Firms need to drive green agenda

The business community needs to play a bigger role in driving the sustainable development agenda forward.

That was the message that was made loud and clear at a Chambers Ireland event on Friday (8 November) that was attended by former President of Ireland Mary Robinson.

At the event Robinson called for more urgent action in the transformation of Ireland into a sustainable competitive low carbon economy.

“Words alone will not be enough. We must hold people to account to drive those actions and their implementation. The ability of our economy and our country to compete and thrive into the future is dependent on it”

As the official sponsor and host of the event, Gavin Kelly CEO Retail Ireland Bank of Ireland said: “Conducting our business in a responsible and sustainable way is fundamental to enabling our customers, colleagues and communities to thrive.

“Our research shows that Irish people are increasingly concerned about environmental issues impacting their lives and believe that banks need to do more.  Customers want practical ways to help them make greener decisions and earlier this year we launched a suite of green loans and interest rates to encourage and reward homeowners and businesses to be more energy efficient.

“We have also made strides in transforming our own operations and reducing our property and carbon footprint. By signing the United Nations Principles for Responsible Banking our path towards greater sustainability is clearly defined, and we are proud to be making progress against these goals.”

Building a  sustainable Ireland

Chambers Ireland chief executive Ian Talbot said that over the past two years its members have been working to identify ways to collaborate to play their part in building a sustainable Ireland.

“This dialogue has culminated in our Network collectively pledging to support and advocate for the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. This pledge, however, is just a first step.

“As Chambers of commerce, working towards the goal of decent work and economic growth comes naturally to us. But as a Network, we must go much further. Business organisations like ourselves must speak with a much louder and clearer voice on the actions we will need to take to address climate change, achieve gender equality and build more sustainable cities and communities.

“But words alone will not be enough. We must hold people to account to drive those actions and their implementation. The ability of our economy and our country to compete and thrive into the future is dependent on it.”

Talbot said that the address to Chambers’ network calling for action on sustainability by former President Mary Robinson is therefore timely.

“Her work in advancing human rights and climate justice is an inspiration and her leadership on these issues is unparalleled. We are honoured that she has chosen to meet with our Network, and we look forward to hearing from her on how the business community can play a much bigger role in driving the sustainable development agenda forward.”

Pictured (above) at the Chambers Ireland event were (from left): CEO Retail Ireland at Bank of Ireland Gavin Kelly; former President of Ireland Mary Robinson; and Chambers Ireland CEO Ian Talbot.

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Written by John Kennedy (john.kennedy3@boi.com)

Published: 11 November, 2019