Swansea achieves UK first in new ecology standard
Swansea Council has become the first UK council to receive recognition against the One Planet Standard for the work it’s doing to reduce its overall ecological footprint.
As well as decarbonisation, this covers, buildings, travel, land use and waste, as well as biodiversity and the impact on natural resources.
The One Planet Standard also provides a framework for organisations to create a road map towards net zero carbon, with the necessary targets and metrics to keep them on their journey.
Andrea Lewis, the council’s joint deputy leader and cabinet member for service transformation, spoke at COP26 last year and was delighted that accreditation was awarded in time for the 2022 Wales Climate Week, November 21-25.
She said: “It’s great news that Swansea Council has received the One Planet Standard recognition at bronze level – it shows how seriously we take our work to aid nature recovery and to tackle climate change. I thank all the staff who were involved in the assessment.
“It’s important to have measurable standards and an independent set of eyes making sure that we don’t have gaps in things that we should be focusing on.
“We’ve made a commitment to reach net zero as a council by 2030. We hope that across Swansea, we reach net zero by 2050. This is about changing behaviours, winning hearts and minds, bringing businesses, bringing the public along with us and, of course, engaging our staff.”
The council has declared both a nature and a climate emergency. It’s working to protect biodiversity and tackle climate change.
It has the biggest electric vehicle fleet of any council in Wales and has cut the amount of energy it uses in its buildings and on its network of street lights.
The council is protecting and promoting biodiversity across the city alongside community groups and businesses.
The One Planet Standard assessor was satisfied that the council’s structure was clearly defined and that senior leaders were confident in their strategy of making it part of everyone’s role to reduce our ecological footprint.
They said that, due to the council’s well-being objective, working toward ecological aspirations was now integrated into council-wide job roles and specialist teams. This approach ensures senior leaders feel confident of the whole organisation’s commitment to strategic aims around climate and nature emergencies.
The assessor complimented the council on how it has set up council-wide governance and monitoring of this agenda and how it is making it “everyone’s business” to help reduce the council footprint.
The standard’s developer – and One Planet Centre CIC founder-director – David Thorpe, said: “Congratulations to Swansea Council for being the first organisation to achieve bronze level of the One Planet Standard. This guarantees that they’re on the road to genuine sustainability.
“The One Planet Standard helps organisations of all types combat climate change and improve biodiversity by adjusting the complete impacts of their activities.”
The One Planet Standard is supported by many of the top environmentalists in Wales and by the Welsh Future Generations Commissioner, Sophie Howe.
More info: https://oneplanetstandard.org/.
The One Planet Standard has been developed by The One Planet Centre CIC in association with Assessment Services Ltd. The One Planet Centre is a not-for-profit Community Interest Company (company no. 12510450) and a network of dedicated practitioners and researchers. Based in Wales, it supports any organisations, communities and individuals seeking to reduce their ecological and carbon footprints with workshops, tools, consultancy, training and communications. More: https://oneplanetcentre.org. Assessment Services is an international independent assessment centre with over 30 years of experience in assessment and accreditation. It’s committed to ensuring an assessment process that adds value to organisations being accredited. More: https://assessmentservices.com/