Since the first Welsh Government formed in 1999 it claims Wales leads the UK on sustainability – however, over the years some have argued this claim is more based around words than actions. The Welsh Government has responded to such criticism by creating a potentially revolutionary piece of legislation. The Wellbeing of Future Generations Act, passed into law in April 2015, and has the potential to turn the country into an indisputable sustainability leader.
The act is the first piece of legislation of its kind where 43 public bodies – from local authorities to Natural Resources Wales, and NHS trusts to fire and rescue services – are being given a duty to promote sustainable development. This is defined as maximising their contribution to the economic, social, environmental and cultural wellbeing of the country.
To achieve this, seven wellbeing goals are outlined: to make Wales more prosperous, resilient, healthier, more equal, globally responsible, and that of cohesive communities and of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh language.
The organisations must work together within one of 22 Public Service Boards to carry out an assessment of an area’s wellbeing by 2017, set targets for improvement and demonstrate an improvement of the area within 12 months of establishing them. This collaboration offers an opportunity for more integrated community planning and innovative ways of working.
This legislation presents an opportunity for Wales to make a significant impact for sustainability by looking to the long-term, focussing on causes of problems and changing the way public services are delivered. Its success will ultimately depend upon the political will of those within the participating organisations and that of those tasked with holding them accountable.
SMS delivers services to provide sustainability focused support to public and private sector organisations alike as they strive to meet their goals. Offering sustainability services such as environmental & CSR reporting and auditing as well as compliance services connected with ESOS, EPCs, and ISO 14001 and 50001 management and certification. If your organisation is in any need of assistance formulating or implementing a sustainability strategy to help achieve long-term prosperity or hit environmental targets, please get in touch so our experts can assist.
For more information please feel free to contact our energy experts us on 02920 739 540 or email us.