THE SINCLAIR GROUP, Wales’ largest motor retail group, is on the road to an even greener future after company directors took part in a carbon literacy training session.
Coinciding with the opening of the COP26 global climate summit in Glasgow, the event was hosted by sustainable development company Cynnal Cymru, the official Welsh partner of the Carbon Literacy Project, as part of a day to catalyse action on climate change.
Nine senior representatives from the Sinclair Group undertook a bespoke training course at the National Botanic Garden of Wales in Llanarthne, Carmarthenshire, where they gained a better understanding of the impact of greenhouse gases and the effects of climate change together with an appreciation of the company’s own footprint and the influence this has on the local environments around its 21 dealerships and much further afield. They are the first business in Wales to engage with the Carbon Literacy Project at a senior management level and the only motoring group so far.
The Sinclair Group represents a number of motor manufacturers that are already taking significant strides towards an emission-free future with the electrification of their vehicle ranges. By 2025, Audi will offer more than 20 models with all-electric drive and estimates around 40 per cent of its sales will be for electrified models, whilst by the same date, Mercedes-Benz will produce electric-only vehicles as it gets ready to go all-electric by 2030. Meanwhile as the decade draws to a close, Volkswagen intends to have increased the share of its all-electric vehicle deliveries to more than 70 per cent across Europe.
From Brecon to Neyland, Sinclair employees are also making a difference following the appointment of ‘eco-champions’ at each site to co-ordinate colleague suggestions for green initiatives that can be introduced across the Group.
As a result, solar panels have been installed on the roofs of 10 of the Group’s dealerships to convert the sun rays into electricity. The company has also switched its energy supply to providers using renewable sources. Other ideas include the introduction of meat-free Mondays to encourage staff to opt for vegetarian/vegan options at the start of each working week, the use of china cups in showrooms instead of plastic or paper alternatives to reduce waste levels and the installation of recycling stations in every location.
“In partnership with the manufacturers, we recognise that as a retailer we have a responsibility to do all we can to best protect our environment and offset carbon. It is our aim to see an 80% reduction in our carbon footprint by 2035 and to be carbon neutral as an organisation by 2050,” said Andy Sinclair, Sinclair Group’s Managing Director.
“Our colleagues across the group are already making progress but, as Directors, we want to demonstrate our commitment too and, following our involvement in the Carbon Literacy Action Day, each of us has made a pledge that includes giving our customers access to electric courtesy cars, improving our provisions to car sharing and investing in ethical pension funds.”
He added: “We want to inspire our staff to understand climate change, their role in it and to take positive action at home and at work. That way we can make a positive difference together.”
During their training session, the Sinclair Group received a virtual visit from the Carbon Literacy Project to share the actions resulting from their day of learning with over 30 other leading UK businesses participating in similar events around the country.
Cynnal Cymru has trained over 600 people since they first introduced Carbon Literacy in Wales in 2017. Up until now, they have primarily provided this type of training for the leadership of local authorities but this is the first time that a course has been delivered for the executive of a leading Welsh business.
Lead trainer and Principal Consultant, Rhodri Thomas, explained: “It’s not easy for executive teams to find the time to ask for training. It shows a level of humility, but it is also bold. In fact, it’s a sign of true leadership – being willing to learn in order to improve, innovate and ultimately succeed.
“The Sinclair Group recognises that this is a hugely significant moment for the motor industry. We must stop using fossil fuels – petrol and diesel, but can we really expect people to give up the convenience and freedom of personal mobility? We are on the verge of a revolution in transport and the Sinclair Group wants to lead the way by providing solutions for customers but also ensuring that their own behaviour is exemplary. Carbon Literacy is the perfect tool for bringing about this profound change in business culture.”
The National Botanic Garden of Wales provided a fitting location to host the landmark event.
“It was great to welcome the Sinclair Group to the Botanic Garden and help celebrate a real ‘first’,” said Director Huw Francis. “We were delighted they chose us as the venue for their milestone ‘seize-the-day’ moment.”
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