The National Sustainability Summit, being held on the 23rd February in The Leopardstown Pavilion, Leopardstown Racecourse, will focus on the new opportunities for businesses and enterprising individuals arising from the Government’s recently published Climate Action Plan, which aims to achieve a cleaner, safer and more sustainable future for Ireland.
Embracing every relevant sector – electricity, enterprise, housing, heating, transport, agriculture, waste, and the public sector – the Climate Action Plan identifies how Ireland will achieve its 2030 targets for carbon emissions, and puts the country on a trajectory to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Adopting the same model as the Government’s Action Plan for Jobs, it sets out over 180 actions, together with hundreds of sub-actions that need to be taken.
For example, the Climate Action Plan aims to: move to 70% renewable electricity by 2030 – currently only 30% of our electricity comes from renewable sources; introduce 950,000 electric vehicles onto our roads and deliver a nationwide charging network; ban the sale of petrol/diesel cars from 2030; deliver reductions in greenhouse gas emissions in agriculture; and eliminate non-recyclable plastic while imposing higher fees on the production of materials which are difficult to recycle.
Other actions include: the delivery of an intensive programme of retrofitting to install 400,000 heat pumps in homes and businesses, replacing existing carbon-intensive heating systems; the establishment of a new Microgeneration Scheme, allowing homeowners to generate their own electricity and sell any excess back to the National Grid; a new Retrofit Plan to retrofit 500,000 homes, with large groups of houses being retrofitted by the same contractor to reduce costs, smart finance, and easy pay back methods; and the expansion of the network of cycling paths and ‘Park and Ride’ facilities to ease congestion.
Irish companies across all industrial and commercial sectors are looking to reduce their ecological footprints and are already pursuing sustainability strategies. Of course, the adoption of sustainability practices can also lead to improving operational efficiency by reducing costs, such as water and energy, and waste.