A new learning network was launched today which will harness the creativity, dynamism and expertise of 40 young company executives who are driving Ireland’s innovation in the sustainability sector.
The 40 under 40 Irish Sustainability Leaders Network will bring 40 young innovators – all under the age of 40 – from across Irish industry who are charged with driving their companies’ sustainability agendas.
The goal of the network is to create an innovative think-tank where these young leaders can share best practice and build skills in support of their leadership development. The group of 40 leaders will consider corporate sustainability challenges, explore new solutions and share their expertise with one another.
The network will be limited to 40 Irish-based finance, enterprise and policy leaders, with each member nominated by their company’s CEO.
Launching the initiative today, International Sustainability & Investment Centre (ISI Centre) international ambassador Pat Cox said: “The corporate sector has a significant role to play in reaching climate goals. The ‘40 under 40’ can play an important role in helping Ireland achieve these goals.”
“However, it will be more than just a network. We are building a community that shares a common vision; a community that is committed to action and innovation as its members integrate environmental and social sustainability objectives with financial goals,” said Mr Cox.
The initiative was launched by the ISI Centre’s Sustainability Skillnet and will be chaired by Ray O’Neill, the recently appointed Head of Sustainable Business, AIB.
Mr O’Neill said: “I am honoured to chair this group of like-minded thinkers under 40. We believe that better environmental performance can help companies achieve a competitive advantage through greater resource efficiency; greater market share through enhanced credentials; access to customers who are increasingly demanding environmentally friendly products and services as well as access to investors and capital markets which are adopting responsible investment principles and indicators.”
Backed by government funds, the Sustainability Skillnet supports companies throughout Ireland with the knowledge and expertise that they require to achieve Ireland’s part in controlling global warming.
The critical necessity to control global warming to below 2 degrees has become a priority discussion across governments, companies, investors and regions. The recent world talks at the Paris Climate Summit – COP21 – saw the first universal climate agreement reached in 20 years.
As natural resources get scarcer and companies are under pressure from regulators and consumers to be more responsible, sustainability is a trigger for innovation and investment.
The companies that understand present and future trends in this area are becoming more competitive and are being rewarded in the marketplace by consumers. Ireland has positioned itself at the vanguard of the response to these trends.
Tracey Donnery, Senior Programme Support Manager at Skillnets said: “The green economy is a high-priority sector in our strategic plan. With companies leading and driving a range of new initiatives this year through the Sustainability Skillnet, we believe that our combined expertise across Ireland can set an example for other countries”.