ESB – Building on the achievements of our first sustainability programme


Company Description:

Ireland’s leading Energy Provider.


Business Issue:

The delivery of our First Sustainability Programme, 2008-2012, engaged a wide range of staff in the process of embedding sustainable practices at the heart of how we do business in ESB.  Staff took the initiative in identifying and implementing new, more sustainable and resource efficient ways of working.

This energy and commitment meant that the targets we set ourselves in 2008 – of reducing ESB’s internal and external carbon footprint by 30% have been achieved and exceeded, along with other great progress made in relation to water management and waste recycling.

In 2012 & 2013 we looked at how to follow the achievements of our first programme, building on the levels of engagement and success first time round.


Solution Applied:

Our new Sustainability Strategy, launched by Chief Executive, Pat O’Doherty, on 30 September, 2013.  The strategy moves us on to the next part of our sustainability journey, namely embedding sustainability in all aspects of our business.

ESB is focusing on the responsible management of scarce resources.  The new strategy has been developed in conjunction with staff throughout the company, through workshops with champions, staff and management and builds on the work since 2008 to ensure that all areas where sustainability adds value to the business have been identified and incorporated.

The new strategy addresses all aspects of sustainability and corporate responsibility under five priority headings:

  1. Lead the development of Smart Networks and facilitate the integration of renewable generation into our distribution networks.
  2. Build a low carbon generation and supply business of scale, as we move to a low carbon economy.
  3. Engage our employees to enhance performance, and our customers, suppliers and the community as part of our broader responsibilities to society.
  4. Improve business processes, deliver cost savings and use our resources in a cost efficient matter
  5. Develop new low-carbon business opportunities as a source of competitive advantage towards 2050.


Company Benefits:

The new strategy is firmly linked to the company’s corporate strategy and seeks to support its achievement.  According to Colm deBurca, ESB Safety and Sustainability Structure, “Our objectives have been developed to provide the best impact and prioritise the most pressing economic, environmental and corporate responsibility issues facing ESB and all energy stakeholders.”


Stakeholder Benefits:

By looking for open and honest feedback from staff on their experience of being involved in the development and delivery of the first strategy, we were able to ensure that our new programme is relevant and impactful.  Sustainable working and innovation must be firmly at the heart of how we operate and we need the support of all our staff.

It’s also a subject in which our staff are engaged and well-informed, in many cases leading our debates and decisions.


Further Information:

Kristin Quinn, Corporate Responsibility Manager.  Email: