U.S. Ambassador to Ireland, Kevin O’Malley, in partnership with the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) and the American Chamber of Commerce, hosted a CEO Summit on Sustainable Energy on December 11, 2014. The high-level business gathering explored connections between global climate issues and local strategic responses, as seen by the CEOs of US multi-nationals based in Ireland and by Irish companies. The event was held exactly one year out to the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris in December 2015, and at the same time as the UN Climate Conference being held this week in Lima, Peru. That gathering is key to putting in place the building blocks of an effective international climate change agreement which could be finalised in Paris at the COP21 .
The CEO Summit brought together more than 90 business leaders, experts and stakeholders, with panellists from Intel, Microsoft, EMC, IBM, Pfizer, Glen Dimplex, Keelings and Paypal. Panellists discussed the achievements of companies in Ireland that have been successful in reducing energy usage and carbon emissions, and the wider lessons for the business sector. The speakers also set out their wish-lists for emerging policy and from the climate negotiation processes.
Addressing the summit, Ambassador O’Malley said: “Today’s goal is to understand, develop, and share best practices concerning energy sustainability and energy efficiency. I look forward to seeing private industry do what it does best: solve problems, and solve problems that no one else can solve for them, while still realizing a profit and producing real jobs.” He called on all participants to support government efforts to set ambitious greenhouse gas targets but not to wait for government to begin acting.
Speaking at the event, Dr Brian Motherway, CEO of SEAI said “Business leaders understand how important sustainability and climate issues have become. They see the immediate competitiveness gains that come from lower resource use and lower costs. And they also see the need for deep strategic responses to the global changes that are underway as all countries move to address the unsustainability in our energy systems. It’s worth noting that action by Irish business to reduce its energy dependence represents one of the biggest contributors to carbon emissions reduction in recent years.”
Speakers at the summit included senior representatives from major international organisations including EMC, Glen Dimplex, IBM, Intel, Keelings, Microsoft, Paypal and Pfizer.
The companies shared stories of how Irish based affiliates are innovating on energy efficiency and sustainability – achieving substantial reductions in energy usage and emissions and in some cases leading globally within their organizations.