How charity apps may be making us more generous

Every time Victoria Alderman eats out, she donates 10% of the bill to fight hunger and malnutrition via a charitable giving app.

And each time the 25-year-old receptionist from Cambridge, Massachusetts, takes an Uber 2% of the cost of the journey is automatically sent to climate change charities.

By using an app from Momentum to set up these and other giving rules, she has donated a little over $100 (£78) since May.

“It’s an effortless way to support charities,” Ms Alderman says.

“For example, I know I take far too many Ubers, so it’s great to be able offset some of the impact of that.”

US-based Momentum is one of many companies looking to change the way people donate.

Its chief executive Nick Fitz and fellow co-founders Ari Kagan and Ivan Dimitrov came up with the idea for Momentum while researching charitable giving.

“We found that most people would like to give 2.5 times as much as they do, and we wanted to do something to try to close that gap,” says Mr Fitz.

Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) – or communication protocols between clients and servers – are what makes the system possible.

“APIs allow us to link donations to people’s everyday lives, and to let them track the impact of their giving,” adds Mr Fitz.

“It’s often small actions, but they add up. The 1,000 or so people who’ve been trialling the app have already donated around $31,000.”

APIs are also key to the flexible fundraising model of UK-based website Givepenny, which uses them to interact with popular services such as Spotify and Fitbit.

Via Spotify, for example, sports teams can set up a pre-match changing room playlist to which fans can add songs – in return for a donation to the team’s chosen charity.

“We use APIs to talk to third party platforms such as Strava and Twitch, so we can create cool features for people to use to raise money,” says Givepenny chief executive Lee Clark.

Knightenator, a 24-year-old game streamer from near London, is among those taking advantage of these tools.

She has raised more than £2,000 for homeless charity Shelter by linking her Givepenny page to her Twitch stream, allowing fans to donate money if they are moved by her appeal or want her to perform a forfeit, such as biting into a raw onion.

“When you’re streaming, it’s really important to have immediate alerts so you can show people how it’s going and thank those who donate,” she says.

“People love the buzz of seeing their name on screen and it can create a real snowball effect.

“Let’s just say I’ve eaten a lot of raw onion!”

You don’t need your own stream to support good causes while online gaming, though.

US eSports platform Skillz runs Charity Gaming for Good Tournaments that are open to anyone with an iOS or Android device.

Last year it raised more than $120,000 for breast cancer foundation Susan G Komen over 10 days of mobile tournaments involving some 25,000 players.

“Skillz can help our charity partners reach a younger demographic and launch large-scale digital fundraisers with little overhead,” says Skillz founder Andrew Paradise.

“In turn, players get to be part of something bigger than just a game.”

Even with all these new ways to support good causes via the internet, online giving currently accounts for just 10% of all charitable donations.

That is expected to change over the next few years, though.

According to the Charities Aid Foundation (CAF) Charity Landscape 2019, 87% of charity chief executives now see investing in technology as a key priority.

“Voluntary donations are an important source of revenue for the charitable sector as a whole,” says Rhodri Davies, head of policy at CAF.

“Technology is changing where people are giving, with more people using online platforms to support causes.”

Crowdfunding is one of the most promising areas at present.

In just two years Beam, which founder Alex Stephany describes as a cross between a crowdfunding platform and a social network, has raised £563,000 by matching donors with some 150 homeless people looking to change their lives through training.

Game changer?

But in years to come, Blockchain technology may prove to be the real game changer – mainly because it offers previously unheard of impact tracking features.

“Blockchain has so much to offer,” says Raphaël Mazet, chief executive of Alice, a UK-based Ethereum giving platform that aims to give donors full transparency.

“The charitable sector is full of inefficiencies and plagued by cynicism.

“Blockchain allows you to measure and control the social or environmental impact of your donations by creating smart contracts that automate payments and make them conditional to the desired impact having been achieved and validated.”

Issues remain, however. “I am positive about Blockchain’s potential,” Davies says.

“But the technology still isn’t really there yet when it comes to showing accountability at scale.”

How an economist helped thousands get a new kidney

If you have needed a kidney transplant in the last few years your chance of getting one has improved dramatically because of an economist called Alvin Roth.

Roth, working with Tayfun Sönmez and Utku Unver, has revolutionised kidney donation around the world by using an economic theory to make kidneys more available.

