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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 »

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 »

Our New Members in August

Millrace Marketing

Millrace Marketing is a content focused MarComms agency filled to the brim with ideas designed to get our clients noticed where it matters most. We have a commitment to sustainability and to those who are doing their part for the environment. We are passionate about making a difference, and believe in projects that protect and benefit people and planet.

Find out more about Millrace Marketing >>


North Wales Recycle IT CIC

We are a not-for-profit social enterprise (also termed a Community Interest Company) and the only treatment centre of this kind in North Wales, offering secure and professional recycling, re-use and disposal services for all IT equipment.

Find out more about North Wales Recycle IT >>


Alliance Marketing Agency Ltd

We’re a marketing and design agency based in Newport that helps tell your brand story through graphic and web design, digital marketing, and PR services.

Find out more about Alliance Marketing Agency Ltd >>


Newport City Council

Newport City Council (Cyngor Dinas Casnewydd) is the governing body for Newport, one of the Principal Areas of Wales. It consists of 51 councillors, who represent the city’s 20 wards.

Find out more about Newport City Council >>

Membership

The Cynnal Cymru network is a community of proactive organisations who share our vision and values. Members and partners are action focused and innovative, eager to learn and collaborate to find solutions and new ways of doing things for a more sustainable Wales.

On joining Cynnal Cymru, our members have access to a free sustainability assessment, action based training and a diverse network of like-minded people.

If you are committed to a sustainable future and interested in becoming a member or in partnering with us then we would love to hear from you. Find out more >>

Our New Members in August Read More »

Introducing Cynnal Cymru Members: Millrace Marketing

Who are Millrace Marketing and what do you do?

Millrace is a creative marketing and communication agency that is built on a passion for producing meaningful storytelling for brands.

Storytelling is an important aspect of marketing as it enables organisations to develop deeper connections with audiences, uniting people and driving stronger, deeper connections.

Millrace works with organisations across Wales (and beyond) to plan and produce campaigns that tell their stories to the audiences that matter most. Teamed with a solid strategy, we produce a mixture of visual and written campaigns that bring brands to life. Our services include:

  • Strategy
  • Planning
  • Motion Graphics
  • Graphic Design
  • Email campaigns
  • Social media campaigns
  • Blogs
  • Case Studies
  • News updates

Why does sustainability matter to your organisation?

We focus on being:

  • Authentic
  • Transparent
  • Honest
  • Realistic

As part of our commitment to people and planet we are constantly reviewing our own service provision to make this as sustainable as possible. To this end we have made some significant steps to make sure we are doing all we can, as pro-actively and as transparently as possible, to not just optimise material consumption and minimise waste but also to reduce our negative carbon footprint on the environment. 

We have a sustainability policy that incorporates environmental, social and financial targets (available to read on our website), and we are a Real Living Wage employer.

We also have pending B-Corporation Certification. Certified B Corporations are companies verified by the global B Lab to meet exceptionally high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. As a B-Corporation business we are required to amend articles of the business to embed a commitment to sustainability. We are also required to publicly list our B-Corporation scores, set public sustainability goals and will be audited regularly to assess our carbon footprint, carbon offsetting, waste and water management, energy usage and supply chains.  

We have set specific goals for the next year which include monitoring and recording Greenhouse Gas emissions and have set specific reduction targets relative to our initial performances, harvesting rainwater and reducing the impact of travel and commuting.

What are you hoping to achieve through Cynnal Cymru membership?

Becoming a member of Cynnal Cymru is another significant step for us to develop as a sustainable marketing and communication agency.  We are eager to learn from and collaborate with fellow members to find solutions and new ways of doing things for a more sustainable Wales. We are also looking forward to receiving sustainability consultations and training with the Cynnal Cymru advisors to help us further develop as a sustainable practice.  We are looking forward to offering free training in partnership with Cynical Cymru to all fellow members in the coming months.

What positive impact do you want to make in Wales/ the world?

In short, we want to work with organisations, businesses, charities and non-profits who are striving towards better outcomes for people and/or planet. We want to help them communicate their stories positively and authentically amongst their audiences, stakeholders and communities.

Tell us about a sustainability project you are working on at the moment

For Millrace, we are in the middle of becoming B Corp Certified after scoring above 85 in the initial assessment. This is important to us as it will help us strengthen our own policies and procedures to ensure our people, and the people we work with are aligned with our values and ongoing commitments.

Our clients have sustainability at the top of their agenda, either through choice or consumer pressure. We are currently communicating a variety of campaigns for a global medical waste organisation, Welsh housing associations, and a Welsh mental health charity.     

Find out more about us at millracemarketing.co.uk or if you’d like to talk further about a project, campaign or a design need then please contact Owen Brown, Client Relationship Manager via Owen@millracemarketing.co.uk

Introducing Cynnal Cymru Members: Millrace Marketing Read More »

Photo od the three new members of staff

Cynnal Cymru welcomes three new staff members

In the last month, Cynnal Cymru has welcomed three new employees to support our growing work programme. Our team of 12 sustainability specialists work to support organisations across three core programme areas: (i) low carbon economy, (ii) natural environment and (iii) fair and just society.

To support our Nature Wise training programme, led by Clare Sain-Ley-Berry, we welcome our new Training and Development officer Sara Wynne-Pari. Together they will be helping more organisations in Wales to improve their understanding of the nature crisis and take action to reverse it.

To take forward the real Living Wage in Wales and support Welsh Government’s fair work agenda, we welcome Grace Robinson as the Living Wage Programme Officer and Alys Reid to support with the accreditations. Alys will also be supporting the Cynnal Cymru team in her role as HR and Administraton Officer.


Sara Wynne-Pari

Based in North Wales, Sara joined us in April as our new Training and Development officer. Sara will be delivering Nature Wise eco literacy programme. She has a background in supporting and mentoring environmental volunteer organisations and developing cross sector partnership projects in natural environment, sustainable development and pro-environmental behaviour change. 

Alongside her role at Cynnal Cymru, Sara also works part-time for Llais y Goedwig, the grassroots network organisation for community woodlands in Wales.

In her spare time, she enjoys nothing more than making the most of her backyard in Snowdonia whether that’s exploring, swimming or riding her electric bike.

Grace Robinson

Grace is the newly appointed Living Wage Programme Officer. She was born in Cardiff and has lived here most of her life – the only exception being an undergraduate degree in Swansea. She has a background in human resources and has always been passionate about equality, justice and fair work practices. Grace previously worked on the Living Wage Programme during her master’s degree in HR, which is what made her enthusiastic about this particular initiative. She looks forward to working for Cynnal Cymru and advocating for the Living Wage across Wales.

In her spare time, Grace enjoys being as creative as possible and always has a project on the go (currently a baby blanket for an expecting friend). She also enjoys being active and going for a sea swim when she can.

Alys Reid Bacon

Alys is joining us as a HR & Administrative Officer to provide support on the Living Wage accreditation process and Cynnal Cymru’s human resources. Alys is fluent in both Welsh and English and is currently working on her PhD in Biological Sciences, titled, “The influence of genotype, environment & management factors on yield development, grain filling & grain quality in oats”.

She has experience of dealing with members of the public in different environments, including as a hospital receptionist, administrative assistant and Ward Clerk and as a Youth Worker. She has also been involved in work to promote STEM subjects in schools across mid Wales funded by Salters’ chemistry institute.

Alys is passionate about sustainability and enjoys spending her free time walking, sea swimming, cooking, eating and gaming.

Cynnal Cymru welcomes three new staff members Read More »

Yellow TSE is Coming to Cardiff City Centre

Yellow TSE will open its doors in the Morgan Arcade on Earth Day 2022, for an exclusive launch event to celebrate sustainable business and a new way of shopping coming to Cardiff.

Founder and CEO Tamsin Ford, has planned, plotted, lived and breathed, Yellow TSE for the past three years. When COVID-19 hit, she wasn’t sure it would ever be a reality. But, after battling all hurdles in her way, it’s full steam ahead for this inspirational business venture.

Tamsin is well-known for sustainable retail through her business born in Pontcanna, Blossom & Nectar. Now home to the second location for Yellow TSE, Blossom & Nectar fuelled her passion for sustainable business and inspired her to encourage wider change in retail

Following the launch event, the Morgan Quarter venue will under-go sustainable construction work from Sampson Carpentry & Build, who have worked with businesses such as Kin & Ilk to deliver stylish and sustainable fittings.

