We believe that the third sector needs to understand the predicted impacts of climate change and adapt to be resilient to these changes, empower people to play their part in creating sustainable communities and take action to help reduce our impact on the planet.


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The background

Climate change is one of the biggest challenges facing the world. It is not simply an environmental problem: it has implications for the wellbeing of people here in Wales, and across the world. The third sector in its entirety has huge potential to tackle both the causes and consequences of climate change. It is uniquely placed to reach and support people to take action and be resilient, especially the most disadvantaged and vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. Climate change also offers opportunities to shape how we live and the public services we receive- the third sector can embrace and influence these changes to improve our wellbeing and communities.

What we want

We will promote the third sector in Wales to be fully engaged as a key stakeholder in tackling climate change. We seek to influence the Climate Change Commission, the Welsh Government and other key delivery partners to influence policy making, be given access to decision making, be provided with appropriate support to take action in a way that is meaningful and deliver sustainable communities and services. We will help the third sector to understand why climate change is important to consider and support it to take action.

What we're doing

As a member of the Climate Change Commission, WCVA has a responsibility to encourage non environmental organisations to consider their own impact on climate change, find ways of reducing this and become resilient to its impacts. We are committed to providing information and support to help other organisations reduce their carbon emissions and to consider the implications of climate change for their organisation, their beneficiaries and work. We are also exploring how we can tap into community level activity to embrace more sustainable lifestyles and develop community led or partnership responses to the challenges of environmental issues and climate change.

At the Commission's June 2015 meeting, members discussed a range of issues including the Environment (Wales) Bill that will soon pass through the Welsh Government. The Bill contains statutory targets for climate change and commits the Welsh Government to a target of achievingat leastan 80 per cent reduction in emissions against 1990 levels by 2050.

The aim is to help stabilise the rise in the global climate to no more than two degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. The Bill also requires the Welsh Government to set five-yearly carbon budgets to regulate the amount of emissions it produces in each period to help ensure that this target is reached.

This follows almost complete consensus from the scientific community worldwide that the global climate is changing, and that these changes are inextricably linked to the release of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions, from a range of sources including industry, agriculture and transport.

A two degree difference may not sound like much, but such a change in the overall global climate will produce enormous impacts, including sea level rises, changes in global crop production and extreme weather events - some of which have already been experienced in Wales. 

The climate has already warmed by around 0.85 degrees above the pre-industrial average according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, the world's leading research body on climate change issues, and current patterns show that global emissions are still rising rather than decreasing.

This is not to say however that the transition to a low-carbon world is impossible. The Centre for Alternative Technology in Machynlleth has researched more than 70 initiatives from around the world that have already achieved low-carbon or no-carbon living at city, region, and country-wide levels. The research,Who's getting ready for zero?is due to be published shortly in the run-up to the UN's next international conference on climate change in Paris in December 2015.


We have produced two reports as a member of the Climate Change Commission exploring what support the third sector needs to take action. 

These fed into the Climate Change Commission's 2nd Annual report.

We have also recently attended  the Commission's 33rd meeting, where the Minister for Natural Resources, Carl Sargeant, outlined his aspirations for Wales to become a net carbon zero country.

Information and support to take action

To help the sector we have developed and identified the following information and support:

Climate Change Information Sheets:  These provide an introduction to the key concepts and issues of climate change, they explain how it impacts on your area of work and your beneficiaries and what you can do to take action on climate change.

Welsh Government's Third Sector Business Case for Climate Change: This will help your organisation understand why you should take action and offer strategies to mainstream climate change action  through your organisation and your services.

Organisational environmental management and carbon reduction information sheets: These will help you to reduce your carbon footprint and environmental impact.

The Pathfinder Project was a Welsh Government funded programme to support communities to take action on climate change. Community groups and other stakeholder who have an interest in community based projects related to climate change (adaptation / mitigation) around the themes of energy, food, transport and water can click here to go to Cynnal Cymru's dedicated webpage where you can find links to the publicly available outputs of the project

Case studies of non environmental organisations taking action to help you learn from others.  Click on each organisation to read their case study. Also see below for a video of organisations who, as part of the Climate Change Leadership Group, have integrated climate change impacts into their organisation and their work.

More detail on how we have been reducing our own carbon footprint can be found by clicking here.


Renew Wales

Renew Wales is a practitioner-led programme to help Welsh communities tackle the impact of climate change. The Development Trusts Association Wales, Centre for Alternative Technology and other key partners and practitioners across the country are leading the programme.

Renew Wales will help 200 communities across Wales take action and respond to climate change through advice, training, mentoring and technical support from other experienced community practitioners. 

If your group would like to benefit from free training, mentoring and advice from an experienced community practitioner - or would like to become part of a supportive network of people and organisations - please get in touch and get involved. www.renewwales.org.uk


Other related areas of work - Sustainable Development

We currently working on the Wales Sustainable Development Bill - ensuring third sector perspectives are reflected in the final bill, specifically on engagement of the sector and how best to achieve sustainable outcomes.

We have developed two briefings on the Bill which can be found below:

WCVA is part of the Third Sector Alliance. This is a cross sector group working together to promote the need for an effective Bill which has positive impact on the needs of future generations as well as those of today.

The Alliance has recently published Shaping the future an alternative proposal to the Welsh Government's Sustainable Development Bill. The document calls for the Welsh Government's legislation to include a definition, a duty on government and public bodies to achieve sustainable development, and a strong and independent Commissioner.

Please contact Clare Sain-ley-Berry if you would like to know more about our work on Climate Change or our related work.