Corporate plan: 6 Promote successful and responsible business, using natural resources without damaging them

View of Pwll Deri from Garn Farm, Pembrokeshire - photographed by Ian Medcalf

Where are we now?

Over 90% of the land area in Wales is used for agriculture and forestry5. We also have significant freshwater and marine fisheries where ensuring the sustainability of fish stocks is a significant issue: for example, there has been a marked reduction in the abundance of salmon in our rivers over recent years1.

Local authority recycling rates have risen from 52% in 2012/13 to 60% in 2015/16, and they are now the highest in the UK. Wales is also ranked second in Europe and third in the world for recycling1.

Electricity generated from renewables has more than tripled since 2007, reaching 20% of all electricity produced in Wales by 20151. Continuing to increase the proportion of renewable energy is a priority for the future with the Welsh Government’s aspirations for 70% of electricity provided by renewables in Wales by 2030, with at least 1 giga watt of renewable energy capacity locally owned.

NRW supports industry and agriculture through its advice and regulation to reduce environmental impacts, control pollution and reduce the risk of incidents. While some businesses already operate sustainably, there are more opportunities for green growth, benefiting industry itself, the natural environment and the people of Wales.

Where do we want to be long term?

Wales will be seen as a great place to do business, with organisations understanding SMNR, adopting sustainable working practices and appreciating that they are operating as a part of resilient ecosystems. This will benefit not only the businesses themselves but also the people of Wales and the natural environment, which will be viewed as an essential asset. Businesses will be encouraged to become accredited and are recognised for their approach.

The spectrum of businesses in Wales ranges from traditional industry and forestry, fishing and farming to tourist operators and social enterprises. In future, development planning will ensure that new businesses are located where they have the minimal environmental impact.

Wales will be seen to have a competitive advantage as it embraces green growth. New sectors, new products, new research and innovation in existing industries will be encouraged. Wales will make best use of natural resources and emerging technologies, while at the same time understanding, avoiding and mitigating against impacts on the natural environment and looking for enhancement opportunities. Resources will be used efficiently, and renewable energy production will have increased significantly with a proportion of renewable energy capacity locally owned. Wales will be working towards a circular economy – where resource use is reduced and materials are re-used, recycled and finally used to produce energy where possible.

NRW will have strong links with industry, providing advice and working together before and during the planning process to develop good sustainable businesses and technology. We will make full use of our regulatory powers – permitting and monitoring to check compliance and enforcement – to protect the natural environment and to ensure that legitimate businesses are not undermined.

We will support the development of alternative markets as well as PES and use our buying power to influence our suppliers and the wider public sector to encourage working towards a circular economy.

What will NRW do up to 2022 to help make this happen?

Lead by example

  • Develop our commercial work in accordance with our Enterprise Plan, ensuring that our activities contribute positively to SMNR as well as income generation
  • Market our timber through fair and open competition and ensure the forests we manage retain independent forest certification
  • Support the development of renewable energy on the land that we manage and support renewable energy projects on adjoining land. Help deliver Welsh Government carbon reduction commitments and facilitate greater community benefit and ownership of renewable energy projects
  • Support the development of recreation-based tourism on NRW-managed land including the development of holiday cabins on at least three sites
  • Help provide good-quality jobs throughout Wales as a direct employer and support apprenticeships, work placements and Welsh Government employment programmes to help people find work across Wales
  • Ensure that advisory and regulatory work is efficient and effective, allowing good decisions to be made by those receiving NRW advice
  • Respond to 95% of planning applications within statutory or agreed deadlines and monitor the quality of our advice and what effect our response has had
  • Use our experimental powers to work with emerging technologies to help business operate sustainably

Working with our partners

  • Promote the compelling reasons for business to adopt an SMNR approach to their operations, helping them understand the benefits of this approach to both industry and to the people of Wales and the natural environment. Support businesses on a sector-by-sector basis, providing a vision for the future
  • Work with the private sector, neighbours, voluntary bodies and communities to support appropriate use of NRW land to deliver economic, social and environmental benefits
  • Encourage businesses to adopt appropriate accreditation schemes, such as B Corp, demonstrating that they adhere to strict environmental, social and cultural, as well as economic, standards
  • Support the Welsh Government and others to develop PES and their approach to new tax powers
  • Support the Welsh Government in the preparation of the National Development Framework
  • Take the lead with other UK environmental agencies to ensure that regulatory changes elsewhere in the UK have a beneficial impact for Wales
  • Work with academia and in particular business schools to develop innovative approaches to embedding SMNR as a normal part of business
  • Put steps in place to work towards a circular economy and zero waste in Wales
  • Support the management of high-quality landscapes and sustainable tourism developments with partners to enhance the visitor economy across Wales

Indicators for Wales: How will we know if anything has changed?


  • Emission of Greenhouse Gases – National Indicator3
  • Develop more indicators in collaboration with partners and business in Wales

Charlie Lewis - for me, it's really important to do a job that I believe... I really care about what I do. I like to think I'm helping to leave a legacy for my daughter so she can continue to enjoy these things

Related document downloads

Our Plan to 2022 - Easy read Looking after nature now for our children to enjoy PDF [16.8 MB]
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