The venue is set to be open for the public in May 2022 in plenty of time for what’s set to be abooming summer in the Welsh Capital, post-Covid restrictions. Featuring art from KatherineJones Artist, and other local sustainable businesses as concessions, Yellow TSE is your one-stop sustainable shop, work-space, and cafe in Cardiff City Centre.

Get a taste for what’s to come at Yellow TSE, in Pontcanna. Already open for business, the secondary venue is settling in nicely to the suburb, with many locals eager to get their hands on the app as soon as possible.

Tanya Lynch, Creative Director and Expert Connector for Yellow TSE, said:

“The journey of Yellow TSE is one story I’m so proud to be a part of. So far it’s required a lot of blood, sweat and tears and an unbelievable amount of patience.

Our founder Tams is one remarkable human being who is carving the way for a better and more sustainable shopping experience. It takes passion, grit and dedication to launch such an epic business venture. Tams and her team will bring a department store like no other to the streets of South Wales. I do believe the people of Cardiff will love what Yellow has to offer!”

It’s out with the old and in with Yellow TSE. Sustainable shopping is not for a niche group of people and it’s not a trend, it’s for all and it’s the future.

Find out more on the TSE website >>

Opening & closing times:
Pontcanna: 10-5.30 Wednesday- Saturday
11-4 Sunday
Morgan Quarter: 9.30-6 Mon-Sat
11-4 Sundays

Location:
Pontcanna: 6 Pontcanna Mews, Pontcanna, Cardiff
Morgan Quarter: 1 Barry Lane, Morgan Quarter, Cardiff

Yellow TSE is Coming to Cardiff City Centre Read More »

New Campaign Calls on Motorists to ‘Drive your Litter Home’

With more vehicles than ever before on our roads and a significant increase in our food and drink on-the-go culture, roadside litter is a growing problem in Wales. It is harmful to our environment and wildlife. It ruins the beautiful views for locals and visitors alike, whilst also being difficult, dangerous and expensive to clean up.

Research shows that 78% of vehicle litterers feel guilty after littering. [i] Keep Wales Tidy’s new campaign encourages drivers to have a guilt free journey with no regrets and to ‘Drive your litter home’.

The nationwide campaign is being run as part of Caru Cymru (a Welsh phrase meaning ‘Love Wales’) – an inclusive movement led by Keep Wales Tidy and councils to inspire people to take action and care for the environment.

As part of the campaign, outdoor advertising will appear across roadside litter hotspots in Wales such as roadside billboards, back of buses and petrol pump adverts. This will also include radio and digital audio advertising to target drivers listening to their favorite channels.

Advertising will step up a gear during busy weekends and bank holidays over the summer months to target as many drivers as possible.

Keep Wales Tidy has also developed resources for haulage companies and other commercial drivers to utilise.

Keep Wales Tidy Chief Executive Lesley Jones said:

“We’re putting our foot down on roadside litter. Not only is it a blight on our beautiful country, and often the first thing visitors see when arriving into Wales, but it also has a significant impact on our environment and wildlife. We estimate that the cost of collection and disposing of roadside litter in Wales is at least £3.5 million every year.

Our new roadside litter campaign takes ‘do the right thing’ up a gear by highlighting how littering makes people feel. The vast majority of drivers know that littering from their vehicle is unacceptable, and we want everyone to have a guilt free journey with no regrets.

When you’re out and about in your vehicle please leave nothing behind you. Keep your conscience and our roadsides clear by driving your litter home or disposing of it in the nearest bin.”

To find out more and download free materials, visit the Keep Wales Tidy website: www.keepwalestidy.cymru/caru-cymru    

Caru Cymru has received funding through the Welsh Government Rural Communities – Rural Development Programme 2014-2020, which is funded by the European Agricultural Fund for Rural Development and the Welsh Government.


[i] Highways England. (2021). Understanding Vehicle Littering Research Report.

New Campaign Calls on Motorists to ‘Drive your Litter Home’ Read More »

Our New Members in March

FOR Cardiff

FOR Cardiff is the business improvement district (BID) for Cardiff city centre. As a BID they are elected and subsequently funded by the non domestic rates payers within a defined area – they collect an annual levy from these organisations and use those funds to deliver a five year business plan.

