18 May 2018: Business in the Community Ireland, a Global Network partner of WBCSD, has 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.

The Leaders’ Group on Sustainability is represented by CEOs of Ireland’s top companies, from sectors including energy, telecoms, tech, finance, transport, professional services, pharma, agriculture, retail and food.

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 and 2 carbon emissions intensity by 50% by 2030. This refers to emissions directly from sources that are controlled by the companies, for example from vehicles owned by the companies, as well as all emissions generated from purchased electricity. The Group will also share data on how to best manage their energy usage.

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.

Peter Bakker, President and CEO of WBCSD, said, “I congratulate Business in the Community Ireland on the launch of its Leaders’ Group on Sustainability, which continues its collaborative approach to some of the biggest sustainability challenges and opportunities that exist for business today. The transition to the low carbon economy is unstoppable and will present an incredible opportunity for Irish business over the coming years. For this reason, I especially welcome the Low Carbon Pledge and look forward to further sustainable action and ambition from Irish business.” 

Tomás Sercovich, CEO of Business in the Community Ireland, said, “The global Business and Sustainable Development Commission has identified US$12 trillion in economic opportunity for the low carbon and inclusive economy and this needs to be embraced by Irish businesses. We must adopt a long-term view of our business models to achieve this. We are delighted to convene this unique platform for change in corporate Ireland where we will seek to influence the business community and policy”.

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.