Biz leaders to demand Govt lead on green procurement

13 May 2010

Green for Growth is a coalition of leading Irish businesses that has been set up in recent weeks to demand strong Government leadership on green procurement.

The Green for Growth group will officially launch tomorrow, Friday, 14 May, at the Alexander Hotel, Dublin 2, at 12pm.

An open letter to the Government will be signed by those attending, including the managing directors, chairpersons and CEOs of Siemens Ireland, Kingspan Renewables, Ecocem Ireland, Pierse Group, Glen Dimplex, Greenstar, SSE Renewables (parent company to Airtricity), Gypsum Industries and Isover Ireland.

Other signatories of the letter will include Bord Gáis, Arup, Durkan Homes, Wavebob, Paul Keogh, president of the Royal Institute of Architects in Ireland (RIAI) and James Pike of O’Mahony Pike and a former president of the RIAI.

Jeff Colley, editor of Construct Ireland, has organised the coalition, and is hopeful that it will make an impact tomorrow.

Job creation potential through green procurement

Colley, who recently won a Green Leader award at the Green Awards 2010, says there is the potential for job creation from speeding up the adaptation of a green procurement policy.

“Equally, on the flip side, it will be preventing more unemployment or job erosion. Although the entire State procurement spend is estimated by the Department of Finance to be circa €17bn (based on its submission to An Bord Snip Nua) last year and the programme for Government stipulates that green criteria and procedures are to be at the centre of all State procurement, so this means that €17bn per annum of State spending will have to go green.

“What we found in a very short space of time through campaigning for this (one week!), we still had an opportunity to show the Government and the Department of the Environment that the business community would support strong, ambitious policy in this area before the National Conference on Green Public Procurement on 21 May.

Eco-conscious business leaders have rallied in swiftly for Green for Growth

Colley says the level of response from business leaders has been great, despite the campaign having only started last week.

“The open letter itself is welcoming the (green procurement) initiative and explaining why it is important in terms of job creation and keeping our economy competitive.

“The context of this should be that the EU has very ambitious green public procurement requirements. Countries around Europe are starting to get very advanced policies in place here, and if we don’t act quickly then all of sudden Irish businesses will effectively be stranded – they won’t be able to compete in those markets,” argues Colley.

“We really need to boost our exports of goods and services and the only way is by engaging in the green procurement area very, very quickly.

Upping the pace for green procurement to create jobs

While he says everyone is aware of the need for Ireland’s economy to go green, that ultimately, all will be up for discussion at the Green for Growth event tomorrow.

He adds: “If we are slow, not only will we miss out on our opportunity to sell into other markets, but we will also miss out because other companies from other countries will have developed the expertise and they’ll be able to sell into our market.”

It is estimated that tens of thousands of jobs, both direct and spin-off, could be created if Ireland ups the ante on its green procurement agenda.

To learn more about tomorrow’s event, go to the website.

By Carmel Doyle

Photo: The Green for Growth logo

Ireland’s business leaders are gathering on 14 May to hear sustainability experts discuss the future of business, finance and investment within this new environmental reality, and we will look at how technology will be a key enabler in a more sustainable, prosperous future for all. Learn more about this event.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic