BT makes Dubliner its global chief sustainability officer

14 Jun 2011

BT Group has appointed Niall Dunne as its worldwide chief sustainability officer (CSO) to lead the company’s global climate-change and sustainable development strategy.

From Glenageary in Dublin, Dunne will co-ordinate all sustainability activities across BT, ensuring sustainability practices are embedded into BT’s strategy, products and services. Dunne will replace Dr Chris Tuppen in the role.

Dunne will join BT on 4 July. He has spent the past decade leading sustainability practices in Saatchi & Saatchi and Accenture, and has chaired a number of industry initiatives, including the Sustainable Consumption Project Board for the World Economic Forum in 2009.

BT Group has been a pioneer in sustainability and corporate responsibility: it maintains a gold status in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index and ‘Platinum Plus’ level in the Business in the Community Corporate Responsibility Index. Last financial year, BT invested stg£27.6m, in cash, time and in-kind support to projects that directly benefitted society, including close to stg£1m in Ireland.

Reflecting the importance of these activities, BT has made being a responsible and sustainable business leader one of its six strategic business priorities.

BT corporate responsibility champion and chief executive of BT Retail, Gavin Patterson, said: “BT believes that being a responsible and sustainable business leader should be at the heart of everything the companies does. Niall will support myself, chairman Mike Rake and chief executive Ian Livingston, advising on the science and impact of climate change, on sustainable development and strategy, and our public policy dialogue with governments in these areas.

“Niall will co-ordinate all related activities across the lines of business within BT, embedding sustainability into BT’s strategy, products and services,” he said.

Dunne will work closely with BT’s director of corporate responsibility, Caroline Sheridan.

‘Data is becoming the new oil’

Dunne said: “We live in a world where data is becoming the new oil. Globally, people are networked and consuming information like never before.

“As a sustainability leader, BT has a fantastic opportunity to work with its customers, and within the information communication technology sector, to ensure that it provides products and services that don’t just minimise environmental impact, but allow people to make smarter, more informed decisions enabling us to once again live in an enlightened state within our environment.”

As one of the UK’s top 10 largest energy consumers, BT is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and is already one of the UK’s largest consumers of low-carbon energy. BT has a target to cut the carbon intensity of its global business by 80pc from 1997 levels by 2012. To help achieve this, BT aims to generate 25pc of its UK energy needs from renewable energy sources by 2016. This includes building its own wind farms.

Dunne was managing director for Saatchi & Saatchi S in Europe, the Middle East and Africa from January 2008 to December 2010. Prior to Saatchi, Dunne spent eight years at Accenture, where he founded its Climate Change & Sustainability practice.

He is also the founder of Bluvolution, a sustainability consultancy, and has been nominated to the World Economic Forum’s Young Global Leaders Group.

He holds a Bachelor of Science degree from New York’s Manhattan College. He has also represented Ireland internationally as an 800m runner.

Photo: Niall Dunne, BT’s worldwide chief sustainability officer

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years