Last week, Business in the Community Ireland was delighted to take part in two government-led forums that will drive Ireland’s ambition on sustainable development.
We were delighted to take part in the inaugural meeting of the Business and Human Rights Implementation Group, an initiative championed by An Tánaiste, Simon Coveney TD and chaired by Breege O’Donoghue. The Department of Foreign Affairs will be the lead on this vision for Ireland to develop a robust mechanism to ensure the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. It was exciting to see representation in this group from across most government departments and agencies like IDA and Enterprise Ireland, as well as the business, trade union and NGO community. A Irish businesses become more complex and global, human rights issues will need to become central to management systems. Awareness will be critical to engage all businesses.
On 18th January we were invited by the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment to take part in the High Level Consultation Forum for the development of an All Government Plan for Climate Disruption. I was enthused by the wide representation of stakeholder views, including several BITCI members like such as Calor, Eirgrid, ESB or Musgrave as well as a wide government and Houses of the Oireachtas presence.
We were very happy to hear that our Low Carbon Pledge, where 45 BITCI member companies have committed to carbon emission reductions, was referred to as a model of best practice. It is very positive to see the level of interest of business on climate change. This is a huge challenge for Ireland and Minister Richard Bruton TD has set a clear vision and reminded us of David Attenborough’s emotional appeal at COP 24 in Poland last December.
The sense of urgency should make us act clearly and make Ireland as leader and not a laggard on climate change.