CIRCULAR ECONOMY, ENERGY & ENVIRONMENT
We are on a mission to promote and support the people and projects that are addressing the challenges of the climate emergency, and to put this critical issue at the top of the region’s agenda. We believe that South West Wales must move away from our linear economy (make, use, dispose), closing the loop to conserve resources and ensure long term sustainability. A circular economy is restorative and regenerative by design. We’re also working on collaborative projects related to renewable energy, green infrastructure, agroecology and zero waste.
CIRCULAR ECONOMY MEMBER FORUM FEBRUARY REPORT
The Circular Economy Members Forum was an opportunity for our members to talk with others about joined up strategies and potential collaborations for the greater good. Become a 4theRegion member to get involved in future forums!
Circular Economy Members Forum | February Report
ACTIVE BUILDINGS WITH JOANNA CLARKE
We spoke to Joanna Clarke, design manager of Swansea University’s SPECIFIC project, for our #BuildBackBetter podcast. Joanna has developed the ‘Active Buildings Toolkit’ in order to share the principles and learnings from Active Buildings, with the aim of encouraging others to adopt or improve on them and to support wider uptake of low carbon designs. Active Buildings are buildings are designed to generate, store and release their own renewable energy. We discuss with Joanna the challenges that designers face when designing energy efficient buildings and how innovative projects such as SPECIFIC can lay the foundation for greener, cleaner development.
PODCAST | Active Buildings with Joanna Clarke
RENEWABLE ENERGY ROUNDTABLE 2020
We convened a roundtable discussion for our #BuildBackBetter podcast, with a number of key businesses and organisations within the South West Wales renewable energy sector, to talk about what is currently happening and what needs to happen in order to enable growth within the sector and allow wider access to clean, green power. The UK & Welsh governments have made commitments to bring carbon emissions to net zero by 2050, with Wales’ target to achieve a net zero carbon public sector by 2030. Our guests shared their perspectives on announcements the government have made, and if our governments are putting in the infrastructure and investments required to grow the renewable energy sector.
PODCAST | Renewable Energy Roundtable
TURNING DISUSED GREEN SPACES INTO COMMUNITY GROWING SPACE
Room to Grow is a Swansea-based permaculture project dedicated to self-sufficiency and community, which aims to turn concrete jungles into edible oases. We spoke to co-founder Ange Bettany for our #BuildBackBetter podcast, about launching the initiative during lockdown, the challenges she has faced and the next steps. There is plenty of value in this conversation for anyone interested in transforming disused green spaces around their local communities.
PODCAST | Room to Grow
COMMUNITY GROWING & LOCAL FOOD
What has been the effect of lockdown on our shopping habits, priorities and values surrounding food? How do we scale up community growing and local food initiatives, and what does the sector need to achieve these goals? In this roundtable discussion for our #BuildBackBetter podcast, we explore how we can make locally produced food more accessible to communities in rural and urban areas alike, along with the wellbeing and social benefits of community garden spaces.
PODCAST | Community Growing & Local Food
LAUNCH OF SOUTH WALES FOOD & DRINK WEBSITE
4theRegion changemaker Dr Ben Reynolds has launched a new website for regional food producers, to help connect them with customers during lockdown and beyond. You can find out more in our video interview, or visit the website at the following link:
CAE TAN COMMUNITY SUPPORTED AGRICULTURE (CSA) EVENT
Convened by successful Gower CSA, Cae Tan, this event attracted a diverse audience of grassroots farmers, other local food producers, land owners, the Gower Society, universities, all levels of government including Welsh Government officers, two Swansea MPs, several officers from Swansea Council, and a wide range of people with different personal and professional interests in food and farming. The group considered how we can best share and spread the knowledge gained by Cae Tan, to make it easier for more CSA initiatives to take off. In the discussion, small producers shared the challenges of starting a viable business making and selling local produce. It was noted that public procurement should be used imaginatively to enable and encourage the growth of Community Supported Agriculture and local food businesses.
Community Supported Agriculture & Food Sovereignty | Event Report
FOOD, FARMING, WASTE & BIOBASED ROUNDTABLE
4theRegion convened a well attended roundtable meeting in Carmarthenshire to explore the food, farming, waste and biobased sector in South West Wales. The goal of the event was to share knowledge about what’s already happening, identify what’s missing and co-create priorities for the sector from a regional perspective. A diverse range of organisations came together for some lively, insightful discussion. The importance of better collaboration and sharing of knowledge and resources – this was THE key message from participants throughout the day. There was a sense that there are lots of positive things happening already across the region, how can we join them up and break down silos. Sector promotion also emerged as an opportunity area. Our region is hugely successful, innovative and a leader in the food, farming, waste and biobased economy, but we’re quite shy about it too. All agreed we need to be better at promoting and celebrating what we have and what we do here, better at telling stories about our successes.
Food, Farming, Waste & Biobased Roundtable | Event Report
RENEWABLE ENERGY REGION | ROUNDTABLE
In partnership with Low Carbon Swansea Bay and sponsored by FLEXIS, we organised a lively event for the region’s renewable energy sector. The intention was to showcase the fantastic, diverse projects and initiatives going on across the region, and bring together business, academia and individuals to learn from each other and explore what else can be done to strengthen our renewable energy sector.
Renewable Energy Region | Event Report
LAUNCH OF CIRCULAR ECONOMY CLUB FOR THE REGION
4theRegion was pleased to support EFT Consult with their launch of the Circular Economy Club in Swansea on 14th November 2018, bringing together a range of professionals and businesses interested in sustainability, the bio-based economy, the built environment, valorisation of waste, and the Well-being of Future Generations Act. Around 25 professionals gathered in the new Construction Wales Innovation Centre at the University of Wales Trinity Saint David Waterfront Campus in SA1. It was an opportunity to watch inspiring short films curated by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, and discuss the progress this region is making towards growing a more circular economy.
Launch of the Circular Economy Club with Adrian Matthews, EFT Consult
WALES FIRST CROSS-SECTOR CIRCULAR ECONOMY CONFERENCE
4theRegion hosted Wales’ first Circular Economy conference at the Liberty Stadium, attracting over 300 businesses and organisations from a wide range of sectors. It was an amazing day, featuring a huge business exhibition, more than expert speakers from across the UK, panel discussions, and breakout sessions. The focus of the Empowering Future Generations event was to explore the challenges and opportunities of implementing the principles of the Well-being of Future Generations Act, and to introduce circular economy principles to a new and diverse audience. Everyone emerged energised and empowered, with a clear sense of how we want our regional economy to transform, and what each of us can do within our own spheres of influence. Procurement emerged as a key theme: “Only when public bodies truly embed well-being principles into the way they evaluate and select their suppliers, will businesses be empowered to change.”
Empowering Future Generations | Event Report
4theRegion is on a mission to create a greener, cleaner region with a sustainable, circular economy, in response to the climate emergency and ecological collapse. Our members in the renewable energy, environmental, agroecology and sustainability sectors are crucial to this mission. As well as networking opportunities, important roundtable discussions, and the ability to get their voices heard at a regional level, we support our members in the Circular Economy by promoting their work and connecting them with businesses and organisations across the region. The Circular Economy is one of our six impact areas and we are determined to ensure that the conservation of resources and regeneration of the environment are top of the regional agenda.
FROM OUR BLOG
Egni Co-op has announced that solar panels have been installed on two more schools in Swansea, Pentrechwyth and Cwm Glas Primaries. More than half a megawatt of rooftop solar has now been installed on twelve Swansea schools which includes Pentrehafod, Gowerton,...
Marine Energy Wales has been championing a fresh assessment of tidal range power generation in broad recognition of tidal range’s unique multi-generational operating life, extensive co-benefits and contribution to Wales and the UK’s energy security, stability and Net...
4theRegion member EEESafe is a project designed to support a circular economy, waste prevention and creating local jobs where people live. We all want to see less waste going to landfill, but when it comes to electrical appliances and white goods, safety...
Event Summary & Next Steps ‘Our coast and seas’ brought together partners who had an interest in Welsh coasts and seas, to develop practical actions to overcome challenges, and identify what we can do together to make our seas more diverse, resilient and...
Egni Co-op has announced that it’s approaching its target of £4m from the co-op share offer, one of the largest ever undertaken in the UK. Egni has installed rooftop solar on schools, community buildings and businesses across Wales. Dan McCallum, Egni co-director said...
A key regeneration project developed by Awel Aman Tawe (AAT) in Cwmgors in the Swansea Valley, has received a huge funding boost this week. National Lottery have awarded £400,000 to ‘Hwb y Gors’ – this is the name for the redevelopment of the former primary school in...
Thank you to our members who attended our Circular Economy Members Forum. What’s working well in the sector? What are the strengths and assets that we can work on? This report covers discussion from our members working in the circular economy sector.
Rebuilding Swansea: The transformation of our cities, how they will look in a post-pandemic future and who they will serve
The pandemic is going to fundamentally change how our cities look, who lives in them and even what purpose they serve. Many of the big names on our high streets, such as Debenhams and Topshop, will not return. Our cities will soon become residential hubs where the...
The "Swansea Central Area: Regenerating our City for Wellbeing and Wildlife" strategy has been officially adopted. This ambitious strategy sets out the vision of Natural Resources Wales (NRW) and Swansea Council for “A city with high quality multi-functional green...
Grwp Resilience has in February: Expanded its affiliate members to over 60. Secured £17,000 grant to pass on to 3 organisations contributing to the Repair Network Pembrokeshire. It will buy: A generous shed on an allotment site for repair cafes, tool sharing, talks to...
Cousins’ crowdfunding campaign to support Fishguard & Goodwick regeneration plans gets celebrity backing
Some useful things have come out of lockdown: out of monthly chats during those long months of 2020 on that well-known video conferencing site came a number of ideas for helping to revitalise what this group of cousins saw as a rather tired Fishguard. This then led to...
A project run by Natural Resources Wales (NRW) is removing scrub (small trees) scattered across 379 hectares (937 acres) of rare lowland raised peat bogs. The LIFE Welsh Raised Bogs project aims to restore seven of the very best examples of lowland raised bogs sites...