EmpowerCymru audience

Insights and observations from EmpowerCymru 2024


On Monday (11 March), Net Zero Industry Wales hosted its first EmpowerCymru event — a conference which brought together industry leaders, experts and key public sector officials alongside more than 160 attendees, for a day of discussion around Wales’ journey to net zero.

A collection of images from the conference can be accessed here.

Here is a summary of the day’s events…

The morning session explored progress made to date in Wales, with learnings and insight from within the South Wales Industrial Cluster and beyond. Meanwhile, the afternoon session saw insightful discussions on the barriers and opportunities facing Welsh industry — with a focus on what support and investment is needed.

Keynote speakers, NZIW CEO, Ben Burggraaf, and RWE UK Country Chair, Tom Glover, delved into Wales’ net zero successes over the past year — outlining the achievements of SWIC; the establishment of the North East Wales Industrial decarbonisation plan (NEW-ID); and the work of other Clean Growth Hubs.

Plus, public sector speakers, including the Rt Hon David TC Davies MP, Secretary of State for Wales; Minister for Climate Change, Julie James MS; and Welsh Government Director General of Economy, Skills and Natural Resources, Andrew Slade, all reinforced the public sector’s determination to support and enable Wales in achieving its net zero commitments.

‘Empower Panel’ discussions also took place throughout the day, featuring key figures from Wales’ private and public sectors and event sponsor, EY — with discussion points around what it takes to make net zero a reality in Wales; how we can attract global and UK capital to Wales; and the importance of private and public sector partnerships.

Some key soundbites included:

  • RWE UK Country Chair, Tom Glover perfectly described Wales’ net zero journey as a matter of “saving the world while saving jobs”
  • Dr Carol Bell, industry expert and investor (Research England) inspired and motivated us all by aligning the transition to an old Welsh proverb: “deuparth gwaith ei ddechrau” — which means “starting the work is two thirds of the job”
  • And more generally, Wales was referred to as a honeypot of innovation and talent — a place which can truly lead the way for net zero on a UK level, and beyond.

The event was hosted at The Parkgate Hotel in Cardiff — a beautifully renovated historic building which was once Cardiff’s Head Post Office and old County Court. Seamlessly merging its rich heritage with modernity, the venue provided an apt reflection of NZIW’s mission to honour Wales’ industrial past while embracing a contemporary approach to achieving net zero.

We’d like to extend a huge thank you to everyone who attended — and to our collection of fascinating speakers who made EmpowerCymru such a success. We’re already looking forward to next year.