Company bosses in Wrexham are being urged to reduce their use of packaging and plastic waste in the war against climate change.
The plea came from Wrexham AM Lesley Griffiths, who is also the Welsh Government Minister for the Environment, Energy and Rural Affairs, at the annual dinner of Wrexham Business Professionals.
The group is made up of successful businesses and highly skilled professionals working together to promote regional prosperity and the enterprise and expertise that exists in the region.
Ms Griffiths told the packed Ramada Hotel function room that we only have a short period of time in which to act if we are to reverse the devastating effects of the “climate crisis”.
She said: “We really do face a climate change emergency and we have to act now. I’m proud that Wales was the first country in the world to declare a climate emergency.
“I hoped when we, the Welsh Government, made that declaration that we would see a wave of action both here in the UK and around the world.
“We all need to take action, communities, businesses and governments if we are to reverse the devastating damaging climate change is and will continue to do around the world.
“The Welsh Government is committed to achieving a carbon neutral public sector by 2030. We now need to co-ordinate the action required to help other parts of the economy move away from fossil fuels.
“Our sustainable development and environmental legislation is recognised as world-leading and now we must use that legislation to set a new pace of change.”
She added: “Climate change is such a massive issue and something we all created. It’s now up to us all to do something about it.
“If we look at recycling rates for example, a few years ago Wales was next to bottom in the league table but now we are currently third, just behind Singapore and Germany.
“We took action and instigated change such as charges for plastic carrier bags. England eventually followed suit and that has seen the amount of plastic bags going into land-fill, the world’s seas and oceans and polluting our countryside vastly reduced.
“My appeal to you, as business leaders, is always think about packaging and plastic waste and reduce its use wherever you can whether that’s what you wrap your products in or whether you use a plastic straw to sip your cocktail.
“We all have to do our bit if we are going to save our precious planet for future generations.”
The audience also heard from Nightingale House Hospice fundraiser Debbie Barton who thanked members of Wrexham Business Professionals for their support and fundraising on behalf of the charity.
She said: “Every penny you raise will make a difference to local people with life-limiting illness and their families as well as children and young people experiencing bereavement who need the care of the hospice.
“As we approach the 25th anniversary of Nightingale House in 2020 there are many important changes happening – changes that you through your fundraising are helping to make possible.
“Right now the hospice is being modernised throughout brining new facilities and a new modern environment to enable us to care for even more patients.
“And earlier this year we opened two new outreach services, bringing day care services one day a week to two local hospitals, one in Mold and one in Chirk.
“Our emphasis on rehabilitation is stronger than ever as people live longer with life-threatening conditions and we continue to offer a hugely diverse range of therapies and services including hydrotherapy, physio, art and music, occupational health, family support and complimentary therapies as well as our in-patient ward and more.”
She added: “Nightingale House Hospice is not just a place to die; it’s a place to live. It’s a place where the little things are the big things. Our team of dedicated doctors, nurses, support staff and volunteers cannot affect the outcome for a patient but can affect the journey.
“Remarkable things are happening at Nightingale House and its remarkable people including many members of Wrexham Business Professionals that make it all possible.”
The evening was hosted by Ian Edwards, a solicitor and director of Wrexham-based law firm Allington Hughes Law and a Wrexham Business Professionals committee member.
Mr Edwards told members and guests that both Lesley Griffiths AM and Debbie Barton had given everyone food for thought.
He said: “Lesley Griffiths is, I know, very passionate about the environmental issues that are at the root cause of the climate crisis we face. As the evidence mounts it’s very difficult for anyone to deny that we do face a crisis.
“We should all take pride in the fact Wales has climbed so high in the recycling table but I agree with Lesley Griffiths, we cannot sit on our laurels.
“We, as business professionals, have to play our part and put climate issues on the agenda whenever we go into our boardrooms.”
He added: “I’d also endorse everything Debbie Barton has told us about Nightingale House. Everyone connected with Wrexham Business Professionals can take pride in the amount of fundraising individual members have undertaken on behalf of this amazing charity.
“In the last year we have members who have undertaken marathon bike rides across whole countries and some who have donned the lycra and taken to the dance floor for a Strictly-styled dance competition.
“And of course we have supported the hospice through events such as this annual dinner with raffle proceedings going to the hospice too.”