Without the trio’s intervention, thousands of people a year who are walking around with a new kidney would either still be suffering, on dialysis or dead.

Donating a kidney is different to other organs as humans have two but only need one to function, so living donation is possible.

You may want to give your loved one who needs a kidney one of yours but often the types of kidney will not match.

In the past, you would have to wait for a donation from somebody who’d just died or continue without one.

The new idea was for a “kidney exchange” where pairs of donors with kidneys which do not match are put together with other non-matching pairs so that everyone who was donating was able to find a matching recipient.

There have even been examples of chains of donations, where up to 70 kidneys are swapped in a chain with 70 recipients.

Selling kidneys is illegal in every country but Iran because ethically most governments do not want to make it legal for people to harvest body parts for money.

“Kidneys are a market where almost everywhere in the world we don’t let prices play any role,” says Prof Roth when we meet. When I ask about the impact his market has had, he gives one example, saying that about a thousand kidneys are found for people in the United States every year.

The impact of his idea has resulted in Prof Roth being awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics.

German exchange change?

We meet in Berlin as Nobel laureates and other luminaries gather to discuss the future of healthcare. Alvin Roth is there in part because Germany is one of the only major industrialised countries where kidney exchange is not lawful.

“I think that the bureaucratic rules and regulations for kidneys as for every market have to be revisited from time to time in the in the light of new developments, and should be modernized and adapted to current capabilities,” he says.

When contacted about the issue the German Health Ministry tells me that they are planning to organise a public debate on the issue but have no schedule for that yet.

Prof Roth says he understands the concerns behind the German ban. “They’re worried about organ trafficking.

“They’re worried that if I showed up and wanted to give you a kidney, it would mean that you had paid me and it may be I was a poor and desperate person. But on the other hand, if your brother shows up and wants to give you a kidney, they’re not worried about that.”

Selling kidneys?

But Prof Roth also sees a way that in the future people might be able to be paid for their kidneys.

He compares the debate to the one had in the US after the Vietnam War when the country switched from the draft – or compulsory military service – to an all-volunteer military.

Alvin Roth envisages a future where people who wish to donate a kidney for money could be conceived as “heroes” by the state which would gather the kidney and distribute it in the way that organs are distributed now – so kidneys would not be given on the basis of wealth but on current organ donor needs.

Yet offering financial incentives for organs is an ethical argument that many – both outside and in the medical establishment – are against.

A pilot programme where medical costs were paid for kidney donation or exchange between recipients in high income countries and donors from low or middle income countries failed to win the support of the World Health Organization.

Peter Singer who recently contributed to a piece in The Lancet supporting the scheme told the BBC that one exchange had happened through the scheme.

Prof Roth is a supporter of the programme, and says: “It’s a shame when people die because of bureaucracy.”

Japan’s workplaces rethink ‘drinking with the boss’

Riku Kitamura remembers his first “drinking party” as a new graduate in Japan. The 28-year-old worked for a market research firm and the team would regularly socialise over drinks in the evening.

“[At first] I did feel the pressure that I had to drink more, that I had to catch up to others. It got me quite drunk,” he says.

Drinking with colleagues after work has long been part of Japanese culture. Nomikai, or drinking gatherings, are seen as central to building strong relationships.

But in some offices, those gatherings have become less frequent as concerns over power harassment grow. That’s taking away a path many workers in Japan traditionally relied on to get to know their boss.

Essentially workplace bullying, power harassment ranges from isolating an employee to physical abuse by a superior.

“Forcing people to go to a drinking party is sometimes seen as harassment,” says Kumiko Nemoto, professor of sociology at Kyoto University of Foreign Studies.

“In the past, it happened all the time. It was part of normal corporate culture in Japan but now it’s seen as power harassment.”

The government wants to introduce rules for employers to prevent power harassment from next year. The move is part of a wider effort to stamp out harmful workplace behaviour in a country known for punishing hours and even death caused by overwork.

Against this backdrop, some managers are hesitant to invite their staff to drinks after work.

Mr Kitamura says over the last three years, bosses have been clear that drinking isn’t compulsory. “Managers are afraid of a backlash,” he says. “I can definitely feel that the managers aren’t pushing it [and] trying to avoid the risk.”

‘People are more aware’

Among them is 47-year-old Tats Katsuki. Mr Katsuki, a manager at a Japanese trading house, admits he doesn’t ask his team to go out drinking as companies take a tougher line on harassment.

“People are generally worried for all kinds of harassment, power harassment, sexual harassment,” he says.

That awareness has spiked over the past five years, and individuals “get fired all the time now for this kind of stuff,” he says.

“Subordinates can always anonymously email or write letters to… a complaints box. People are much more aware and prudent.”

It’s a far cry from the Japanese workplaces Mr Katsuki began his career in more than two decades ago.

Back then, he says there was a “different mentality”. He’d go out drinking with colleagues in Tokyo up to four times a week.

“Your boss would say, are you free now? Let’s go. There was really no way of saying no,” Mr Katsuki says.

The party would carry on after client dinners, sometimes into the early hours. He felt he was probably drinking too much and often battled with hangovers.

But overall, it wasn’t a hardship: “At the time I thought it was good because you get to know your bosses really well. We used to talk about work a lot but also non-work stuff… [and] get to know the other person better.”

His generation came up in the workforce after Japan’s economic bubble burst in the early 1990s. An era of excess and extravagance ended as a period of prolonged economic pain – known as the country’s lost decade – began.

The idea of a “job for life” started to recede and other forces, such as more part-time staff and women in the workforce, saw the culture within traditional Japanese organisations shift.

Prof Nemoto says before the bubble burst, drinking was an extension of work. But as the business environment changed, so too did expectations on staff – including around socialising with the boss.

New rules

Mr Katsuki says now workplaces in Japan are just like anywhere else in the world, with pre-planned social events like welcome dinners.

He says the amount of alcohol drunk at work functions has fallen and fewer bosses will tap their staff on the shoulder for a night out. That’s due in part to fears around the perception of harassment.

Mr Katsuki’s experience mirrors the shifting workplace dynamics seen elsewhere in the world that have left some unsure of the new “rules” on the job.

He discusses this regularly with his team and has pushed to define the boundaries of what’s acceptable so as not to overstep the mark.

“People are unsure even whether they can say ‘you changed your hairstyle’ to a female employee. There’s a lot less conversation because people are afraid of saying something… and being told that’s harassment.”

Feeling ‘excluded’

Yet as managers attempt to navigate the new terrain, some younger workers are feeling left out. They think the perceived risks have prompted an overreaction.

Mr Kitamura, who now works as a project manager at market research firm CarterJMRN in Tokyo, says newcomers “feel like they aren’t being invited to drink anymore”.

“They feel excluded. Drinking is still a social tool… to really connect with your manager. They will talk to the manager and say, hey why aren’t you inviting me to the drinking party?”

He says while he felt pressure as a newcomer to go to work gatherings, he enjoys drinking and wants to be included.

Parissa Haghirian, professor of international management at Sophia University, echoes that sentiment – and underlines the importance in Japan of forming social bonds over dinner and drinks.

“People like drinking in Japan,” she says. “Drinking and smoking are seen as relaxing things. It doesn’t have such bad connotations.”

“The idea is we do this together, it’s extremely important to be part of it.”

China to cut import tariffs on pork and tech parts

China will cut tariffs on hundreds of products ranging from frozen pork to high-tech parts next year, lowering trade barriers to support the economy.

In a statement, Chinese authorities said import tariffs on 859 items would be reduced from 1 January.

The world’s second largest economy has typically used high tariffs to protect local industries.

China is fighting a long-running trade war with the US and faces a series of domestic challenges.

The ministry of finance said the tariff changes would be made to “increase imports of products facing a relative domestic shortage, or foreign speciality goods for everyday consumption”.

That includes tariff rates on frozen pork – due to be lowered to 8% from 12% for some countries – as China struggles to cope with an outbreak of African swine fever.

The deadly disease has wiped out about half of the country’s pigs and dealt a heavy blow to the pork industry.

Beijing is struggling to fill a huge supply gap of the popular meat and rein in prices.

Other imports that will see a drop in tariff rates include frozen avocado and some wood and paper products.

China will also eliminate tariffs on certain asthma and diabetes medications, as well as on some semiconductors.

The lower tariffs will benefit many of its trading partners, including New Zealand, Peru, Singapore and Pakistan.

Authorities will reduce the rates by implementing temporary import tariffs – which are lower than the standard rates – on its list of targeted goods. The country made a similar move last year.

Trade battle

Though not directly related to its trade war with the US, the tariff cuts back up China’s claim that it is pushing to open its economy.

Earlier this month, Beijing and Washington struck a preliminary deal on their long-running trade dispute.

The US agreed to cut some tariffs in exchange for more Chinese purchases of American agricultural products.

The country is also battling a wider economic slowdown, with growth languishing at its slowest pace in about three decades.

‘I spent £40 on an album I already own’

“New Mariah Carey music – that’s always a reason to get me out spending money!” says Jeffrey Ingold, who reckons he has spent about £8,000 on the singer’s music over his lifetime – including going to international concerts.

While he may already own her classic Merry Christmas album from 1994, that certainly hasn’t stopped him buying the latest version, reissued a few weeks ago for the 25th anniversary.

“It includes recordings which I’ve never heard before,” he says. “So to have the chance to be transported back and hear vintage Mariah is worth every penny.”

As well as downloading the album on Spotify, Jeffrey pre-ordered the CD and vinyl versions, spending a total of £40. “If you’re a true fan – or in Mariah’s world, lamb – it’s always worth it.”

It’s this kind of devotion that record companies rely on, as more and more bands decide to relaunch their biggest hits.

This year has also seen the release of “deluxe” and anniversary editions of classic albums by REM, Prince, Suede, the Rolling Stones, Madonna, Jethro Tull – and of course, the Beatles.

After similar success with reissues of Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band and The White album, the 50th anniversary edition of Abbey Road went to number one in October,

In the process, it set a new UK chart record as the album with the longest gap between official chart-topping stints, at 49 years and 252 days.

Milestones in rock

Gennaro Castaldo from the British Phonographic Industry, which represents the UK music business, says the trend could just be down to timing.

“Lots of ‘classic’ albums that came out in the 60s and 70s, and even the 80s and 90s, are now beginning to hit significant anniversaries,” he told the BBC.

“There is a significant group of music enthusiasts that are passionate about owning and collecting vinyl and CDs – and particularly limited edition and deluxe collections.”

At a time when streaming has become by far the most popular way of listening to music, the re-release of albums is focused on boosting physical sales.

Exclusive artwork, hardback books, DVDs and coloured vinyl are all designed to appeal to those fans who still like to own a copy of their favourite music.

Abbey Road was a case in point. According to the Official Chart Company, in the week of its release, it sold 34,500 copies, 90% of those being physical sales. It was the best-selling vinyl release of the week too, with 9,000 sales on vinyl alone.

“The vinyl revival has definitely made a difference,” says Paul Sinclair, who runs superdeluxeedition.com, a website specialising in reissues.

He explains that while some cost little more than any other new record, deluxe and now super-deluxe special editions can cost hundreds of pounds.

Pink Floyd’s The Later Years – an 18-disc box set just released – was available to pre-order on the band’s website for £399.

But Mr Sinclair says “no-one batted an eyelid” when a similar price tag was attached to their Early Years box set back in 2016, with plenty of music lovers willing to pay for the added extras, “especially when it comes to a band like Pink Floyd.”

Limited appeal

So how much of it is about music and how much about money? David Ambrose, who worked at EMI and MCA and now tutors at City University, says reissues are an “easy win” for record companies.

He says that while an artist can expect royalties of between 14% and 16% for an original release, it drops to about 4% on a reissue. Plus labels don’t have to stump up the costs of a tour, a video or any promotion. So the margins are much higher.

“Sales are limited, however – it probably isn’t going to appeal beyond a pure, established fanbase,” says Mr Ambrose.

But for those still making music, superdeluxeedition.com’s Mr Sinclair points out it can also be a clever marketing trick: “These reissues tend to be surrounded by a wave of love and it never hurts to remind people you were once brilliant when you’ve got new music to promote.”

But some argue that this retreat to nostalgia points to a wider issue in the music industry – the fact that there is, for many people, too much choice.

“When we are faced with such abundance, we need help to make decisions. It is for this reason, along with others, that reissues and the growth of heritage acts have emerged as such a central business model,” says Dr George Musgrave, a researcher at the University of Westminster.

Dr Musgrave says that rather than helping smaller bands break through, the sheer amount of music on offer actually ends up benefiting established artists. “According to Forbes 2019, the band making the most money isn’t a new act – it is the Eagles!” he adds.

More of the same

So how did Mariah Carey’s re-release of Merry Christmas perform this time around? Not spectacularly: it peaked at 95 in the UK album chart.

