Sustainability experts gather to discuss the Green Economy

4 May 2010

Leading international experts gather in Dublin on 14 May to discuss the real challenges and opportunities represented by the move toward a low-carbon economy, and the crucial role for ICT.

“This is a time of huge opportunity for businesses to gain competitive advantage while reducing their impact on the climate, and sparking major innovation”. That is the view of Chris Tuppen, chief sustainability officer, BT Group, voted by a special Guardian newspaper panel as ‘one of the 50 people who could save the planet from climatic disaster’.

Tuppen will be in Dublin next week, when he will join other leading experts to discuss the challenges and opportunities faced by the business and investment community in Dublin’s Four Seasons Hotel on 14 May, where a key theme of the event will be the role for ICT in a sustainable future for all.

Green economy event speakers

Other speakers at The Green Economy – A Business & Leadership Briefing will include Will Day, appointed by Prime Minister Gordon Brown last year as chairman of The Sustainable Development Commission in the UK, and Dick Budden, director of the Carbon Disclosure Project in Ireland, a worldwide not-for-profit organisation which encourages private and public-sector organisations to measure, report, manage, and reduce carbon emissions and climate-change impacts.

Day expresses concern about the amount of confusion that reigns in the area of environmental issues and climate change. “There is a hot debate based on a mixture of science and ‘unscience’. You get confusing facts and quotes all over the place, which is a real shame, because one of the problems with the doomsday picture is that it can be very disempowering.”

“We have to be a bit calm and cold blooded about it and recognise that there is an awful amount of semantics buzzing around, a lot of vested interests that are not really interested in seeing us move towards a low-carbon economy.”

“I think what is being missed in all of that is that there is a huge opportunity for us to correct what we now know we have been doing wrong, for the benefit of all,” he says. “I think we will see companies, governments and societies get their heads around this stuff and set about evolving into the kind of long-term sustainable economies that we are all going to need. There is significant opportunity and reward in getting it right. The trick will be to make sure we’ve got good information and are taking thoughtful decisions on the basis of that.”

ICT and a low-carbon economy

All of the speakers concur that ICT will have a major role to play in our move towards the low-carbon economy.

“Tackling these issues presents for most businesses a real opportunity,” says Budden. “Because reducing emissions is all about reducing inefficiency. Most businesses are reluctant to make any change that doesn’t produce a cost benefit, but the businesses that are doing this well are reducing their costs, and they are doing this by applying technologies, innovations, changes in practice which are actually better for the business in the long term.”

“This is not merely about doing good for the planet at any cost. This is about doing the right thing, while improving the way you do business.”

By Ann O’Dea

The Green Economy – A Business & Leadership Briefing will be opened by Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, Eamon Ryan, and takes place on Friday, May 14, 2010 at 8am in the Four Seasons Hotel, Ballsbridge, Dublin. For further information or to secure your place, go to the event’s website.

Ann O’Dea is the CEO and co-founder of Silicon Republic and the founder of Future Human