EirGrid and other leading companies come together to address key sustainability challenges for Ireland

18 May 2018

  • Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) launches Leaders’ Group on Sustainability
  • CEOs sign up to Low Carbon Pledge to reduce carbon emissions intensity by 50% by 2030

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 in 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.

One of the first actions announced by the Group is the Low Carbon Pledge – the first 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.

EirGrid, operator of the national electricity transmission grid in Ireland, led the sub-group that devised the Low Carbon Pledge and has played a key role in the development of the pledge’s concept and format.

As Aidan Skelly, EirGrid CEO explains: “As business leaders, we have a responsibility to rise to the climate challenge and be accountable for our actions. The launch of the Low Carbon Pledge is an important first step for the Group. We understand that business has a role to play in supporting not only our own ambitions to reduce our carbon emissions, but also those in the communities that we operate in. EirGrid also facilitates the integration of increased levels of renewable energy generation on the Irish electricity grid.”

EirGrid and the rest of the Leaders’ Group 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. This will 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”.

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. These companies have all 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 EirGrid, Accenture, A&L Goodbody, Arup, Bank of Ireland, Boots, CRH, Dawn Meats, Deloitte, eir, 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.

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. Scope 1 emissions are also referred to as Direct Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, and are defined as emissions from sources that are owned or controlled by the organization. Scope 2 emissions are also known as Energy Indirect GHG and are defined as emissions from the consumption of purchased electricity, steam, or other sources of energy generated upstream from the organization. The Group will also share data on how to best manage their energy usage. The companies signed up to the Pledge so far are: EirGrid, A&L Goodbody, Arup, Bank of Ireland, Dawn Meats, Deloitte, 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.

About Business in the Community Ireland

Business in the Community Ireland is the country's only network for responsible business. It helps companies measure, manage and report on their sustainability and corporate responsibility. In addition, it runs the Business Working Responsibly Mark certification for responsible and sustainable business practices which is audited by the NSAI. It also works with hundreds of companies on leveraging the power of business to tackle education and unemployment in Ireland.