1. How will Cynnal Cymru provide leadership for sustainable development?
I was appointed by the by Welsh Government in April 2011 as the Commissioner for Sustainable Futures, an appointment following the UK Government’s decision to end the UK Sustainable Development Commission.
The objectives of the Commissioner are to:
· Provide leadership for sustainable development in Wales
· Promote sustainable development as the central organising principle in all organisations in Wales and to promote the embedding of sustainable development into the work of sectors and communities in Wales
· Convene stakeholders representing relevant sectors or issues and develop partnerships to address the difficult issues based on a “coalition of the willing” approach
· Advise Welsh Government on the policies and approaches required to promote and implement sustainable development
The planned Future Generations Bill will put this Commissioner role on a statutory basis with stronger powers and duties.
2. How is the SD Charter having a positive effect on Wales?
The Sustainable Development Charter represents a commitment to work towards the shared goal of a more sustainable Wales. It provides a means by which organisations across the different sectors can make a public commitment, as well as collaborate on projects that can make a real impact on the wellbeing of communities across Wales.
The Future Generations bill will set out a long term goals and requires the Welsh Government to set clear measures of progress that will provide a focus for the operations of the public sector. The Charter provides a voluntary mechanism by which organisations can make the commitment to contribute to achieving these long term goals.
3. What is Climate Change Commission for Wales doing during Climate Week? How do you feel this will help improve people's understanding of the sustainable market in Wales?
The Climate Change Commission for Wales (CCCW) is a cross sector, cross part body established to provide advice to Government, build consensus and mobilise action across Wales. Its members represent business, charities, communities and public bodies across Wales.
To highlight the importance of Climate Week, the Commission wrote to the First Minister asking him to encourage other Ministers to undertake visits and activities in their constituencies during the week, and I am delighted that he responded positively and we have seen a number of Ministers visiting various projects across Wales.
Commission members have also been participating and leading Climate Week activities in their respective sectors such as WWF Cymru’s Welsh Wish. We also hosted a full Commission meeting to advise the Welsh Government on their planned refresh of the climate change strategy. And of course, there is the CCCW’s #itsoccurrin photo completion to capture the impact of climate change in Wales – we have seen a fantastic response.
4. What should companies be making a priority for 2020? And 2050?
Firstly, companies need to focus on their resource efficiency to be able to effectively manage increasing resource costs – such as energy and other natural resources. They must also look at their overall processes to ensure that they are building business models that are fit for the future. This evaluation must involve their role in the circular economy as opposed to one where we exploit, use and then waste resources. There are exciting new models based around collaborative consumption (or the sharing economy) where services are rented and shared rather than owned – the classic example is that the power drill that we own at home has an average lifetime use of 10 minutes.
The future will require investment in innovation and the skill base of the community must be fit for a very different knowledge based economy. The construction sector has a key role in building homes and offices that are fit for the needs of future generations.
5. What challenges do you believe effect the sustainable market in Europe?
Finland aims to offer the best test market and operating environment in the world for innovation for sustainable economy. This is the benchmark where a small country like Wales needs to match in order to be at the leading edge of a transformation in the global economy.
The Welsh Government’s commitment to sustainable development and the introduction of measures such as the Future Generation Bill can provide the basis for transition to a low carbon, knowledge based economy. We will need to drive forward our potential for renewable energy and provide an environment that can attract investment and deliver green growth.