of the Northern Powerhouse Partnership. From his years at Siemens, Juergen has notable experience in collaborating with commercial partners in a wide number of fields, so he comes to the role with a great depth of understanding.

The Commercial Partners Custodian represents the interests of all commercial partners engaged with Riversimple, while also ensuring that Riversimple operates in a manner that is fully consistent with its purpose – namely to pursue, systematically, the elimination of the environmental impact of personal transport.

Working with commercial partners, Riversimple’s goal is ultimately to build up a network of relationships that are inherently aligned rather than competitive – and anchored in circular business models based on service rather than product sales.

Maier explains his interest in Riversimple:

My 33 year career has been characterised by technology disruption creating exciting new industries, supporting technology’s role in creating a more sustainable world, and all of that having a positive societal impact. I can’t think of another company that embodies all of this as well as Riversimple. I’m very much looking forward to working with an incredibly ingenious team, creating a new revolution in zero-carbon transport, and creating prosperity for society through that.

Estelle Clark, Steward for Riversimple, said:

“We can already feel the power and focus that Juergen brings to this role. It is a privilege to hear his fresh perspective on Riversimple’s plans and ambitions.”

Riversimple’s Chairman, Guy Battle, commented:

“Juergen’s role will become vital as we approach volume production. We are developing a nascent technology and that needs cooperation, trust and alignment among the players involved. We’re delighted to have such a strong team player at the heart of Riversimple’s value network.”

Blaenau Gwent To Hold First Climate Assembly in Wales

The Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly will be held online during two weekends in March, bringing residents together from across the borough to address the question: “What should we do in Blaenau Gwent to tackle the climate crisis in a way that is fair and improves living standards for everyone?”

10,000 households in Blaenau Gwent have received written invitations to register their interest in participating. From those who apply to be involved, 50 people will then be randomly selected to take part and will learn about climate issues facing their community, discussing the themes of housing, nature and transport before proposing and debating potential solutions. 

The Assembly is being organised by housing associations United Welsh, Linc Cymru, Melin Homes and Tai Calon in partnership with sustainable development charity Cynnal Cymru, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and ERS Cymru.

Steve Cranston, Foundational Economy Lead for housing association United Welsh said: 

“Climate change is an emergency that impacts us all, from the homes we live in through to the food we eat with our families.

“A climate assembly is a fantastic opportunity to capture the views of local people representing the wider population about what needs to happen, helping decision makers across the Welsh public sector to shape their approach.

We all have a part to play in tackling climate change. As a partnership, we are looking forward to coming together with people in Blaenau Gwent to learn, challenge and inspire action.”

The Assembly will see leading experts present information on climate change and the sub-themes to the 50 participants to provide context to inform the discussions.

Jess Blair, Director of ERS Cymru said: 

“Through this climate assembly, Blaenau Gwent is leading the way in Wales on a new model of democracy, which gives local people a greater say in issues that affect them. Assemblies like this have been used across the UK, including with the Citizens Assembly of Scotland, UK Climate Assembly as well as elsewhere around the globe.

“The Assembly will give a representative sample of people in the community a chance to discuss, deliberate and produce recommendations that will be heard by decision makers across local government, local registered social landlords and Welsh Government. 

“Elsewhere models like this have been proven to build trust, give people a greater say in local decisions and give decision makers an insight into the trade-offs people would make around climate change. This is a really exciting development and we can’t wait to see it in action.”

Sarah Hopkins, Director of Cynnal Cymru-Sustain Wales said: 

“Local Authorities across Wales are declaring climate emergencies and recognising that urgent action is needed at local level to reduce carbon emissions. The transition to net zero will mean changes to people’s lives so it’s vital that citizens understand and participate in this journey. 

“We are delighted to be involved with organising the Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly. The recommendations decided upon will help to inform the collaborative approach to decarbonisation from Housing Associations, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council and other key organisations in the region. We hope that other regions in Wales will also adopt similar processes to inform decarbonisation action plans.”

The Assembly has received funding from Welsh Government through a consortium managed by energy service provider Sero, where 68 partners in Wales were awarded more than £7m to decarbonise 1,370 homes and create tools to roll out large scale decarbonisation of homes across Wales as part of the ‘Optimised Retrofit’ programme.

The recommendations from the Assembly will be shared with all consortium partners and Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council to help inform effective citizen engagement for climate change in future.

Michelle Morris, Managing Director, Blaenau Gwent County Borough Council said: 

“Climate change is a global issue and it’s absolutely vital that we act now to protect our environment for the well-being of future generations and I am sure that the Climate Assembly will help us all focus on this.  As a Council, we recognise the importance of the challenges and we recently approved a new Decarbonisation Plan.

“We’re already taking a number of actions to reduce our carbon impact such as improving the energy efficiency of our schools; our public buildings and our street-lighting and also reducing the amount of waste sent to landfill. This Plan will see us take a more strategic approach towards achieving carbon neutrality and will help us to prioritise work in a number of key areas of our operations which, with some changes, can make a significant contribution towards our carbon neutral aim.”

To find out more about the Blaenau Gwent Climate Assembly, visit: 

www.cynnalcymru.com/blaenau-gwent-climate-assembly/ 

A Green Recovery For The Public Sector After Covid-19

Since March 2020 our world has fundamentally changed.

The shared impact of the pandemic has made us realise how the mundane things we take for granted can be taken away overnight.

This is exactly what environmental scientists have been warning us about for thirty years.

However, as we rebuild after Covid, we have an opportunity to think about the changes needed to create a world in which people can thrive without harming the environment that supports them.

We also have to acknowledge that Covid-19 has been very damaging for some sectors and the same will be true of climate and ecological change. The challenge for public and private sector organisations in Wales and across the world is to be adaptive and resilient.

In Wales, the Well-being of Future Generations Act and Environment Act provide the public sector with a legal and moral duty to “build back better and greener”.

Public Health Wales, in particular, has risen to the challenge, working with us in 2019 to develop workshops and action plan templates that will help the health sector and other public bodies to achieve the environmental objectives that the legislation requires.

These initiatives focus on environmental action by addressing four key themes:

  1. Decarbonisation – reducing our emissions of the gasses that cause global warming and the consequent climate change.
  2. Zero waste – ensuring we no longer bury or burn ‘waste’ but reduce the volume of materials we extract from nature by re-purposing, re-using and recycling everything.
  3. Biodiversity – the health, abundance and richness of natural systems so that other species can thrive with us in a harmonious balance of humans and nature. 
  4. Adaptation – adapting to the climate changes we have already triggered by our use of fossil fuels and cannot therefore stop. 

The assets that have been created provide an environmental ‘call to action’ for the health sector in Wales through a series of workshops to develop a shared approach to environmental responsibility. It’s important that we acknowledge that everyone has a responsibility towards the environment whilst recognising its many potential co-benefits.

On top of this, an environmental management module has been created, to complement the DIFT training for public sector teams. SIFT stands for Sustainability Improvements For Teams and the SIFT suite of workshops is being developed to support the delivery of the Well-being of Future Generations Act.

We anticipate releasing the “Healthy Environment Module” for use by public sector teams this month.

But we must note that it’s not just the public sector that holds this responsibility.

Private companies similarly relying on people, must play their part. We have seen the private sector adapt to Covid-19 with the entrepreneurial energy that underpins all business success. Companies have quickly changed their business models, finding new products or services to provide or changing the way existing product reaches the customer.

Everyone has been affected by the pandemic, whether directly or indirectly, just as the environmental crisis threatens every household and familyAs with Covid-19, we have to turn and face our threats and realise that the environment is not something separate from us.