Victoria Kenny, another fan who bought the album, says this one was worth adding to her collection – but she’s wary of being taken for a ride.

“Some classic 80s albums seem to get reissued over and over again and it feels like they’re just milking fans with the same content in a different coloured box.” she says.

However, Jeffrey Ingold thinks there is always more to be heard from his favourite artist – even if it’s more of the same.

“There will come a time when Mariah is no longer releasing music, or not as frequently,” he says.

“So for however long she continues to put out material – new or old – I’ll be there.”

Farewell from Dave Lee – the BBC’s man in Silicon Valley

Today, I end what has been four and a half years as the BBC’s North America technology reporter. Or, as our presenters mostly put it: “The BBC’s man in Silicon Valley.”

When I started, I predicted my time here would be spent witnessing the arrival of the next big thing, whatever on Earth (or beyond) that happened to be.

It was a time of peak unicorn: a flurry of companies reaching that all-important – though arbitrary – $1bn valuation.

Many told me I would imminently be covering another burst of the tech bubble.

I have to say, I was always more optimistic: this was not like the 90s “dot-com bubble”. It still isn’t.

Instead, I have ended up covering something quite, quite different.

Change of focus

While the first half of the tech decade was shaped by things announced during keynote addresses, the latter half’s news came not from a stage, but from a platform.

Women using social media to stand up against misogyny and abuse at Uber; activists using public protests to hit back at Google’s military work; whistleblowers turning to the media to expose privacy violations at Facebook – to name but a few.

It was a change of focus that took some getting used to.

I’d find myself reporting on Google’s latest smartphone one day, and then reporting on the firm’s cover-up of an executive’s sexual misconduct the next.

I’d hear in my ear presenters cueing me in to live coverage with the phrase, “And here to make sense of all that…”, and I would wonder where to possibly begin.

It is clear that whoever inherits this role – to be announced in the new year – will need to navigate carefully the next evolution of these important stories.

It will be an era when the tech giants may be forced to atone for the prior decade’s sins.

Early in 2020, the US trade regulator is expected to put in place measures to prevent Facebook going ahead with plans to tightly integrate its “family” of apps.

The signalling from regulators is clear: do not try to stop us breaking you up.

The ensuing battle will be fascinating. Do not expect Silicon Valley to roll over.

Digital sweatshop

It will also be a decade when the impact of running these enormous networks is placed under close scrutiny.

Recent investigations by The Verge have detailed the devastating impact that moderating harmful material has on the people unfortunate enough to have to do the job, for a pittance.

The “digital sweatshop” is here; it’s ugly, and we need to start coming to terms with what that means.

If I was to make an ultimate prediction, though, I’d say the defining tech story for the next five years will be the growing chasm between the West and China.

In technology terms, this could mean a literal separation of the internet, with the US and its allies eschewing Chinese-made networking tech on the grounds of national security.

That’s bad news for anyone who, like myself, still holds on to the optimism that the internet, at its purest, should make the world smaller – and safer.

Differing views on personal privacy are likely to lead to China stealing a march on the West when it comes to artificial intelligence, though that may be a price we’re willing to pay.

Or maybe not. We’ll see.

I’ll continue to write about these issues in my new role. But as for this corner of the web, I’m signing off.

I hope my work during this time has gone at least some way to dissecting what has been happening here. It has been an incredible privilege.

Climate emergency declaration ‘has not led to action in Wales’

Several months after declaring a “climate emergency”, the Welsh Government has been accused of continuing “business as usual”.

The Welsh assembly’s climate change committee claimed the declaration had not resulted in urgent action.

Committee chairman Mike Hedges AM said the announcement “could be seen as just words”.

The Welsh Government rejected the claims and said it had launched a series of new initiatives.

Environment Minister Lesley Griffiths declared a climate emergency in Wales in April 2019, saying she hoped it would “trigger a wave of action at home and internationally”.

But the committee said one of the Welsh Government’s decarbonisation plans – Prosperity for All: A Low Carbon Wales – mainly contained policies from long before the announcement was made.

The plan contained 100 policies and proposals for tackling climate change, but the committee raised concerns that 76 already existed across the government’s departments, and claimed ministers were not able to be specific about the cost of the proposals nor the extent to which they would reduce Wales’ greenhouse gas emissions.

It said it found it difficult to see how the Welsh Government could assess the impact or value for money of its decarbonisation policies.

