The Race Is On

The Race Is On

The Race Is On

Over the last 18 months there has been a massive acceleration in the pace of change on the sustainability agenda across governments, businesses and the financial sector. This last month in particular, it’s felt as if someone pressed the turbo-boost button and put things into overdrive.

Take the following few days as a snapshot:

  • 15 April: the Irish government launched a €10 million Climate Enterprise Action Fund for businesses and a Circular Economy Innovation Grant Scheme to support circular economy projects;
  • 20 Aprilthe UK government announced a target to reduce its emissions by 78% by 2035, including emissions from international shipping and aviation (which had been omitted from previous targets);
  • 21 April: the EU unveiled the first batch of rules under its new Sustainable Finance Taxonomy, which could divert hundreds of billions of euros into economic activities that align with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to 1.5°C;
  • 22 April: at his virtual Climate Summit on Earth Day, President Joe Biden pledged to slash US emissions by 50% by the end of this decade.

The great reset our society needs demands this rapid pace of change. So while it would be nice to pause and take a rest, we’ve got to maintain top speed. We were late getting out of the starting blocks but finally momentum is building driven by more decisive policy, more committed businesses, and more concerned and activated citizens.

This is a race that is only going to get faster. So take a deep breath and GO!

Quote of the Month

Our April Top 5

  • Transformation of Moneypoint: the ESB confirmed that it is turning the old coal burning Moneypoint power station in Co. Clare into a green energy hub, creating 600 new jobs in the process. An exciting and symbolic moment in Ireland’s clean energy transition. (RTE)
  • Carbon Tracker report: a new report from Carbon Tracker shows that solar and wind energy could power the world 100 times over, unlocking huge benefits for society, with poorer countries being the greatest beneficiaries. (Carbon tracker)
  • Patagonia’s quest for circularity: a fascinating article by leading sustainable brand Patagonia about their quest to become a circular business. It gives a detailed account of the journey they’ve been on including failures, successes and valuable lessons learnt. (
  • Toms abandons 1 for 1 model: Toms shoes, famous for its charitable one-for-one business model is abandoning the model in favour of a new approach to giving back, driven by consumer insights into Millenials and Gen Z. There are good lessons here about knowing when to pivot and the importance of staying close to what your customers care about. (Glossy)
  • Timelapse feature in Google Earth: in case you missed it, we had to include this – an incredible visualisation of humanity’s impact on the Earth through a global time-lapse video of the planet since 1984. (Youtube)

Client Spotlight: Clúid Housing

As the largest Associated Housing Body in Ireland, Clúid Housing sees first hand the impact that fuel poverty has on thousands of Irish families every day. They recently launched an amazing new project with EnergyCloud– a not-for-profit supported by key players from across Ireland’s energy sector.

The first phase of the project will see surplus renewable energy from the grid – energy that up until now has gone to waste – being used to heat hot water in 50 homes. Clúid plans to expand the project all 8,300 of its homes, helping to reduce fuel poverty for more than 21,600 residents. A brilliant example of partnership and technology creating social and environmental good.


UK Better Business Act

Launched in 2020, the UK Better Business Act campaign calls for the creation of a clearer legal framework that would allow directors to align the running of their business with the long-term needs of stakeholders. The proposed amendment to Section 172 of the Companies Act would legally oblige companies to operate in a manner that benefits all stakeholders, including workers, customers, communities and the environment, while seeking to deliver profits for shareholders.

On 14 April, a cross-section of British businesses including John Lewis, Iceland, and Brewdog, together with campaign organisers B Lab UK (the group behind the B Corp certification scheme) presented their proposal to parliament. We’ll be watching with interest to see how this goes. For more information on the campaign click here.


Creating Places for People

This free toolkit from the Royal Institute of the Architects of Ireland highlights ways that we can improve the quality of our local areas to make them vibrant, attractive, sustainable and inclusive places to live. With the Covid-19 pandemic giving us all a greater appreciation of our local neighbourhood, it’s a timely publication and there are fabulous case studies featuring places around Ireland that have excelled in cultivating health and wellbeing, sustainable living, and connectivity and interaction.

Climate Action Plan and Circular Economy Strategy Consultations

A reminder that the consultation on Ireland’s 2021 Climate Action Plan is open until 18 May and the government is calling on individuals and organisations to input their views via a national Climate Conversation. See details here.

The Department of the Environment, Climate and Communications has also just launched its public consultation on Ireland’s draft circular economy strategy. Have your say here until 11th June 2021.

Last but not least, the Department recently announced its Circular Economy Innovation Grants Scheme (CEIGS), targeted at social enterprises, voluntary and community organisations and small/medium businesses. €250K in total is up for grabs, with a limit of €50k maximum per call. Apply here.


What We’re Listening To

An Taisce’s Climate Ambassador Podcast takes a fresh look at climate change, incorporating learnings from the organisations Climate Ambassador Programme, which trains and supports individuals taking action on climate change. Podcast host Gary Tyrell chats to a wide range of guests, including friends of SW Dave Robbins on climate change in the media and Ali Sheridan on sustainable business. There’s something for everyone, and we love their tagline: listen, learn and get involved.

Can the US Win Back it’s Climate Credibility? This thought-provoking episode from the NY Times Daily reflects on Biden’s climate summit and the reaction from other nations to the US President’s call for action.

Sustainability Jobs

Sustainability recruitment is certainly picking up pace – look at all these jobs!

  • Sustainability and Responsibility Manager – Irish Distillers
  • Senior Investment Manager – Climate – NTMA 
  • Global Commercial Sustainability Manager – GSK
  • Financial Accountant – Fincovi
  • Senior Consultant/ Assistant Manager – Climate Change and Sustainability Services – EY
  • Senior Scientific Officer, Circular Economy and Sustainability – EPA
  • Head of Sustainability – large corporate, via recruiters Morgan McKinley
  • Senior Research Engineer – Integrated Energy Services Team Lead – IERC 
  • Energy and Sustainability Consultant – Savills