Wales’ first ever Future Generations Commissioner, Sophie Howe, has joined the Football Association of Wales (FAW) as a sustainability advisor. Sophie will work with the association on the implementation of the FAW’s Sustainability Strategy 2030, ‘Cymru, well-being and the world’, in addition to chairing the newly formed Sustainability Advisory Panel.
The FAW’s ‘Cymru, well-being and the world’ strategy was developed in collaboration with the Office of the Future Generations of Wales Commissioner while Sophie was at the helm, using the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act as its cornerstone. The FAW adopted the act’s pioneering spirit with its ambition tobecome 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 the association’s ‘Our Wales’ strategic plan, which outlines six strategic pillars to build a sustainable association for the future. The strategy 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.
Sophie Howe said: “Cymru aims to be a world leader on and off the pitch which is why the association put the Well-being of Future Generations Act at the heart of this sustainability strategy. I know that the FAW is committed to protecting the needs and interests of current and future generations and to creating a better world for those yet to be born. I look forward to working as the Sustainability Advisor together with staff, players, partners and the wider football family to make Wales the most sustainable sporting association in the world.”
The chair of the FAW, Alys Carlton, said: “Sophie Howe has worked closely with the FAW on our sustainability strategy from the early development stages and so she is a natural partner for us in delivering it. Sophie’s role will be to chair the advisory panel which brings together a number of people with diverse expertise, to advise us on best practice and up and coming innovations when it comes to sustainability and to connect us with partners and networks from around the world who want to join us on our sustainability journey. We are really excited to have Sophie on board in this capacity bringing both her expertise and her networks to the implementation and delivery of the ‘Cymru, well-being and the world’.”
Harrison Clayton, who chairs the FAW’s Youth Council, said: “Our goal here at the FAW is to meet the needs of the present while protecting the ability to meet the needs of future generations. This must be central to all of our decisions, big or small,
and we all, across the entire football family need to think and act in this way. It’s great that we will be working towards that goal with the support of Sophie Howe as our Sustainability Advisor with her wealth of expertise, knowledge and networks. The Youth Council is very much looking forward to working with Sophie to make sure that the work of the FAW leaves a very positive legacy for future generations.”