Galway to host sustainability summit during Volvo Ocean Race festival

11 Jun 2012

This July, Galway City is hosting the final stage of the 2012 Volvo Ocean Race. As part of the sporting event, clean technologies, green finance and sustainability will be up for discussion during a sustainability summit on 5 July in the Global Village in the city.

Galway previously hosted a stopover during the 2009 Volvo Ocean Race. This year, the city won out over 81 competing cities around the globe to host the end of the race.

To coincide with the finish of the sailing race in the city, a festival will be taking place from 30 June to 8 July. There will be a 17-acre Global Village business expo to showcase Ireland’s technological progress in the areas of innovation, food, green and the marine.

As part of this there will be a Sustainable Way area in the Global Village for people to learn more about what Ireland is doing to achieve a more low-carbon economy.

Stephen Nolan, the executive co-ordinator of the Green IFSC imitative, is heading up the summit Enabling Leadership through Sustainability on 5 July.

Sustainability and clean-tech experts who will be speaking at the event will include former United Nations climate-change chief Yvo de Boer, who is now a global adviser on sustainability and climate change at KPMG.

The Green IFSC itself is a public/private initiative of the IFSC Clearing House Group, led by the Department of An Taoiseach. It was set up to target environmentally related financial services with the goal of spinning out new jobs in the area and to generate revenue growth in and for Ireland.

Ireland now manages or services more than US$10bn in green assets.

Back in January, Nolan pointed out how assets in green investment funds managed out of Ireland have more than doubled in the past two years to reach €2.3bn. And, he said there were currently 24 asset managers based out of Dublin who are managing more than 30 international green funds, from water to wind energy.

According to Nolan, the aim of the summit is to get corporations that are participating in the Volvo Ocean Race to come together and mix with Ireland’s politicians and clean-tech innovators to discuss sustainability. For example, as well as Volvo, companies such as Puma and Telefonica sponsor the race.

Nolan also pointed to the Green IFSC’s recent announcement that it intends to grow green assets managed in Ireland to US$200bn by 2017.

Managers operating from Ireland are responsible for some of the world’s leading ‘green’ funds, such Kleinwort Benson’s water fund.

As well as this, the international fund management firm BlackRock recently announced its first fund focused on investments in renewable assets would be globally managed out of Ireland.

Also, in March, the Green IFSC launched the Global Green Asset Management Network at the New York Stock Exchange to accelerate the growth of Ireland’s green asset management cluster.

However, Nolan also said that with more than 800,000 visitors expected to descend upon Galway for the finish of the sailing race, it will be an opportunity for Ireland to not only showcase its sustainability strides, but also the country’s marine, food and innovation advancements.

Clean-tech image courtesy of Shutterstock

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic