As the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition celebrates 60 years of scientific and technological innovation the need to focus on sustainability and our impact on the environment is more important than ever before.
The Executive Leaders Forum at the exhibition, organised by BT Ireland in association with Business in the Community Ireland, allowed 80 senior business leaders from a wide range of businesses to take time out of their diaries to explore the topic of sustainability and how to deliver truly sustainable businesses. Sinéad Patton, Chief Financial and Commercial Officer, Veolia Ireland, was a member of the panel on Net Positive Leadership along with Klair Neenan, MD, SSE Airtricity and Andy McLean, VP of Comms and Cloud, Analog Devices. The panel discussed the macroeconomic challenges and the struggle for company boards to prioritise and drive an ambitious sustainability strategy while remaining profitable.
Sinéad highlighted that recent global research carried out by Veolia clearly shows that the majority of respondents are prepared to accept change in order to achieve a more sustainable world as long as that change reduces pollution and the impact of climate change. Also, the majority of people are convinced the cost of inaction is much greater than the cost of action.
Collaboration in action
In order to deliver the change required, Sinead pointed out that companies have to view investment through a multifaceted lens and look at the impact on all stakeholders. No company can do this on its own so collaboration is critical. This was a key message we heard at our own Ecological Transformation Stakeholder Forum, which we held in September 2023.
The panel discussion, and the Executive Leaders Forum as a whole, resulted in a very stimulating conversation. There was a clear message from all of the different panellists that increased collaboration is needed to implement at scale the solutions that exist and create the new solutions needed. The time for action is now!
At the official opening of the Exhibition, President Michael D. Higgins wished the best of luck to the 1100 students and 550 projects representing 30 counties in the RDS this week.