Their current business plan runs from 2021-2026 and includes ambitions to help Cardiff businesses transition to a greener economy, alongside a host of other projects such as promoting the city to a wider audience, improving the safety of the city centre, and improving the public realm.

Find out more about FOR Cardiff >>

Greener Globe Funeral Awards

As a company in development, GGFA is a budding example of how individual sectors are working towards the global goal of net-zero emissions, by developing a sustainability framework specifically for funeral directors.

Offering a bespoke service to each member, the GGFA will provide guidance and support for funeral directors so they can make a positive environmental impact with the resources available to them. It will provide recognition of this impact through a four-tier award system, which can be used by members to showcase their work around the sustainability agenda to customers, stakeholders, and the broader community.

More information about GGFA will be available soon.

Membership


The Cynnal Cymru network is a community of proactive organisations who share our vision and values. Members and partners are action focused and innovative, eager to learn and collaborate to find solutions and new ways of doing things for a more sustainable Wales.

On joining Cynnal Cymru, our members have access to a free sustainability assessment, action based training and a diverse network of like-minded people.

If you are committed to a sustainable future and interested in becoming a member or in partnering with us then we would love to hear from you. Find out more >>

Our New Members in March Read More »

shark christmas bauble

Low carbon Christmas trees (Updated)

As we approach the festive season, more of us than ever are looking at how we can make the most ethical and environmentally friendly choices to ensure a low-carbon Christmas. From choosing a real tree grown with care, to reusing decorations and choosing LEDS lighting, the good news is there are many fun and affordable changes you can make without compromise.

In this updated guide for 2022, we explore the sustainable and ethical choices in selecting and decorating your Christmas tree.

The tree

Is a real tree better than an artificial tree for the environment? According to Carbon Trust, that depends on the specific tree and the plans for reuse and disposal.

The Carbon Trust estimates an artificial tree has a carbon footprint around 40kg, compared to 16kg for a 2-metre real tree with no roots (if both end up in a landfill). You would need to use an artificial tree at least 10 times to negate its carbon footprint.

Most artificial trees are made in China, with the dual environmental impact of being made from plastic, PVC and metal, and then shipped overseas.

Soil Association

Most Christmas trees are grown as a horticultural crop, often using pesticides as well as potentially taking away precious land that can be used for creating carbon sinks, in other words, real forests for people and wildlife. Importing live plants can also introduce live pests and diseases which can have a devastating effect on our farms and woodland.

If you’re looking for a sustainable Christmas Tree, The Soil Association recommend choosing a tree that has been responsibly managed and grown using a minimal amount of pesticides. This includes selecting trees that are FSC certified, organic and grown locally – which in turn reduces the miles travelled as well as supporting the local economy.

So, the emissions to avoid after Christmas aren’t the ones produced by eating too many sprouts. The real issue is to do with the disposal of the trees – real or artificial.  If both trees end up in landfill – the artificial tree might take hundreds of years to decompose, whilst the real tree will emit methane – a very potent greenhouse gas.

If you want to avoid these trees going to landfill, you can reuse the artificial tree and pass it on to your family (think of it as an heirloom tree – a forever tree that can be passed down through the generations). Whereas a real tree can be chopped and turned into wood chips that can later be used for mulching – reducing it’s emissions by up to 80%.

The best thing you can do to keep your Carbon emissions down is to plant a tree in a pot, watch it grow, bring it indoors for Christmas and take it outdoors until the next year. Or, adorn your existing plants at home with festive LED lights.

The lights

With a huge increase in energy prices this year, you may be wondering whether to switch off your Christmas lights this year. According to Money Saving Expert, Martin Lewis:

“As long as you’ve got LED lights, a string of 100, which is a pretty decent amount, if you were to have them on for six hours a day for the month, it would cost you around 18 pence,”

Based on using LED lights

So, if you want to be environmentally friendly this season, use what you have at home and garden already, have a friendly chat with small scale suppliers as to how they manage their land to learn about the process of growing trees, and focus on planting trees or shrubs at the right time and at the right place in your community.

And finally, the most sustainable festive decorations are the ones you already have.

Low carbon Christmas trees (Updated) Read More »

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 objectives, please email lynsey@cynnalcymru.com

How to create a more sustainable organisation in 2021 Read More »

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