Speaking at IEMA Connect 2022, the Future Generations Commissioner for Wales has called for Universal Basic Income (UBI) to be implemented in a speech which focused on how to improve the life chances for young people.


Connect is IEMA’s annual online conference for members to come together and discuss the latest developments in the environment and sustainability sector. With action on the climate, biodiversity, and cost of living crises becoming more urgent, there is plenty to talk through.

The commissioner, Sophie Howe, described her role as “a guardian of the interests of the future generations of Wales” and said others had called her “the world’s first minister for the unborn”, despite not being a politician.

She explored how the “existential threat” of the climate emergency affects the life chances of future generations and other obstacles to people’s ability to live good lives.

Sophie Howe, Future Generations Commissioner for Wales, after explaining the impact of poverty on people in Wales, said:

“I am an advocate of a universal basic income. It costs a lot of money, but do you know what, tackling the consequences of poverty costs an awful lot more.”


Universal Basic Income is a policy idea that campaigners have been calling for, for decades and has been adopted as a policy by many opposition parties. Forms of UBI have been adopted in places like Alaska where everyone gets a cut of state oil and gas profits. In 2020, Pope Francis said, “This may be the time to consider a universal basic wage” in response to the social and economic impacts of the coronavirus pandemic.

IEMA members can catch up on the Connect session here.

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Tom Pashby

Digital Journalist, IEMA

Tom Pashby is a Digital Journalist at IEMA, working alongside the Head of Media Abigail Simmons, and the Senior Media Officer Tim Farmer.

Alongside their work for IEMA, Tom is currently studying part-time for an NCTJ Diploma in Journalism with PA Training, and freelances as a writer and editor. They have written about the climate emergency, LGBTQIA+ rights and the UK constitution for publications including the Times, the i newspaper, Metro, PinkNews and the Ecologist.