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2010 Carbon Disclosure Project launch with Yvo de Boer

2010 Carbon Disclosure Project launch with Yvo de Boer

Former Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, Yvo de Boer, was the keynote speaker at the launch this morning of the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Ireland 2010 Report in Dublin.

The report, which was launched in Trinity College by Eamon Ryan, TD, Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources, is the second such annual report on Ireland from the CDP, the worldwide not-for-profit organisation that was recently described by the Harvard Business Review as "the most powerful NGO you never heard of".

The report, principally sponsored by the NTR Foundation and prepared by KPMG, shows a significant increase in companies taking part, and concludes that the number and quality of responses to the project shows climate change issues are now firmly established on Irish boardroom agendas.

 "Businesses increasingly recognise that climate change, energy prices and energy security, and material scarcity need to be taken into account as part of their strategy, not so much because climate change and sustainability are a threat to them directly, but because there is actually an opportunity to improve their competitive edge and give them a better future," said de Boer, who recently joined KPMG as Global Advisor.

"Coming to grips with climate change, coming to grips with issues around energy prices, energy security and sustainability, is basically a matter of self-interest, though also, of course, for Irish people, a matter for global citizens, operating in a global market."

Highlights from the 2010 CDP report for Ireland include:

  • 33 Irish companies responded this year, compared with only 14 responses in the 2009 report.
  • Among companies listed on the ISEQ, 20 (50pc) of the largest 40 businesses participated in the project, up from 33pc total responses last year.
  • Ireland's 50pc response rate among the largest ISEQ companies is still some way behind the 80pc plus response rate of the 300 largest companies across Europe, and a similar rate among the largest 500 globally.
  • 79pc of respondents have a dedicated Board or Executive Body with responsibility for governance on corporate environmental responsibility.
  • More than 50pc of ISEQ-listed companies and over 80pc of other companies that responded, including the largest participants in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, see positive opportunities for their businesses arising from climate change.
  • As well as the responses of 20 out of the 40 largest listed on the ISEQ, the report covers responses from seven of the largest eleven Irish firms involved in the EU Emissions Trading Scheme, seven other Irish companies, and 28 out of the 30 largest of Ireland's inward investors.

Minister Ryan said that the increase in companies taking part was an "encouraging" improvement on last year's report. "By incorporating climate change and energy issues into their business plans, the benefits both environmentally and financially for these companies will be significant and can become an important part of Ireland's future prosperity.

"Of course Governments must lead and here in Ireland, the upcoming Climate Legislation will set out both the responsibilities of and the opportunities for, Irish companies in the response to the climate change challenge. I'm glad to see more and more companies involved in the Project and I look forward to seeing its membership grow in the years ahead."

Dick Budden is Ireland Director of the Carbon Disclosure Project and he too was pleased with the increase in numbers taking part this year. "The challenge of climate change is one we all must face but what is really impressive is to see so many and different businesses start turning this challenge into an opportunity to build a sustainable future for themselves, investors and employees," he said.

Jim Barry, Chief Executive, NTR plc said there was a growing recognition across the global business community that green growth makes sound business sense. "This is becoming increasingly important as a recent lack of global policy cohesion and a reduction in policy support momentum creates a greater reliance on the unilateral actions of the corporate sector in addressing the global climate and energy challenge," he said.

Terence O'Rourke, Managing Partner, KPMG, said he and his colleagues were seeing more Irish businesses look at sustainability as an opportunity rather than a risk. " Sustainability is moving inexorably up the business agenda," he said. "It is not always easy - but for many companies it is clear that sustainability will be an important element of their future success."

The Carbon Disclosure Project is an independent not-for-profit organisation, established in 2000 that works to collect and distribute high quality information that motivates investors, corporations and governments to take action to prevent dangerous climate change.  To access a copy of the full report and for further information on the Carbon Disclosure Project, please visit the CDP website.

Read our interview with Yvo de Boer here.

Pictured (right) is Yvo de Boer, in conversation with Jim Barry, CEO of NTR who were key sponsors of this years CDP report. Photo: John Ohle