CEOs of Ireland’s top companies have today launched The Leaders’ Group on Sustainability, a business coalition dedicated to addressing the most pressing sustainability priorities as well as future opportunities for Ireland.
Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), the national network for sustainability, has convened 26 leading companies, representing a workforce of over 90,000 people in Ireland, to work collaboratively to address social, environmental and economic priorities
Gas Networks Ireland is delighted to play a key role in the BITC Leaders’ Group on Sustainability. Working with other leading companies in Ireland we are collectively developing innovative and ambitious ideas and ways of working to support Ireland’s evolution to a low carbon economy. By collaborating together we can make real change happen.
Denis O’Sullivan, MD Gas Networks Ireland
One of the first actions announced by the Group is the Low Carbon Pledge – the first dedicated public commitment generated by Irish business to lead on the transition to a low carbon economy and reduce Scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions intensity by 50% by 2030.
The CEOs are calling on business leaders to make sustainability a central priority of their leadership and promote a low carbon vision across their operations, products and services to help Ireland achieve its international commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement.
The companies involved with the Leaders’ Group on Sustainability have all achieved BITCI’s Business Working Responsibly Mark, the NSAI audited standard for CSR and sustainability.
Tomas Sercovich, CEO of Business in the Community Ireland, said, "The imperative set by the Sustainable Development Goals demonstrates the scale of the challenges we face. Business will play a critical role in the achievement of these goals and this can only be done through collective action. The US$ 12 trillion economic opportunity of the low carbon and inclusive economy needs to be embraced by Irish businesses. We must adopt a long term and beyond 2030 view of our business models. We are delighted to convene this unique platform for change in corporate Ireland and we will seek to influence the business community as well as policy in key areas".
Gas Networks Ireland is committed to the Low Carbon Pledge. We believe that Natural Gas, Renewable Gas and Gas Networks Ireland have a major role to play in helping Ireland attain its emission targets and in underpinning Ireland’s energy security in our future low carbon economy.
Denis O’Sullivan, MD Gas Networks Ireland
In addition to addressing the transformation to a low carbon economy, The Leaders’ Group on Sustainability is also working together to remove barriers to social inclusion in Ireland by examining how Irish businesses can improve their processes and cultures to train, attract and retain marginalised and vulnerable people. The Group has also identified the need for businesses to adapt to emerging work practices that will transform Irish industry like the gig economy, contract work and automation to ensure those changes benefit employee, employer and society as a whole.
The Leaders’ Group on Sustainability meets regularly to discuss best practice and to review progress on its stated aims. UCD is the knowledge partner for the Group and will provide ongoing research support to help develop and refine the sustainability goals.
About the Leaders’ Group on Sustainability
The Leaders’ Group on Sustainability is represented by CEOs of Ireland’s top companies, from sectors including energy, telecoms, tech, finance, agriculture, transport, professional services, pharma, retail and food that have achieved the Business Working Responsibly Mark, the NSAI audited standard for CSR and sustainability. The Mark was created by Business in the Community Ireland, the network for sustainable and responsible business in Ireland. Members include Accenture, A&L Goodbody, Arup, Bank of Ireland, Boots, CRH, Dawn Meats, Deloitte, eir, EirGrid, ESB, Fujitsu, Gas Networks Ireland, Janssen, KBC Bank, M&S, Musgrave Group, Northern Trust, PM Group, PwC, SSE Ireland, Sodexo, Transdev, Ulster Bank, Veolia and Vodafone.
Key work priorities of the Group:
Launching the Low Carbon Pledge – the first dedicated pledge generated by Irish business to set industry standards on sustainability and reduce carbon usage. The Pledge is to reduce Scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions intensity by 50% by 2030. The Group will also share data on how to best manage their energy usage. The companies signed up to the Pledge so far are: A&L Goodbody, Arup, Bank of Ireland, Dawn Meats, Deloitte, EirGrid, ESB, Fujitsu, Gas Networks Ireland, Janssen, KBC Bank, M&S, Musgrave Group, PM Group, PwC, Ricoh, Sodexo, SSE Ireland, Ulster Bank, Veolia and Vodafone. A copy of the Pledge is available at www.bitc.ie
Removing barriers to social inclusion by examining how Irish businesses can improve their processes and cultures to train, attract and retain marginalised and vulnerable people. The Group is examining how businesses can improve their operations and cultures to attract and retain people from vulnerable groups e.g. socio-economic disadvantaged groups; those not in education, employment, or training; and people with disabilities.
Adapting to emerging work practices that will transform Irish industry like the gig economy, contract work and automation to ensure those changes benefit both employee and employer. The Group recognises that they have a responsibility to ensure workers of the future are not negatively impacted by the evolving nature of the economy where there is a growing emphasis on more flexible work practices.
About Business in the Community Ireland
Business in the Community Ireland is the country's only network for responsible business. We help companies measure, manage and report on their sustainability and corporate responsibility. In addition, we run the Business Working Responsibly Mark certification for responsible and sustainable business practices which is audited by the NSAI. We also work with hundreds of companies on leveraging the power of business to tackle education and unemployment in Ireland. https://www.bitc.ie/
"UCD and the UCD Centre for Business and Society (CeBaS) are delighted to be the knowledge partner with Business in the Community Ireland and their Leaders’ Groups. Addressing sustainability challenges demands a joined-up approach and is key to meeting the challenges faced by both businesses and societies. Our work at UCD CeBaS complements the work of the Leaders’ Group in really identifying how businesses, government, NGOs and community groups can bring their strengths and expertise to the biggest societal challenges and opportunities". Professor Tony Brabazon, Dean of UCD College of Business
"Our vision is for Ireland’s energy to be sustainable, secure, affordable and clean. To achieve this, we must use less energy, move to cleaner energy sources and innovate. We work with business to help them decarbonise and reduce their own energy usage, and also to help them to engage with the public through our community energy programmes. Any programme which helps generate momentum within business to address climate change is welcome, and we look forward to working with those who make the Low Carbon Pledge to help them meet their commitments". Jim Gannon, CEO, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI)
"I congratulate Business in the Community Ireland on the launch of its Leaders’ Group on Sustainability, which continues its collaborative approach to some of the biggest sustainability challenges and opportunities that exist for business today. The transition to the low carbon economy is unstoppable and will present an incredible opportunity for Irish Business over the coming years. For this reason, I especially welcome the Low Carbon Pledge and look forward to further sustainable action and ambition from Irish business." Peter Bakker, President & CEO, The World Business Council on Sustainable Development (WBCSD)
"I congratulate Business in the Community Ireland and its members on this impressive step forward for sustainability. True Sustainability Leaders understand that if you want to overcome social, environmental and economic challenges on the ground, you need to collaborate with others to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Such a leadership does not try to dominate the sustainability story in a sector, but provides opportunities, impulses and good examples with peers to make real impact." Stefan Crets, Executive Director CSR Europe.