The Sustainability Lab shaping brighter futures


SMART Innovation, SMART Expertise and SMART Cymru aim to demonstrate that we and the projects we fund are giving meaningful consideration to the well-being of current and future generations in all we do.

  1. The one Sustainable Development Principle is our overarching guide:

We must act in a manner which seeks to ensure that the needs of the present are met without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.

When conducting our business and designing projects we need to consider the possible impact of our decision making on the people living their lives in Wales currently, and in the future.

  1. Whilst our main motivator for bringing University academics, students and businesses together to tackle the grand challenges is to boost the economy, we recognise that the economy is interdependent with the environment, society and culture. If we want our development initiatives to be sustainable in the long term, it is important that we consider how to improve all four aspects equally
  1. To achieve this we will be adopting five ways of working, to help us work together better, avoid repeating past mistakes and tackle some of the long-term challenges we are facing:

  • Long term thinking: We must balance short and long term solutions, meeting the needs of the present whilst safeguarding the needs of the future
  • Prevention is better than cure: We must consider whether our proposed actions will prevent problems occurring or getting worse – or will they make things better
  • Integration: We must consider how our objectives impact on each of the well-being goals and on the objectives of others
  • Collaboration: SMART must seek to act in collaboration with anyone (internal/external) that could help us meet our well-being objectives
  • Involvement: It’s extremely important to involve as many relevant people (stakeholders) as possible to help us meet our collective well-being objectives and to reflect the diversity of the University and beyond

  1. Last but not least we aim to demonstrate that our activities contribute to the following seven well-being goals:

  • A prosperous Wales/SMART/Partner businesses

Contributing towards an innovative, productive, low-carbon society that uses its resources efficiently and proportionately

  • A resilient Wales/SMART/Partner businesses

Creating a healthy environment supporting social, economic and ecological resilience, a society that adapts to chang

  • A healthier Wales/SMART/Partner businesses

Maximising physical and mental well-being by making right choices for the future

  • A more equal Wales/SMART/Partner businesses

Enabling people to fulfil their potential regardless of background or circumstances

  • A Wales/SMART/Partner businesses of cohesive communities

Creating capable, safe and well-connected communities

  • A Wales/SMART/Partner businesses of vibrant culture and thriving Welsh Language

Promoting & protecting culture, heritage and language

  • A globally responsible Wales/SMART/Partner businesses

Considering wider impacts of our decisions on global well-being

By adopting this innovative and logical approach to project management and delivery we are promoting the Welsh Government’s ‘Well-being of Future Generations Act (2015) Act’ which became law in April 2016.

This is a new way of working for us and we will be engaging in an active learning process to improve our understanding of what sustainability and well-being really means to us and our partners. We are enthusiastic about partnering with others who share the same vision and who are on a similar journey. We have joined Bangor University’s Well-being of future generations network so that we can share good practice, exchange ideas and co-develop ways of making business sense of these issues over the life of the ERDF Programme. Contact Bangor University’s Director of Sustainability, Dr Einir Young if you would like more information or if you would also like to join us as members of Bangor University’s Well-being of Future Generations Network.

This way of working has gained global recognition. This is what Nikhil Seth, UN Director of Sustainable Development, says about the Welsh Government’s approach:

The Wales Future Generations Act captures the spirit and essence of two decades of United Nations work in the area of sustainable development and serves as a model for other regions and countries… We hope that what Wales is doing today the world will do tomorrow. Action, more than words, is the hope for our current and future generations.”

The SMART Suite of Operations are backbone operations for the ERDF Priority 1.2 and this way of working is the way we have chosen to make a positive contribution to the Horizontal Principles (previously referred to as the Cross-Cutting Themes).

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