It is where we get our raw materials from, what we eat, drink and breathe. It’s not too late to do something about global warming and climate change. We can halt the extinction of species and the erosion of nature by working collectively and making positive contributions.

In the words of the International Panel on Climate Change – “no action is too small”.

Sustainable Academy Spotlight Event Recap

Thank you to everyone that attended our Sustainable Academy Spotlight last week (03 December) in partnership with Renewable UK Cymru and to our past award winners Meleri Davies, Paul Allen and Grant Peisley and our headline sponsor, Sarah Williams, who all shared their progress over the past 12 months and insights into future ambitions and projects. 

Sarah Williams, Wales & West Utilities – Headline sponsor of Sustainable Academy Awards 

Sarah Williams shared Wales & West Utilities sustainable plan for the future, including four key business areas that Wales & West Utilities is currently developing: 

  1. Investing in green gases – hydrogen and biomethane
  2. Delivering a net-zero ready gas network by 2035
  3. Committing to zero to landfill by 2035 
  4. Increasing electric vehicle use

The organisation is keen to speak to any partners that would like to form a green panel. Please email sarah.williams@wwutilities.co.uk if you’d like to be included.

Meleri Davies, Partneriaeth Ogwen – Winner of Sustainability Champion 2019 

Last year’s Sustainability Champion winner, Meleri Davies shared details of her hometown in the beautiful Ogwen Valley and the Partneriaeth Ogwen enterprise which seeks to bring together the economy, language and culture, the environment, society and sustainability. 

Over the past twelve months, the project has grown in strength and size, taking over the community library where various sustainable measures are in place, including edible plants on the land, utilising renewable energy and the use of an electric car.  

She shared more about Ynni Ogwen, which is a project that produces electricity from hydroelectric power from Afon Ogwen and finally, ideas for developing a future plan for sustainable tourism in the area. 

Learn more about their work here: www.partneriaethogwen.cymru 

Paul Allen – Centre for Alternative Technology – winner of the Special Award 2019 

Winner of the Special Award 2019 for his dedication and work with the Centre for Alternative Technology, Paul discussed the cycle of demand for renewable energy and the policies and measures that could be put in place for people to understand and action zero-carbon solutions.

He touches on the importance of Carbon Literacy training to all people in leadership in Wales and also the importance of citizen engagement with local Councils on the declaration of a climate emergency and related action plans. 

Click here to find out more about CAT’s work and Zero Carbon Britain. 

Grant Peisley, YnNi Teg – winner of Outstanding Renewable Energy Project 2018 

Our 2018 winner of Outstanding Renewable Energy Project, Grant Peisley, Director of the community wind turbine project YnNi Teg delves into the success of the project over the past 12 months. 

He shares that 2000 tonnes of Co2 has been saved since 2016 and that a total of 16,000 tonnes will be saved over its lifetime. Also, Grant shared the organisations latest campaign ‘pants powered by wind’ which received the away for Best Community Energy photo of the year.

YnNi Teg’s current goal is to develop more similar projects across Wales, starting with the Bretton Hall project which is in the works for 2023. Grant is working on raising £30million in order to complete the plan for building a solar farm. 

It was great to see so many faces to celebrate action towards a more sustainable Wales. We hope that next year we will be able to hold the Sustainable Academy Awards again. If you would like to keep up to date with the awards, please visit www.sustainableacademy.wales and follow us on Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn for regular news and updates.

Living Wage Employer Case-study: Sparkles Cleaning

Cynnal Cymru are the accrediting body in Wales for the Living Wage Foundation’s Accreditation scheme. With over 100 accredited employers in Cardiff- as part of the Cardiff as a Living Wage City ambitions and Action plan we hope to raise that number to 150 and increase the number of people in the City working for an accredited employer to 48,000 by 2022.

As part of that vision, we are presenting case studies of Cardiff employers who have already made their commitment to fair pay to see the difference that accreditation has made to them and their employees.

