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4. Where are we now?

What have we done so far?

Our Environment Policy has been in place for several years, stating our commitment to reducing our impact on the environment through recycling, reducing energy and considering the environmental impacts of purchasing decisions.

Specific projects carried out to reduce carbon emissions from operations and to protect or enhance biodiversity include:

  • Lighting throughout our estate has been upgraded to low energy LEDs as part of a rolling replacement programme.  Currently around 80% of our light fixtures have been changed to LED.
  • Solar panels have been installed on the roof at Plas Menai in 2020 and 2021, with two arrays totalling 100kW now installed.  These produce electricity for the site, reducing the reliance on the electricity grid and cutting running costs.
  • More recently, the oil-fired boilers at Plas Menai have been removed, to be replaced with a combination of ground source and air source heat pumps. These became operational in 2023, reducing our emissions from fossil fuels.
  • Recycling has been heavily promoted at our sites, especially in the staff restaurants and cafes.
  • A wildflower garden has been established near the grass rugby/football pitch in the Sport Wales National Centre, Cardiff.
  • Pesticide use has been significantly reduced to protect the environment.
  • Sport Wales has supported the funding of ultra-sonic buoys to control blue-green algae without harmful chemicals in Flintshire.
  • The National Outdoor Centre at Plas Menai runs several environmental education courses on the Menai Strait.  A managed woodland has been planted on site and a dozen bird boxes are in place to attract native species.
  • The mountain bike skills track at Plas Menai has well-established planting and wildflowers to encourage bees and butterflies.  Grass cutting in this area is also kept to the minimum required to enable cyclists to safely navigate the track.
  • The Plas Menai schools programme includes the opportunity for children and young people to assist in beach cleaning, raising awareness of the impact of pollution and waste.
  • In developing our Environmental Sustainability Plan, we have begun to engage with partners to understand the immediate needs of the sports sector.  This will in turn inform our phased action plans.  We have also progressed with several collaboration opportunities, engaging with other bodies within the UK sport sector, National Lottery distributors and Welsh Government Sponsored Public Bodies.  This is already helping us to better meet the needs of the sector.
  • We report our carbon footprint to Welsh Government on an annual basis.  We have engaged with the Welsh Government Climate Change division to help improve the accuracy of our reporting.  Further details of our environmental impact are reported in our Annual Report.

Our Baseline 

Calculating our organisational carbon footprint and understanding the key emissions hotspots is the first stage in reducing our impact on the environment.  We have worked with the Carbon Trust to calculate our carbon footprint for the financial year 2019-20 using the Greenhouse Gas Protocol methodology.

A circular chart quantifying the different types of carbon emissions from the baseline period.  The chart shows that 20% of Sport Wales emissions are scope 1, 14% are scope 2 and 66% are scope 3.

* Per the Carbon Reporting requirements, this does not include expenditure related to investments in partners.

  • 2019-20 has been used as a baseline year to understand the Sport Wales carbon footprint in the pre pandemic period.
  • Purchased goods and services (included within Scope 3 emissions) are the highest contributor to our carbon footprint – 1,172 tCo2e and 43% of our emissions.  This is typical across all types of organisation.
  • Fuel for our buildings (electricity, gas and oil) is included within Scope 1, 2 and 3  contributing 40% of our carbon emissions.
  • Employee commuting (included within Scope 3 emissions) amounted to 358 tCO2e and represents 13% of our carbon emissions.  Commuting reduced during the pandemic but will be partially offset by a new requirement to include the carbon impact of home working.
  • Since the baseline period, Sport Wales has worked with the Carbon Trust to improve data collection processes, ensuring that our reported emissions are more accurately represented.
  • Other changes since 2019-20 include improvements to our energy use driven by green energy works at Plas Menai.

The Future - Business as usual

We have worked with the Carbon Trust to understand the scale of the challenge in future years. The chart below maps the trajectory of Sport Wales’s carbon emissions.  This factors in decisions taken since the baseline, such as the installation of the ground source heat pump, and a reduction in staff commuting due to working from home.

A coloured chart that shows the proportion of different emissions by fuel projected into the future to 2030.  It shows an initial reduction in procurement emissions by 2020, a reduction in electricity emissions by 2022 and an elimination of gas oil emissions by 2022.  Beyond 2022, most emissions are steady.  The chart also shows the trajectory required to maintain global warming within 1.5 degrees by 2030.  The chart illustrates that without further action, Sport Wales will fall significantly short of the target required.

Significant reductions in carbon emissions are required to deliver the net zero ambition by 2030.  This level of reduction will require changes to our ways of working and transformational change in some areas of our activity.


Biodiversity is the variety of life found on earth and includes all species of plants and animals.  Resilient ecosystems depend on biodiversity and underpin economic, social, cultural and environmental wellbeing.

A Resilient Wales

The Wellbeing of Future Generations Act defines the goal for Wales to become: “a nation which maintains and enhances a biodiverse natural environment with healthy functioning ecosystems that support social, economic and ecological resilience and the capacity to adapt to change.”

As noted above, Sport Wales has embedded key projects to maintain or enhance biodiversity into activities at our sites. 

Of particular significance are projects to establish wildflower areas across our sites to encourage bees and butterflies, the installation of bird boxes to attract native species and the maintenance of trees in accordance with the Tree Protection Orders in place.