The Football Association of Wales has today launched its first ever sustainability strategy, ‘Cymru, well-being and the world’ outlining its vision for a ‘global, local Cymru’, using the power of football to improve the nation’s well-being.
With the men’s national team heading to their first World Cup in 64 years, chief executive, Noel Mooney, said the organisation will put sustainability at the heart of all its decisions, encouraging the whole football ecosystem- and the rest of the nation- to follow its lead.
The strategy has been developed with the support of the Future Generations of Wales Commissioner, using the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act as its cornerstone. In 2015, Wales became the first country in the world to enshrine a duty to protect future generations into law. This means that any policy decisions made today must consider the impact on the generations of tomorrow.
Now the country’s football association is taking on that pioneering spirit with the vision to become a leader in sustainability in the world of sports, showcasing the example football can play in a small nation to inspire others to follow their journey.
The ‘Cymru, well-being and the world’ strategy builds on last year’s ‘Our Wales’ strategic plan, which outlined six strategic pillars to build a sustainable association for the future. The report provides a clear plan of action for the FAW to develop sustainable and stronger clubs, leagues and initiatives across seven focus areas- team, health, structures, facilities, partnerships, decarbonisation and croeso.
Steps are varied and include everything from revised procurement processes to setting up swap shop schemes for kit and equipment, creating a fund to install EV charging points at clubs and identifying locally-sourced, plastic-free, plant-based food packaging for the football eco-system.
A pilot scheme will establish a well-being football hub in a health board to provide clinical, social care, mental health care and well-being services, before being rolled out across the country, while clubs and leagues will be twinned with others around the world to learn and share. The promotion of new participation formats and styles of football is on the table to increase access to playing for all.
FAW CEO, Noel Mooney said: “You’ve only got to step onto the street in Cymru at the moment to see the hold football has over the nation. There’s 3.1m of us excited for our first World Cup in 64 years and we’re determined to harness this power to improve Cymru’s economic, social, environmental and cultural well-being. We see it as our responsibility to advocate for issues in local communities and around the world which positively impact our way of life.
“The pandemic has contributed to a tough couple of years for football communities around Cymru, but we’re bouncing back strongly. We like to think of ourselves as a progressive organisation in tune with the culture of the communities and characters that make up our beautiful game. Thinking sustainability first can reduce our footprint and waste, become more efficient and make savings that can be re-invested into grassroots football.”
The FAW is urging fans to play their part in My Tree, Our Forest, the Welsh Government and Coed Cadw Woodland Trust initiative, which offers every household in Cymru a tree, free of charge. With the men’s national team playing in the World Cup for the first time since 1958, a unique opportunity has been created to remember the past and look towards future generations.
Mooney continued: “While The Red Wall will be cheering us on at home and overseas this month, so many supporters never got the opportunity to share in this truly special moment. That’s why we’re asking fans to plant a tree for someone no longer with us through the My Tree, Our Forest initiative which launches later in November and will contribute to the National Forest for Wales. Those trees will help tackle the climate crisis and be around for many more World Cups to come. The offer begins two days before our first game and we’d ask fans to look out for more information.
“Working with the Future Generations Commissioner, we’re committed to inspiring others and working together with people and organisations across Cymru today to make a better tomorrow. Gorau chwarae cyd chwarae. Let’s work together. Likewise, we’re integral to Welsh Government’s vision for sport to be a part of Cymru’s story as a globally responsible nation that cares. We’ll also be working towards the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and engaging with UEFA’s football sustainability strategy 2030. One brick at a time, we’ll build a red wall at home and around the world.”
Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales said: “Cymru is proving it can be a world leader – on and off the pitch! The Well-being of Future Generations Act is at the heart of this sustainability strategy, and I commend FAW’s commitment to protecting the needs and interests of current and future generations. This is a holistic sustainability strategy which outlines the actions needed to address multiple crises and create a better world for those yet to be born. I look forward to supporting staff, players, volunteers, communities and partners to make Wales the most sustainable sporting association in the world!”
Deputy Minister for Climate Change Lee Waters said: “What can make us even prouder of a team in the World Cup, is an organisation behind it that mirrors the values of a nation. FAW have shown their progressive stripes in their sustainability strategy published today. In our sports, our politics and our day to day living, we always strive to be a better Wales – an inclusive Wales that considers what impact our actions today will have on our future generations to follow.
“Next week the Minister will be detailing how every household in Wales can claim a free tree as part of My Tree Our Forest. Through the initiative, fans can grow a tree in memory of a loved one that will help fight climate change, protect our plants and wildlife, and be around for many World Cups to come. Now, come on Cymru!”