Today, we focus on Sparkles Cleaning Services Wales and West Limited. Sparkles Cleaning Services has a strong heritage. Founded in South Wales by Ceri Jennings 17 years ago, the business has flourished. From helping people make their homes Sparkle to now helping businesses and national organisations create pleasant and safe places to work.

However, Sparkles has a dual role: to provide stress free professional cleaning, and to provide secure employment to individuals in difficult circumstances.

As such, one of their principles is ‘What Matters to Our People’.  This is not just a slogan on a poster somewhere, but how we behave.  People who join Sparkles are often surprised when they are asked this at the beginning, expecting to be told, instead, what the job entails and what they will be doing.

They work with the following organisations in their dual role of providing stress free professional cleaning, and providing secure employment with:

Cardiff City Council, Cardiff Adult Learning, The Hubs in Cardiff, PACE, and the ESOL Teams.  They are registered as a Work Trial Employer, a Disability Confident Employer and are part of the Cardiff Commitment Drive.

They believe the role of leadership is to add value to those undertaking the value creation roles – those undertaking the cleaning – so spend a great deal of time asking, “What gets in the way of you doing a good job?”.  Leadership effort is then focused on removing obstacles.

However, this is a two-way relationship, where everyone is encouraged to take responsibility.  Individuals are asked to try and solve problems themselves, and find out, and do, what matters to customers.

They have found that this leads to lower turnover of staff, and have a loyal team, proud of their role as a result.  In addition, they have seen an increase in turnover of 400% in the last two years, as customers experience the benefit from their approach.

On a practical level, they continually invest in training, and pay everyone above the real living wage.  In addition, they have recently provided the second profit share with everyone, which was very welcomed, particularly due to the difficulties some of their team members have found during the covid-19 situation.  The profit share is not related to sales targets, but is simply a reflection that the reason the company has made a profit is due to the hard work of their team – so everyone should get a share in the benefits.  Additionally, the profit share was equal, regardless of the usual hours individuals worked, reflecting the fact that everyone contributes, no matter the hours they are able to offer.

They are now taking further steps, in their wish to move away from the traditional employment relationship, and are co-producing with everyone, a rights and responsibilities document based on how everyone wishes to work with each other.  This is built on their work teaching teams therapeutic skills to enable them to settle disagreements and solve problems together, where they have seen fantastic progress.

They are keen to be an exemplar of working differently in practice, and are confident that what they have achieved can be achieved in other organisations.  If other organisations are inspired to take action themselves, they feel a real difference can be made to the Foundational Economy in Cardiff, where more money is kept in the pockets of people living and working in the area, improving economic prosperity in the region.

“It is important to us that we recognise the hard work of our teams, and ensuring we pay the Living Wage, to reflect the real cost of living, is one of the ways we look to do that. We hope our accreditation will inspire other organisations to do the same.”

Simon Pickthall, Director

Visit the Sparkles Website or find out more about making Cardiff a Living Wage City 

Over 400 People Carbon Literate in Wales!

What is The Carbon Literacy Project?

The Carbon Literacy Project offers everyone a day’s worth of Carbon Literacy learning, covering – climate change, carbon footprints, how you can do your bit, and why it’s relevant to you and your audience. The Project divides ‘everyone’ into three distinct audiences – those that live, those that work, and those that study. This allows every citizen to be offered Carbon Literacy learning in a way that has immediate meaning for them.

The Project delivers no training directly but works with a host of people and organisations from all walks of life, that all deliver training that is accredited against the Carbon Literacy Standard. The Project then assesses participant’s and certifies successful candidates with their own uniquely numbered Carbon Literacy certificate.

There is nothing else quite like The Carbon Literacy Project. This was recognised by the United Nations at the UN climate negotiations, COP21, in Paris in 2015, where the Project was awarded TAP100 status, – one of 100 projects worldwide recognised as Transformative Action Programmes, that could materially change the way we deal with climate change.

