The SWITCH to a greener industry 

South Wales has an established history of industry connections. 

Two hundred years ago, Swansea – often referred to as Copperopolis – was the world’s leading copper-smelting area, smelting 90% of the worlds’ copper. With this came urban growth and large-scale pollution, affecting the South Wales region ever since. 

Following the First World War, steel became a key industry in the region, with Port Talbot steelworks one of the largest in Europe. Steel is now one of the most widely used materials in the world, essential to our construction, transport and manufacturing industries, and forms the building blocks of our national infrastructure. 

Today, these industries remain carbon-intensive, with 6% of global carbon emissions coming from the ironmaking process alone and the construction industry accounting for 34% of global energy demand. 

With the ambition of making decarbonisation South Wales’ next industry, SWITCH is bringing together the region’s innovators and researchers to develop tomorrow’s technologies to accelerate our transition towards net zero.  

Looking forward, Wales must concentrate on decarbonisation to achieve the net zero society that is needed. By bringing together academia, industry and government, we can improve processes, upskill the workforce, support industrial transformation and ultimately reduce carbon emissions in Wales.