The report also raised questions about ambitions for Wales to reach what is known as net-zero emissions by 2050 – not pumping out any more climate-warming gases than can be soaked back in through trees, peat or new technologies.

It noted government advisors at the UK Committee on Climate Change (CCC) took the view this was “not credible” for Wales and set a target for a 95% cut in emissions by 2050 instead.

Despite that, Ms Griffiths has said she wants to go further.

The committee called on her to publish new advice she has requested from CCC on reaching net-zero “as soon as possible”.

It said ministers needed to be “more upfront” about the fact almost 60% of Wales’ emissions come from areas that are beyond the Welsh Government’s control – including big power stations and heavy industry.

“This is not about avoiding accountability, but the opposite,” it said.

“The committee believes that the Welsh public should be able to understand more fully the Welsh Government’s successes and failures. It should also be able to hold the UK government to account for its performance in non-devolved areas.”

The report was written before the Welsh Government announced its draft budget for 2020-21, which included more than £140m of new capital funding for decarbonisation.

But it referenced calls from Wales’ Future Generations Commissioner Sophie Howe for far more – £991m – to be allocated to tackling climate change.

In giving evidence to the committee, Ms Griffiths described that figure as “completely unrealistic”.

A Welsh Government spokesman denied it was “business as usual”, adding they had launched new plans to “tackle the climate change emergency and address biodiversity loss”.

He said: “Our draft budget included £140m of new investment, including funding for transport measures, low-carbon housing, for important nature sites in Wales, a national forest and a national peatland restoration programme.”

He added they would look at the committee’s recommendations and hoped they would work with them to “bring forward new ideas on a cross-party basis”.

Education Authority relied on help from charity to repair solar panels

The Education Authority (EA) had to rely on financial help from an environmental charity to repair solar panels in 36 schools.

Action Renewables donated £15,000 to the authority for the maintenance work.

BBC News NI understands that was half of the total cost of £30,000 for the repairs.

In a statement, the EA said that it was grateful to the charity for the funding

Solar panels, also known as photovoltaic or PV systems, have been installed at more than 350 schools across Northern Ireland over the past decade.

They generate renewable energy from the sun, transferring it into electricity and reducing energy bills.

Many schools originally received some financial support from government to install the panels and they also earn money for the energy they produce.

They do that through a scheme called Renewable Obligation Certificates (ROCs), which pays them a set amount of money for the electricity they generate.

‘Immense financial strain’

However, solar panels were found to be not working or faulty and needing repair in 36 schools across Northern Ireland.

Action Renewables chief executive, Terry Waugh, said it had offered financial help to the EA to enable that to happen.

“Schools in Northern Ireland are currently under immense financial strain and given that, we are delighted to be able to provide funding towards PV systems repairs,” Mr Waugh said.

“The use of PV systems will provide a reliable energy source for schools, in turn enabling them to become more self-sufficient whilst improving the environment, which is one of our main aims as an organisation.

“These schools are set to see a great amount of return in terms of finance which will hopefully go a long way to helping the schools fund essential activities.”

Action Renewables estimates that now the solar panels are repaired they will generate a total return of £85,000 for the 36 schools involved in one year.

In a statement, the EA said that it had received funding from the charity “to assist with maintenance and repair of solar panels in a number of schools”.

“We are grateful for the funding provided from Action Renewables which allows us to generate electricity on these school sites and continue to reduce our carbon footprint,” it said.

Sir David Attenborough to make climate change plea in Edinburgh

The naturalist and broadcaster Sir David Attenborough is to travel to Edinburgh to make an impassioned plea for urgent action to protect biodiversity and fight climate change.

Sir David will address charity workers at Edinburgh University’s McEwan Hall on Wednesday 11 March.

He will be the guest of honour at the People’s Postcode Lottery annual charity gala in the capital.

Last year, George and Amal Clooney attended the event.

They received a Postcode Hero award in recognition of their work to protect human rights.

Clara Govier, managing director at the People’s Postcode Lottery, said: “Over the decades, Sir David has inspired generations of us to safeguard biodiversity and protect the planet.

“We are delighted he will be joining us in Edinburgh early next year, Sir David’s message is more important than ever.”

Waste: How will Wales end landfill and incinerator use by 2050?

Repair cafes, apps for selling clothes, and treatment facilities for hard-to-recycle items like nappies are some of the proposals in a new Welsh Government strategy on reducing waste.

The goal is to ensure no waste is sent to landfill or incinerators by 2050.

They are also considering a ban on disposable cups in sports stadiums.

Wales is already third in global league tables for household recycling and First Minister Mark Drakeford said it was now “the norm”.

“Over the next decade we need to go beyond recycling to make a circular economy a reality,” he said.

What does the government want to do about recycling?

Wales’ household recycling rate has grown from 5.2% in 1998-99 to 60.7% in 2018-19, well ahead of the rest of the UK.

The ambition is to reach 100% by 2050 – meaning no waste at all is sent to landfill or incinerators.

The Welsh Government said it would develop more plants that can treat materials which are currently not widely recycled – including mattresses and nappies.

Among its plans are to pay for this by bringing forward so-called “extended producer responsibility” rules – which make manufacturers more accountable for disposing of their products and packaging, and a deposit return scheme for drinks containers.

It also wants to make non-domestic premises separate recyclable materials for collection.

What about reducing waste?

Moving to a more “circular economy” – where resources are kept in use and not disposed of – means radically cutting down how much we throw away.

The Welsh Government wants to encourage the use of apps to collect surplus food or swap and sell clothes, and “repair cafes” where people can take products to be fixed.

It wants to halve avoidable food waste by 2025 and support the re-use and repair sectors to grow.

Public sector organisations will be forced to prioritise the use of re-used materials and “remanufactured” items – meaning rebuilt or restored – and will be asked to justify any purchases that are not recycled or recyclable. They will also be asked to donate valuable and useful surplus equipment.

House-building programmes supported by the Welsh Government will be asked to use only sustainable and low carbon materials in construction.

Stopping waste being exported overseas is also proposed.

How does it plan to reduce plastic use?

Ministers want Wales to become the first country to send no plastic to landfill.

It proposes phasing out single-use plastics with bans and restrictions on several products.

Biodegradable plastic from renewable sources will be used where it is still needed, for example in medical settings.

It also wants to increase the range of plastic material that can be recycled and develop more plants to process it.

What about burning waste?

Legislation banning key recyclable material from being sent to landfill or incinerators is proposed.

Ministers say they will also work with the UK government to explore the idea of an incinerator tax.

Waste incineration is hotly debated at the moment, with several campaigns against proposed plants across Wales.

Earlier this year, the chairs of both the assembly’s environment and health committees told BBC Wales they believed the government should ban them, over concerns about air pollution and carbon emissions.

A public consultation on the proposals will run until April, with events set to be held across Wales to seek people’s views. The final strategy will be published later next year.

Hannah Blythyn, deputy minister for housing and local government – in charge of recycling – said the Welsh Government wanted views on “any new ideas or aspects you feel are missing”.

She also announced an additional £6.5m for local authorities and other publicly funded bodies alongside the consultation.

What is the reaction?

Andrew RT Davies, Conservative shadow minister for environment and rural affairs, said of the goal for no waste to be sent to landfill or incinerators by 2050: “I think that’s what we’ve got to be chasing.”

He told BBC Radio Wales that climate change was happening “without a shadow of a doubt”.

“Why throw away something that has a use to it?” he added.

Ben Francis, Wales policy chair for the Federation of Small Businesses, said the debate on how to tackle environmental issues was “one of the most pressing issues of our time”.

He said its priority was “to help businesses look at ways to become more environmentally responsible, whilst pushing the Welsh Government to provide meaningful support for those businesses, whilst understanding the landscape in which they are operating”.

“We look forward to responding in detail to the consultation on a circular economy strategy over the next few months,” he added.

Olivia Knight, chair of trade body Sharing Economy UK, said it “supports the scale and ambition of the Welsh Government to achieve zero landfill within the next 30 years and to actively encourage more people to engage in the sharing economy”.

But she added: “If we genuinely want to enable people to share more and waste less then we need to see this ambition matched with support for businesses already operating in the sharing economy and those companies wanting to develop circular economy practices within their business model and supply chain.

“We need incentives and rewards for companies making the transition that we need to see.”

A spokeswoman for South Wales Chamber of Commerce said it has seen “a growing interest across the private sector and businesses in Wales in recycling and reduction of carbon footprint”.

She added: “Many procurement contracts in supply chains are now specifying that businesses need to demonstrate their move towards a more sustainable approach to business.”