The Carbon Literacy Project has always been a massive collaborative project. It involves people and organisations from all sectors and walks of life working together and contributing time, materials and funding to advance understanding and action on climate change.

The Project is wholly owned by The Carbon Literacy Trust, a registered charity (No 1156722) established in 2013 to take responsibility for The Project in perpetuity, for the public good.

Where did it all begin?

A cross-sector collaboration developed a carbon reduction plan to make Manchester carbon neutral by 2038. The plan was backed by the local government, the Mayor of Manchester, businesses, universities, and community organisations who quickly recognised that in order for the plan to be successful, they needed a method of learning that enabled every individual in Manchester to take positive action in reducing their emissions. That solution is Carbon Literacy.

Where do we come into it?

We discovered the need for Carbon Literacy in Wales in 2016 after meeting with Claire Raisin, the then Director of Size of Wales, and Dave Coleman, the co-Director of The Carbon Literacy Project.

Exactly a year later, we delivered our first certified Carbon Literacy course for the Sustainability Hub of Public Health Wales and since then we have delivered Carbon Literacy training to over 400 people from all sectors and all parts of Wales.

In the three years that we have been delivering Carbon Literacy training, the project has grown enormously to become an international movement with over 16,000 individuals being trained across ten nations.

As the official partner of the Carbon Literacy Project in Wales, and the only Carbon Literacy training organisation that we are aware of, we’re immensely proud to be part of this movement but we also humbly recognise that the ethos of Carbon Literacy is one of sharing and co-operation.

The main course that we run is called “Carbon Literacy in the Workplace” but we also have a certified course for engineers and are developing ideas to engage more general communities whilst exploring the possibility of developing a course for unions as well.

Our approach is to engage with people largely on a sector basis, training some initial pioneer cohorts and subsequently supporting clients to develop their own courses for delivery in-house via a peer to peer cascade.

We proudly helped National Museum Wales start their journey to develop a dedicated course for the museum sector and connected them with museums in Manchester. 

Our biggest success however is enabling a consortium of 27 social housing providers to design Carbon Literacy training for their own sector which replicates what has been achieved in greater Manchester.

With support from Linc and the Carbon Literacy Project, we trained a pioneer cohort of 63 individuals and supported a course design team. A further 70 colleagues are now undergoing “train the trainer” with Manchester Metropolitan University and in January, the members will start cascading Carbon Literacy training to colleagues.

It’s an amazing achievement for 27 companies to agree to work with each other like this and there have already been reports from the consortium – known as Carbon Literacy Cartrefi Cymru or CLCC – on the impacts the training has had.

For example, Wales and West Housing reported that they are upgrading their fleet to electric vehicles as a direct result of its senior colleagues receiving Carbon Literacy training from us.

While we have been busy in Wales, the core organisation in Manchester has been even busier. It received funding from the UK Government’s BEIS department to develop a range of courses for public sector professional disciplines. It has already launched the Local Authority Toolkit, and Cardiff Council – who received initial training from us – is preparing to use it to train its staff.

Tim Gordon (Head of Communications and External Affairs at Cardiff Council) attended our carbon literacy training in 2019 and responded with: “A thoroughly fascinating and informative course which will open your eyes to the climate change debate – even if you thought you already knew all about it. It will really make you rethink the way we live life today”.

Tim and colleagues are currently receiving and analysing responses to the public consultation on their draft One Planet Cardiff Strategy: the Carbon Literacy training of all staff is an integral part of the One Planet Cardiff proposal. 

Meanwhile, Denbighshire County Council is training their senior management and elected members and we are helping them to develop a Carbon-lite e-learning course.

Newport Council and Monmouthshire Public Service Board are also preparing to initiate Carbon Literacy training with our support.

What’s next for us?

This month we will be running a session for Sustainable Development Co-ordinators Cymru, the network of sustainability professionals in public bodies across Wales. This group will be the first to use our new online learning platform as we convert to a more Covid proof model of learning.

The new website now enables anyone around the world to enrol themselves on any of our courses and undertake a combination of self-directed study with online tutor-led sessions. We will be adding dedicated client-focused courses to the site with a closed enrolment as well as continuing to add open courses that anyone can join.

Our experience with Carbon Literacy has led us to consider the parallels between the climate crisis and the nature crisis and explore whether the same learning approach can be applied to raise people’s awareness of the decline in biodiversity. 

The concept of ‘eco-literacy’ is not new but we think we are the first to apply the principles of Carbon Literacy to the challenge.

With the blessing of the Carbon Literacy project, therefore, we have designed a course that addresses the nature crisis following the Carbon Literacy criteria. The course enables group learning and problem solving with a focus on positive action while not hiding the severity of the threat posed by the erosion of natural systems and the extinction of species worldwide.

Participants will be aided in finding local, collaborative solutions to a global problem and to recognise the value of individual action. We aim to pilot the course in the new year and are pleased to have the support of a wide body of biodiversity professionals and interested groups.

Just like Manchester, Wales has its own carbon reductions plans and targets. With support from us, everyone who lives, works or studies in Wales can now become Carbon Literate and play their part in our national story of revival and renewal.

If you’d like to join our next open Carbon Literacy course please email training@cynnalcymru.com

Last Chance To Join The ‘One Planet’ Consultation

[:en]Cardiff Council recently launched the draft One Planet Cardiff strategy; an ambitious new plan designed to drive Cardiff towards becoming a carbon-neutral city by 2030. Alongside the strategy is a consultation open until 11 December for the public and business or organisations to have their say.

The strategy proposes a wide range of actions that will begin to form the basis of a delivery plan to achieve Carbon Neutrality which includes:

– Changes to prioritise cycling and walking around the city that have the potential to reduce traffic emissions and improve local air quality.

– A 9-megawatt solar farm which is now installed at the former Lamby Way landfill site that will supply renewable electricity to the city sewage treatment work to help decarbonise both this facility and the local energy grid.

– Establishing a Climate Emergency Partnership Board made up of large public sector organisations in the city to share best practise and agree and drive forward a city-wide carbon-neutral target.

Alongside this are multiple proposed co-benefits of actions to alleviate the impacts of climate change that aim to bring together aspects of transport, social equity, waste management and a green economic recovery. It aims to do this in a way that supports new green economies and greater social wellbeing in the city.

The Council wants to ensure that as many stakeholders as possible are aware of the One Planet Cardiff strategy and have the opportunity to participate in the consultation.

We encourage you to access the consultation via this link and complete the relevant survey that can be found under the “Have your say” section.

Cardiff Council hopes to receive a wide range of responses to help inform a robust final version of the One Planet Cardiff strategy.[:]

Carbon Literacy logo

Grasshopper Communications Takes First Steps in Becoming Carbon Literate

One of our members, Grasshopper Communications recently completed Carbon Literacy training with us. This is how director, Hannah Dineen feels the training has impacted the organisation to take action on climate change both internally and on a personal level…

Many of us may feel we care about the climate change emergency but feel overwhelmed about how much information is out there and how to take action to actually make a difference.

For me personally, having just attended Cynnal Cymru’s Carbon Literacy Training, I feel better equipped to take action to make a difference to reduce my carbon footprint and carbon offset.

So, we’re all aware the world is getting warmer and we’ve got a climate emergency. The NASA time machine has helped me to clearly visualise how the earth’s key climate indicators (sea ice, sea level, carbon dioxide and global temperature) have changed over my lifetime.

So how will this affect you and me?

Climate change is already happening before our eyes. Rainfall patterns are becoming increasingly unpredictable with a shift towards a ‘feast and famine’ regime. The potential for declining water availability and potential water scarcity is likely to have a negative affect on agricultural (crop or pasture) production resulting in food price spikes.

