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Ireland’s business community is leading the way on climate change – there is no other choice

Ireland’s business community is forging ahead with innovations and actions in the area of climate change because it makes good business sense.

Those who ignore the sustainability agenda will simply be left behind, according to Sustainable Nation Ireland the body that promotes Ireland as a hub for sustainable investment and business.

Responding to a new Climate Change Index which shows Ireland has slipped to 49th out of 56 ranked countries, Sustainable Nation CEO Stephen Nolan today said that while more needs to be achieved, the Irish business community is playing a key role.

“Businesses must, and will lead on climate change because quite simply it’s the only direction of travel,” said Nolan. “While it must be acknowledged that more needs to be done, from a business perspective, this is a key priority and the necessary changes are well underway.

“Embracing the sustainability agenda is not only good business, it’s the responsible thing to do. Irish businesses – from the smallest startup, to SMEs and corporates, are heavily invested in helping to reach our climate change targets.”

Sustainable Nation is a not-for-profit, working with both the public and private sectors. Its purpose is to stimulate greater investment into smart innovations, new enterprises and sustainable business practices.

It is a platform for those working right across the low-carbon sector and capital markets to come together, understand each other – and ultimately do business together at a local and global level.

The body recently hosted a Dublin talk by Canadian Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna, who is pressing for a complete phasing out of the production of fossil fuels such as coal.

Leading Irish companies engaged with Sustainable Nation programmes include Kingspan, AIB, Mainstream Renewable Power plc and KPMG.

Recent positive developments from an Irish business perspective include:

  • Dublin’s IFSC in October joined a UN-supported initiative called the ‘Casablanca Declaration’ which has created a cluster of green finance hubs that actively seek green investment opportunities. Over €28 billion in green financial activities including €11 billion in green bonds listed on the Irish Stock Exchange, is managed from, domiciled or listed in Ireland.
  • Microsoft has signed a 15-year power purchase agreement (PPA) with GE to purchase 100 percent of the wind energy from a 37-megawatt wind farm in County Kerry.
  • Kingspan has been named for the third year in a row on The Climate ‘A List’ by CDP, the international not-for-profit that measures the environmental impact of thousands of companies around the world. Kingspan is one of only two Irish companies to make the list of 112 companies, which includes Unilever, Microsoft, and Toyota.
  • Three Irish cleantech companies were finalists in the EU’s recent marquee business competition Climatelaunchpad that promotes ideas and innovations to tackle climate change. They were SizeU, NuWardrobe and AquaRoot.
  • Tallaght-based HubControls was named in the global top 3 cleantech companies at a ceremony in London, organised by the Global Cleantech Cluster Association (GCCA).

On Monday, Sustainable Nation Ireland will host its annual Chairman’s Dinner at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham. With 170 guests in attendance, this year’s dinner celebrates Irish sustainability sector leadership across policy, finance and enterprise and lays out the programme for 2018 as the Year of Sustainable Business.

Image: Eoin Matthews and Paddy Healy, Size/U, Aisling Byrne, Nu Wardrobe, and Vincent Farrelly, AquaRoot.

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