On 18th September, The Irish Corporate Leaders on Climate Change presented its report – “Unlocking Opportunity: the business case for climate action in Ireland” to An Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Ms. Joan Burton TD. The Report identifies up to 90,000 new jobs that would be created by clear climate action by Irish business and Government. These gains are underpinned by significant innovation and skills development, the opening up of new market opportunities and operational and commercial benefits for Irish business. Accepting the Report, An Tánaiste and Minister for Social Protection, Ms. Joan Burton, said:
“We welcome this report and the initiative taken by these leaders in business to influence positive change. It is clear to me that private organisations and public sector institutions need to work together to confront this global challenge.”
The Irish Corporate Leaders’ Report sets out a seven-pillar framework for climate change actions and assesses the types and significance of opportunities for business in the period to 2050. This framework addresses key aspects of the economy including the power supply system, transport, renewable energy, construction, finance and agriculture. The key benefits evaluated in the Report include new job creation, competitiveness gains and exports, efficiency and productivity gains, innovation, supply chain development, energy security, health benefits, reductions in fuel poverty and greater regional development.
In presenting the Report to An Tánaiste of behalf of the Irish Corporate Leaders, David Smith of Diageo Ireland said:
“Irish business can take considered and positive actions to decarbonise their own operations and the Irish economy. These actions will open up markets that bring significant benefits to Ireland in exports, jobs, competitiveness and innovation. However, to grasp these opportunities, particularly in exporting Irish skills and services, businesses must first decarbonise at home. This is the essential pre-requisite that many Irish businesses already understand.”
The Irish Corporate Leaders’ Report includes case studies of some of the low carbon actions that are already being taken by Irish business and members of the group.
The Report follows publication the publication of the New Climate Economy Report prepared by a global commission which demonstrates that action on climate change is entirely compatible with economic growth and that economic benefits outweigh the costs and was in advance of the meeting of global leaders at the UN Climate Summit in New York which An Taoiseach, Enda Kenny TD, attended.
Ireland’s new Climate Change Bill is expected to be brought before the Oireachtas before December.
The Irish Corporate Leaders on Climate Change brings together business leaders from a broad cross-section of Irish-based businesses to trigger a step-change in policy and action needed both to meet the scale of the threat posed by climate change, and to grasp the business opportunities created by moving to a low climate risk economy.
The current members of the Irish Corporate Leaders on Climate Change are Bord Gáis, Bord Na Móna, Diageo, NTR, Siemens, Sodexo and Vodafone. The secretariat of The Irish Corporate Leaders on Climate Change is hosted by Business in the Community Ireland.