Irish businesses pledge to slash carbon emissions

A coalition of 43 big-name businesses including Tesco, Veolia and Vodafone have jointly pledged to "significantly" reduce the carbon emissions accounted for by their operations in Ireland.

Launched today (14 November), the commitments cover both Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. Scope 1 emissions are the greenhouse gases produced directly from sources that are owned and controlled by the company, such as boilers, furnaces and business fleets. Scope 2 emissions, meanwhile, cover “indirect” greenhouse gases from the purchase of non-renewable electricity.

The firms, which hail from the retail, manufacturing, agri-food, professional services, banks, transport and technology sectors, made the commitment through their membership to Business In The Community (BITC) Ireland at the network’s breakfast forum in Dublin.

Unveiling the pledges, BITC Ireland’s chief executive Tomás Sercovich claimed that the move marked the first time that Irish businesses have collectively made a specific commitment to reduce carbon.

The move was welcomed by Ireland’s communications, climate action and environment minister Richard Bruton, who commended participating companies for their “leadership and foresight”.

“The decisions we make now in tackling climate change will define the next century,” Bruton said.

“We need to dramatically step up our response to climate change. By leading the way, we can take advantage of the opportunities offered in a low carbon climate resilient economy. If we fall further behind, these opportunities may become more elusive or worse be completely lost.”

The 43 companies which made the low carbon pledge are: ABP Foods, AIB, Aldi, A&L Goodbody, An Post, Arup, AXA Insurance, Bank of Ireland, Boston Scientific, BT Ireland, Central Bank of Ireland, College Group, Dawn Meats, Deloitte, Diageo, ESB, EirGrid, Fujitsu, Gas Networks Ireland, Heat Merchants, Heineken Ireland, Hovione Ireland, Janssen, KBC Bank, KPMG, Lidl, Matheson, M&S, Musgrave, Permanent TSB, PM Group, PwC, Ricoh, SSE Ireland, Sodexo, Symantec, Tesco, Transdev, Ulster Bank, Veolia, Virgin Media Ireland, Vodafone and William Fry.

The level of carbon reduction required, as well as a completion rate for the goals, will vary between companies, BITC Ireland noted. 

Call to action

According to BITC Ireland’s Sercovich, the development of the new commitments was spurred by the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) landmark report on global warming.

Released last month, the report issued a stark warning that the global temperature increase will hit 1.5C by 2030, and 3-4C by the end of the century.

In order to prevent this temperature increase, which will significantly worsen the risks of drought, floods, extreme heat and poverty for hundreds of millions of people, the report concluded that the world would have to become carbon-neutral by 2047.

Business and policymakers have already moved to up their sustainability ambitions in the wake of the report, with the UK Government now seeking advice from the Committee on Climate Change on how best to bolster its carbon reduction targets and create a net-zero economy.

edie recently rounded up four key ways in which business can help spur the creation of a carbon-neutral world. You can read that article here.

Sarah George 

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