61 companies in Ireland commit to emissions reduction targets

24 Mar 2021

Image: © bravajulia/Stock.adobe.com

Businesses including Accenture, EirGrid and Janssen have signed up to a new Low Carbon Pledge.

More than 60 companies in different industries across Ireland have pledged to set science-based carbon emission reduction targets in the coming years.

They are the first signatories of a new Low Carbon Pledge from non-profit national network Business in the Community Ireland.

An initial Low Carbon Pledge was created in 2018 with the aim of helping member companies commit to cutting their carbon footprints and encouraging them to report annually on their progress.

The new pledge now calls on businesses to set carbon emission reduction targets no later than 2024, based on the scientific aims to limit global heating to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.

There are 61 signatories so far, including Accenture, Arup, BT Ireland, Cisco, EirGrid, AbbVie, Janssen, PwC, RTÉ, Three Ireland, Irish Water, Verizon and William Fry.

These companies will commit to recording their entire carbon footprint, both direct and indirect; reducing direct emissions and reducing emissions across their supply chains; publicly reporting their progress annually; and reviewing their carbon reduction targets to align to the latest climate science.

Minister for Climate Action and Environment Eamon Ryan, TD, said the initiative will bring together companies from different sectors and at different “levels of maturity on their decarbonisation journey”.

“A low-carbon economy is imperative for our post-pandemic recovery as it will support our long-term competitiveness, job creation and social cohesion,” he added.

Using a collective voice

News of the Low Carbon Pledge comes a day after the Irish Government approved a revised Climate Action Bill, which includes binding targets on reducing carbon emissions in the country.

It says Ireland will commit to “pursue and achieve” carbon neutrality by 2050 at the latest and will seek a 51pc reduction in emissions over the next decade on a baseline of 2018.

Tomás Sercovich, CEO of Business in the Community Ireland, said the role of businesses in helping to reach this national target is “vital”.

“Investors, regulators, consumers, suppliers and employees expect business to lead the net zero vision we all aspire. Transparency and accountability are fundamental for the change to happen.

“The Low Carbon Pledge is a clear demonstration of businesses driving towards decarbonisation, creating the business models, innovation and jobs for a low-carbon future. As more businesses join this pledge, we will use our collective voice to drive the new systems thinking we need to overcome this fundamental challenge.”

Business in the Community Ireland works with more than 100 of the country’s largest companies on sustainability, corporate responsibility, ESG and responsible business.

Its latest Low Carbon Pledge report found that signatory companies had increased their emissions intensity reduction from 36pc to 41pc in 2019.

Sarah Harford was sub-editor of Silicon Republic