Our History



We hope you enjoy our story …

We were registered as a company limited by guarantee in December 2002 and began life in 2003 as the Sustainable Development Forum for Wales. The establishment of the organisation was led by Sue Essex AM, the then Minister for the Environment in the Welsh government. Sue realised that Wales needed an independent stakeholder body to advise the government on sustainable development and co-ordinate expert views for constructive criticism.

We were led by a board of Directors, chaired by Professor Rod Aspinwall OBE and comprised of representatives from civil society, business, academia and the public sector. All shared a vision for an independent body that could be a catalyst for change towards sustainable development in Wales.

Early achievements were Wales’ first Executive Leadership Programme on sustainable development, the creation of an online hub called Sustainwales.com and ‘Call to Action’ – a project organising discussion between the general public and recognised experts to promote sustainable development in Wales. Annual conferences and other events were held every year.

Over the years, we delivered other projects including; Transformation Nation which influenced government strategy, the Wales Green List which celebrated individual achievement, the Support for Sustainable Living Grant Scheme with Environment Wales, the Strong Roots project with One Voice Wales, Emergence-Eginiad with Volcano Theatre and research on a sustainable economy with Cardiff University.

The team steadily grew, building its reputation and reach across Wales. In 2010, the UK Sustainable Development Commission (SDC) closed and the then Minister announced that a ‘new body’ would be created, merging the functions, operations and staff of SDC staff in Wales with Cynnal Cymru. We pay tribute to those first Board Directors who did so much to build the organisation. We were deeply saddened to hear that Sue Price OBE and Morgan Parry (Chair) died in 2012 and 2013, respectively.

Cynnal Cymru’s contract for the Welsh government ran between 2011 and 2016 and involved: providing secretariat and research support to the Commissioner for Sustainable Futures; providing the secretariat and research base for the Climate Change Commission Wales; managing the Sustainable Development Charter; and co-ordinating engagement and consultation on landmark legislation, The Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act.

In 2014 we became a registered charity: promoting sustainable development for the benefit of the public. We are the first charity in Wales to have this as our primary aim.

We are now a membership based organisation for private, public and the third sectors; providing consultancy, training and facilitation and networking opportunities including:

• Training on the Well-being of Future Generations Act
• Business Leadership for Sustainable Development accredited course
• Integrated Sustainability Reporting consultancy services
• Monthly networking events
• The annual Sustain Wales Summit: Business Innovation for a Sustainable Economy
• The annual Sustainable Academy Awards in partnership with Renewable UK Cymru (Formally the Sustain Wales Awards).
• and so much more

In April 2016 part of the Cynnal team transferred to the Office of the Commissioner for Future Generations and we look forward to working alongside them, the new Commissioner and the Welsh Government on the next stage of the journey with the implementation of the Well-being of Future Generations Act.

Get in touch with us to find out how we can work with you.