​Veolia 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 Scope 1 & 2 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 as well as future opportunities for 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 dedicated 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.

The CEOs 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 to 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.

We will seek to make employability equal for all, helping individuals affected by social inequality
Sinead Patton, Chief Finance and Commercial Officer, Veolia 

Sinead Patton, Chief Finance and Commercial Officer at Veolia and lead for the Social Cohesion sub-group, said, “We will seek to make employability equal for all, helping individuals affected by social inequality, and providing the leadership required to encourage other companies to follow suit. Our approach reflects a belief that a good working society is beneficial both for social cohesion and for business.”

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.