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World Environment Day: Only One Earth

Today is World Environment Day. Under the theme ‘Only One Earth’ we want to share with you the journey the Royal Commission is taking towards becoming a more sustainable and greener organisation.

Back in 2019 we established our Future Generations Group with representatives from across the organisation acting as green champions. The Group is named after the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, a forward-thinking legislation that sets 7 well-being goals (see diagram below) that together provide a shared vision for improving the social, economic, environmental and cultural well-being of Wales. 

The 7 Well-being goals of the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015.

As Royal Commission archaeologist and member of the Future Generations Group, Louise Barker explains:

‘the Act puts in place a ‘sustainable development principle’ and this principle is one we strive to follow, put simply, any decision we make needs to consider the impact on people living in Wales now and in the future.’

One major strand of the Group’s work is looking at ways of improving our environmental performance and sustainability. We understand that our day-to-day operations have an impact on the environment, arising mainly through the consumption of resources, travel and the generation of waste. We are committed to the continual improvement of our environmental performance, reducing our carbon footprint and working towards the goals of sustainable development. To this end we have created an Environmental Action Plan and will minimise our adverse environmental impacts by:

  1. Ensuring compliance with all relevant environmental legislation, standards and other compliance obligations;
  2. Managing waste through reduction, re-use and the promotion of recycling;
  3. Minimising the impact of our energy, water and paper usage on the environment;
  4. Minimising and working towards zero avoidable single-use plastics;
  5. Promoting sustainable transport initiatives and encouraging the use of video and teleconferencing;
  6. Seeking to maintain and enhance biodiversity so far as consistent with the proper exercise of our functions and in so doing promote the resilience of ecosystems;
  7. Embedding sustainability within our procurement procedures;
  8. Raising awareness of climate change and the need for adaptation, collaborating and encouraging collaboration and action across the historic environment sector; and
  9. Establishing environmental objectives and/or targets and report progress on an annual basis

Some recent examples of work towards achieving our Environmental Action Plan include the creation of our Biodiversity and Resilience of Ecosystems report and action plan covering 2022-25, and our continued membership of networks such as Fit for the Future, where we’ve been making use of the valuable workshops and training on offer to drive ideas.

Over the past two years the COVID-19 situation has meant that several planned actions in relation to our office environment were in abeyance, whilst we worked from home. However, we’re now returning to the office, and over the next year our focus can return to these actions. We’re determined to continue the greener practices that the pandemic brought about, for example we travel less and now hold the majority of our meetings using video and teleconferencing, and we print less, simply by not having as ready access to printers and photocopiers, but also as a result of moving our paper-heavy processes online.

One exciting new addition to the office is an e-bike, as our Operations Manager and Green Champion Stephen Bailey-John explains:

‘This is so people can do short trips around town for meetings or work, or just go out for a spin for well-being.  We’re providing a couple of helmets, a high-viz over jacket, some panniers and a lock so that the set-up is a useful and secure as possible, and so that staff can be safe and visible whilst riding. We bought a ‘low entry’ version of the e-bike so that it accessible to everyone.’

Our new e-bike, purchased as part of our bicycling initiative.

We’ve lots more developments planned and ideas to pursue going forward and are committed towards working to minimise the climate crisis and playing our part in reaching Net Zero. 

You can find out more about our Future Generations Group here https://rcahmw.gov.uk/about-us/corporate-information/future-generations/

The Future Generations Group


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