With 69% of world animal populations wiped out since 1970, is Wales going to stand by and watch or take action?

Innovation management academic Dr Gary Walpole is urging public sector professionals across Wales to take action today by adopting a circular economy approach to help Wales achieve its target of net zero by 2030, but also contribute to the earth’s recovery against climate change.

Gary said: “People hear the words climate change, and climate emergency all the time but please take note that open oceans, tropical rainforests, the abundance of birds, fish, amphibians and reptiles across the world is in freefall, declining on average by more than two-thirds between 1970 and 2018, according to the WWF and Zoological Society of London’s (ZSL) biennial Living Planet Report. Two years ago, the figure stood at 68%, four years ago, it was at 60%.

“Climate change is also evident by the changing nature of our weather, from the heatwaves we experienced this summer in Wales, to the destructive flooding of recent years, it’s not a coincidence. We all have the opportunity to collectively make a positive difference to our futures, and future generations. Climate related events has cost the EEA countries £520billion, over the last four decades. Some businesses never recover from flooding catastrophes as we saw here across Wales, and even if a business is successful in consolidating, once flooded you’re unlikely to get adequate insurance to cover you from future flooding issues. A recent UCL study stated it’s actually cheaper to tackle the climate change emergency, than it is to try and insure against future climate related disasters.

“We need everyone to be part of the solution, make a difference, and help us transition to repair the planet. We can’t simply pretend it’s happening elsewhere, it’s happening right here in Wales. It’s about learning and putting practices in place to use resources in the most efficient and environmentally friendly way possible, and that is through a transition to a Circular Economy.


For those public sector organisations who don’t know where or how to start getting ready for net zero, there is a Welsh Government fully funded Circular Economy Innovation Programme (CEIC) for Public and Third Sector Organisations across the Cardiff Bay and Swansea Bay regions right now.

In short, the core concept is to move away from being a throw-away ‘take, make and dispose’ society and adopt a reduce, re-use and recycle model, inspired by the efficient cyclical systems found in nature.

Miller Research who reviewed the programme said: “The CEIC programme is evidently contributing to the realisation of increased innovation and circular economy knowledge and skills within the public sector. Feedback from participants at the formative stage demonstrates that the CEIC programme is not only reinforcing the importance of knowledge building and knowledge sharing for regional success, but actively equipping participants with the knowledge and skills required to change their ways of working.

“Fundamentally, all individuals engaged with during the formative stage felt their knowledge of circular economy had increased because of their involvement with the programme. A significant outcome is participants sharing enjoyment of being encouraged to think differently and build their innovation thinking. Many participants shared examples of them transferring the tools and processes introduced to them during the programme into their own organisations, cascading their learning beyond their own CoP back into their workplace, raising awareness across public sector practices.”

Gary who leads CEIC (Circular Economy Innovation Communities) said: “I urge public and third sector organisations to get the programme, which would cost in the region of £9k per person if organisations had to pay for it. It’s a hands-on project that to date has seen over 120 people take part, from administrators to director level. The one thing they had in common was a desire to make a difference for the region and their organisation.”

If your organisation needs to enhance the knowledge and capability of people to achieve net zero, ask members of your team to participate in the practical 10-month programme delivered by Cardiff Metropolitan University and Swansea University.  Spaces are limited and the last two fully funded cohorts are due to start in November.

For course details please visit https://ceicwales.org.uk/ or email ceic@swansea.ac.uk