The floods in South Wales in February 2020 hit the poorest communities, many of whom lacked insurance to cover the cost of the wrecked belongings and struggling to pay for repairs.

Rising sea levels is threatening many of our flood defences.  Defending seaside towns and villages, roads and railways will prove costly and unsustainable. Natural Resources Wales are therefore exploring opportunities for nature based solutions and adaption to our coast.

Climate change is also changing the patterns of migratory birds and increasing pests and diseases. The RSPB has responded by exploring different management techniques.  The parts of the Ynyshir reserve in the Dyfi estuary has now been allowed to flood during high tides and storms, creating a much needed new marshland for the migrating birds.

So how can we make a difference? 

DRIVERS OF CLIMATE CHANGE

Our use of energy is one of the major contributors to climate change. We need to reduce our energy consumption and our reliance on fossil fuels. For starters, we could all switch to a green energy provider or invest in a community energy share offer.

The Welsh Government has set a target for 70% of Wales’ electricity to be generated by renewables by 2030. The Welsh Government report ‘Energy Generation in Wales : 2019’ shows positive signs towards meeting the target and estimates that 51% of electricity consumption comes from renewables.

Additionally, renewable energy projects bring co-benefits, for example Vattenfall’s Pen y Cymoedd wind farm in the South Wales Valleys, has supported over 100 local jobs and an annual investment of £1.8m to make a difference to the lives of local people.

The construction and running of buildings is a significant contributor to our carbon footprint. Whether it’s school, hospitals, offices or homes, the development sector is striving to achieve net zero buildings. We are looking forward to delivering communications on behalf of a collaboration of 68 partners, managed by Sero, that has just been awarded £7m of Welsh Government’s  Optimised Retrofit Funding to roll out the large scale decarbonisation of homes across Wales.

The Royal Town Planning Institute’s campaign ‘Plan the World We Need’ is calling on governments across the UK and Ireland to capitalise on the expertise of planners to achieve a sustainable, resilient and inclusive recovery and meet net-zero targets by 2050.

The recent Cynnal Cymru event, ‘Greening the Screen’ showcased how the film production industry is becoming more sustainable.  Arup’s recent research ‘A Screen New Deal’ shows that  an average tentpole film production generates 2,840 tonnes of CO2e, the equivalent amount absorbed by 3,709 acres of forest in a year.  The report recommends the industry strive to reuse materials, design sets for deconstruction and repurpose thus additionally contributing to the Circular Economy agenda.

Roger Williams from Joio Production spoke of how sustainability was put at the heart of producing the latest series of Bang on S4C.  Commitment to deliver positive sustainable actions resulted in removing paper cups from set, only printing call sheets on request, advocating the use of public transport and sourcing costumes from local charity shops.

Communities are equally coming together to act. The Edible Porthmadog project shows how residents and school children have reused old boats as planters for fruit and vegetables to provide local produce to local people.  The Llani Car Club provides its 27 members access to a car (including electric car).  The members have shared how it has helped them to reduce their car mileage, car share more and learn how to use public transport.  The Awel Co-op runs two wind turbines on Mynydd y Gwrhyd, 20 miles north of Swansea providing enough energy to supply over 2,500 homes.  The profits help tackle fuel poverty and develop other renewable energy projects.

So, pause for a moment.  Do you know what you are contributing to climate change?  Why not calculate your organisation’s emissions or calculate your carbon footprint as a household? If you want to know more, ‘How bad are bananas?’ by Mike Berners gives an invaluable and entertaining guide that shows just what effect everything has on carbon emissions, from a Google search to a plastic bag, from a flight to a volcano.

The carbon literacy training has spurred me on to act and embed carbon reduction into my daily lifestyle and encourage others to do the same.

Our next Carbon Literacy open course takes place from 14-17 December, and spaces are now open.

Visit: https://bit.ly/CC_CarbonLiteracy

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