SSE Ireland Managing Director Stephen Wheeler joined leaders from other top Irish businesses today to launch the Leaders’ Group on Sustainability, a new coalition dedicated to addressing sustainability priorities and opportunities for Ireland.
The Group of 26 business leaders, representing a workforce of over 90,000 people from a diverse range of sectors, has been convened by Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), the national network for sustainability.
The companies represented have all achieved BITCI’s Business Working Responsibly Mark, the NSAI audited standard for corporate social responsibility and sustainability. SSE Ireland was certified to the Mark in November 2017.
The Leaders’ Group is calling on Irish companies to make sustainability a central priority and promote a low-carbon vision across their operations, products and services, to help Ireland achieve its international commitments under the Paris Climate Agreement.
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 by reducing Scope 1 & 2 carbon emissions intensity by 50% by 2030.
In addition to addressing the transformation to a low-carbon economy, the Leaders’ Group will work together to remove barriers to social inclusion in Ireland by examining how 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 the changes benefit employees, employers, and society as a whole.
Stephen Wheeler, Managing Director of SSE Ireland, said:
“I’m delighted to be representing SSE Ireland at the Leaders’ Group on Sustainability, teaming up with other forward-thinking companies to promote sustainable business practices and address crucial challenges and opportunities for our economy, environment and society.
“At SSE Ireland, sustainability is one of our core values, informing all of the decisions and actions we take as a business. And as Ireland’s largest generator of renewable energy, we’re absolutely committed to driving the transition to a low-carbon economy. I think this latest initiative from Business in the Community Ireland is a great opportunity to work with like-minded organisations, and I’m looking forward to meeting up regularly to share knowledge and best practice, and make progress on our collective ambitions.”
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.”
The Leaders’ Group on Sustainability will meet regularly to discuss best practice and to review progress on its stated aims. UCD, as the knowledge partner for the Group, will provide ongoing research support to help develop and refine its goals.