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Responding to the challenge of implementing sustainable development principles - new report

A new report to support public sector bodies to implement sustainable development principles has been published today by the Health and Sustainability Hub and Research and Evaluation Division in Public Health Wales.

The report ‘Implementing the Sustainable Development Principle’ makes five key recommendations, formed from a review of the international evidence conducted by colleagues in Kingston University London and commissioned by Public Health Wales. 

Professor Mark Bellis, Director of the Policy and International Health Directorate said:

“The report recognises that the ways of working are mutually reinforcing and therefore advises staff to start where they feel comfortable. The report also tells us where we should focus our efforts, with activity targeted at individual, team, organisation and government system levels, and stresses the importance of making our action visible and integrated at all times so that we facilitate the ‘virtuous circle’ of motivation that is needed to secure and sustain change.” 

The report also presents key lessons, examples and practical advice for each of the five ways of working which underpin the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015. Professor Bellis added:

“The recommendations in the report call for varied support mechanisms such as training and organisational policies as well as constant communication and publicity so that staff are part of creating and sharing ‘new stories and evidence’ about what constitutes workplace success.” 

While serving the Welsh context, the findings can also act as a document for any organisation seeking to implement the globally agreed Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Cathy Weatherup, Strategic Lead for the Health and Sustainability Hub of Public Health Wales said: 

“We look forward to working with colleagues across Wales to help embed these principles across organisations and to be able to share and build on our experiences, which will not only be of benefit to us in Wales but also internationally.”

Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales said: 

“I welcome this new publication by Public Health Wales, in conjunction with Kingston University London, on supporting the implementation of the Well-being of Future Generations Act and sustainable development. It demonstrates how it goes beyond other frameworks internationally to enable radical transformation at pace and scale, highlights the importance of embracing the Act as a game changer, and reinforces the message that the Act supports the development of new norms and rules. 

“I'm also reassured by its focus on the importance of the five ways of working. For example, the review states the importance of supporting the five ways of working at four levels: individual, team, organisation and system. It tells us the five ways of working are mutually reinforcable, and you should start where you feel most comfortable. And it reminds us on how important it is to ensure visible integration of the five ways of working in people, policies and practice. 

“In short, this important piece of work not only endorses the Act, but acts as an important reminder that we have the collective permission to do things differently here in Wales and drive real change.”


Implementing the Sustainable Development: Principle Lessons from a Literature Review on Implementing the Five Ways of Working

For more information on the Well-being of Future Generations (Wales) Act 2015, please e-mail: