Sustainability

Public Sector to be Targeted in Healthy Workplace Campaign

Healthy Workplace

The public sector is to be the focus of a new campaign to encourage healthy workplace policies. The campaign is being prepared by Minister for Health, Leo Varadkar, and will be driven by the Healthy Ireland initiative, which aims to improve the country’s physical and mental health. As part of the campaign, employers across the public sector will be required to develop healthy workplace policies. This is also the requirement of the proposed Health and Wellbeing (Workplace Wellbeing) Bill, which was signed off at Cabinet recently. “We are putting this on a statutory basis to send a clear message that we mean business in improving the nation’s health,” said the…

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London to trial first pure electric double-decker bus in October

The world’s first purpose-built purely electric double-decker bus is to enter passenger service in London later this year. The Mayor of London Boris Johnson made the announcement this week as he hosted representatives and bus manufacturers from around the world for the first ever global Clean Bus Summit. Bus manufacturers including BYD, Volvo, Wright Bus, Optare Mercedes Evo Bus and Alexander Dennis attended the summit and committed to supporting cities in delivering fleets of new ultra-low emission buses. The World Bank and Green Investment Bank have also signed up to this commitment. Since 2008, London has rolled out more than 1,300 hybrid electric buses, retrofitted more than 1,400 buses to…

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Ireland on track to meet 2020 renewables target with wind, says IWEA

Some 142 MW of new wind generation capacity has been installed in Ireland so far this year, representing a total investment of €225m, according to new figures from the Irish Wind Energy Association (IWEA). Speaking on Global Wind Day, which is marked internationally today, “Through the delivery of wind energy we remain on track to meet our 2020 renewable electricity targets, but it’s essential that policy makers maintain a stable policy environment to allow Ireland to continue to harness this home-grown Irish electricity and reap the considerable economic and social benefits we’ll gain from that,” said Kenneth Matthews CEO of IWEA. Last year, €352m was invested in Irish wind energy…

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Sky Academy Arts Scholarship Won by Kevin Gaffney – Dublin Visual Artist

Visual artist Kevin Gaffney was last night named the Irish winner of the Sky Academy arts scholarship. The 28 year-old Dublin artist, who works in photography and film, will receive £30,000 (€38,000) towards the development of an artistic project and the cost of living for one year, along with mentoring from Sky and the arts industry. Gaffney’s work has been shown in exhibitions and film festivals internationally, including the Sapporo International Art Festival (Japan, 2014) and the Poetry Project at the Royal Hibernian Academy (Dublin, 2013).  For his Sky Academy arts scholarship project, he plans to create and exhibit a new body of work titled ‘Tectonic Plates of Conversion’, exploring…

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Tesco launches FoodCloud pilot in the UK after success of Irish programme

Tesco has this week launched a pilot FoodCloud programme at 10 of its UK stores, following on from the success of the food redistribution scheme in Ireland. Last July, Tesco Ireland committed to donating all of its surplus food to local charities through a partnership with the FoodCloud social enterprise. Set up by Iseult Ward and Aoibheann O’Brien, FoodCloud connects businesses with surplus food to local charities that need it through its technology platform and app. The app allows store managers to alert local charities of the amount of surplus food they have at the end of each day. The charities then collect the food, free of charge. In the…

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Fujitsu Ireland gets Business Working Responsibly Mark

Fujitsu Ireland has been announced as the first company to achieve the Business Working Responsibly Mark in 2015. Certifying excellence in responsible and sustainable business practices across company operations, the mark is operated by Business in the Community Ireland and audited by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI). Fujitsu Ireland is the 17th company in Ireland to achieve the standard, which examines a range of areas including sustainability, customer relations, supply chain management, workplace, community and environment. To achieve the mark, Fujitsu Ireland initially completed an online questionnaire with over 290 questions analysing operations on over 27 different indicators. A one-day audit was then conducted by the National Standards…

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Maynooth University team wins Enactus competition for its Access Earth app

A team from Maynooth University has won the 2015 Enactus Ireland National Competition for Social Entrepreneurship and will now represent Ireland at the 2015 Enactus World Cup in South Africa in October. The team won the competition for its Access Earth project. Access Earth is an app that allows users find reliable and up-to-date accessibility information about places and businesses. Last July, the team won third place in the World Citizenship category of Microsoft’s international competition, Imagine Cup, also for Access Earth. Enactus is an international organisation that encourages university students to make a positive difference to their communities and develop the skills to become socially responsible business leaders of…

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‘Free cup of tea if you cycle to me’ scheme introduced in Co Clare

The Burren and Cliffs of Moher Geopark and An Taisce Green Schools Travel, in conjunction with the Burren Ecotourism Network, have developed a scheme to promote sustainable travel throughout the region. The ‘Free cup of tea if you cycle to me’ scheme will see cyclists offered a free cup of tea when cycling to participating businesses. Among the local business and attractions taking part is Aillwee Cave and Birds of Prey centre, Doolin Hostel, The Burren Smokehouse, Wild Kitchen, The Burren Centre, Hotel Doolin, The Boghill Centre, Kilfenora Hostel and the Farmyard in Corofin. This latest scheme is building on previous initiatives such as the introduction of the Geopark sustainable…

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Microsoft partners with CoderDojo Foundation

Microsoft is to become an official European partner for the CoderDojo Foundation and movement. The aim of this new collaboration is to support the CoderDojo movement across the region and to further encourage young people to learn to code. Microsoft has pledged its support to the CoderDojo Foundation as part of the Microsoft YouthSpark initiative, a global, company-wide initiative that aims to improve education, employability and entrepreneurship opportunities for young people worldwide. “In addition to the corporate grant Microsoft will be providing we are also ambitious about how our employee base can support the growth of the CoderDojo movement,” said Microsoft Ireland managing director, Cathriona Hallahan. “In Ireland there is…

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Volunteering: how companies in Ireland are helping to make a difference

To coincide with National Volunteer Week, Volunteer Ireland CEO Nina Arwitz discusses the growing interest in employee volunteering in Ireland. This week is National Volunteering Week, our big campaign in Volunteer Ireland to help raise awareness of how people can volunteer and to highlight just how many diverse opportunities are available for people to get involved in their local community. It’s estimated that between 25pc and 40pc of the Irish population regularly volunteers. Economically, volunteering is estimated to be 2.7pc of GDP of developed countries – which in Ireland’s case equates to over €3bn. Volunteering is the engine that powers over 12,000 volunteer-involving organisations in Ireland, whose very purpose is…

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