In a ground-breaking move today, over 40 of the country’s leading companies have made a dedicated pledge to significantly reduce their carbon emissions.
The companies, drawn from many sectors of business and industry, are to cut their carbon emissions between now and 2030. The pledge was made today at a summit organised by the Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), the national network for sustainability.
The 43 companies include retail, manufacturing, agri-food, professional services, banks, transport and ICT.
Welcoming the move, Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Richard Bruton T.D said, “The decisions we make now in tackling climate change will define the next century. I’d like to commend the 43 companies taking part in this pledge, for their leadership and foresight. We need to dramatically step up our response to climate change. By leading the way, we can take advantage of the opportunities offered in a low carbon climate resilient economy. If we fall further behind, these opportunities may become more elusive or worse be completely lost. All companies making the pledge today are leading the way and I congratulate Business in the Community Ireland for their work in this crucial area.”
Business in the Community Ireland CEO Tomás Sercovich said: “This is the first time that Irish businesses have made a dedicated pledge to reduce carbon emissions. According to the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report, we have just 12 years to make a fundamental transformation to a low carbon economy so business has a vital role to play.”
Under the terms of the low carbon pledge the companies commit to reduce both Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emission intensity. Scope 1 emissions are the greenhouse gases produced directly from sources that are owned and controlled by the company, such as fuels used in vehicles, boilers and furnaces. Scope 2 emissions relate to indirect greenhouse gases from purchase of electricity.
Speaking at the pledge launch during the BITCI Breakfast Forum in Dublin today, Mr Sercovich said: “We work in partnership with business and industry to help them address climate change and play lead roles in their communities. The transition to a low carbon economy will also bring opportunities for business and will play a key role in ensuring Ireland’s future competitiveness.”
“We also believe that chief executives and business leaders must be proactive in today’s world in leading from the front in tackling the major issues facing our communities, our country and our planet. Inspired leadership is what employees and consumers throughout Ireland are increasingly demanding,” he added.
Over 180 business leaders were represented at the pledge launch in the Mansion House which was a feature of BITCI’s 11th annual CEO Breakfast Forum, “The CEO as Activist.”
Also at the event four new companies achieved the Business Working Responsibly mark, the only independently audited standard for sustainability with a further seven being recertified to the standard. The four new companies are BT Ireland, The Central Bank of Ireland, HEINEKEN Ireland and Hovione Ireland. The recertifying companies are Boots Retail (Ireland) Ltd., CRH Ireland, Deloitte Ireland LLP, ESB, Gas Networks Ireland, Intel Ireland and KBC Bank Ireland. 33 companies in Ireland now have achieved the Mark which is audited by the NSAI and based on ISO 26000.
Speakers at the CEO forum included Paul Farrell, IBM Ireland; Mark Foley, EirGrid; JP Scally, Lidl Ireland, Margot Slattery, Sodexo Ireland and Northern Ireland and Pat O’Doherty, ESB. The speakers focused on how employers and consumers are increasingly asking companies to take stands on social and environmental issues.