March 24, 2023

Sophie Howe reflects on her 7-year term

The world's first Future Generations Commissioner reflects on her 7-year term

In 2015, the Welsh government passed the Future Generations Act, the first of its kind in the world, and with it came a brand new job title: future generations commissioner. Sophie Howe landed this role in 2016 and has spent the past seven years challenging the system.

Some of the ‘big win’ moments we have seen in Wales include:

  • The U-turn of the M4 Relief Road which prevented a 13-mile stretch of motorway being built through environmentally sensitive wetlands – utilising the Act, Welsh Government changed their initial road building decision and prioritised our communities and environment.
  • Welsh Government’s latest transport strategy is showing how they’re taking a long-term lens to how we travel. With an emphasis on active travel and improved public transport instead of building new roads, we’re building a transport system which is fit for the future. World-leading, Wales is third in the world for recycling.
  • With increasing concerns over the cost-of-living crisis, Wales is committed to putting people above profit and Welsh Government’s plans for a publicly owned energy company is a testament to this. Helping us transition to green energy, the energy company will reduce our reliance on global markets and put money back into the pockets of Welsh people.
  • A new purpose-driven curriculum which is designed to create well-rounded, innovative and creative citizens and includes mental health education and eco-literacy – all the while moving away from traditional exams and moving towards learning for learning’s sake.
  • Wales is also going further to protect the health of our planet and environment with their new waste strategy, Beyond Recycling which is prioritising a circular economy and helping us become a zero waste, net zero carbon Wales that uses its fair share of resources.