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Ireland on track to reduce carbon footprint

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To mark World Environment Day on Friday 5 June 2020, over 50 of the largest companies in Ireland, which have publicly committed to halve their direct carbon footprint between now and 2030, have reported on their progress. They are the signatories of Business in the Community Ireland’s Low Carbon Pledge.

Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), the national network for sustainability, created the Low Carbon Pledge in 2018 with the aim of being a starting point for their member companies to commit to cutting their carbon footprint, report annually on their progress and develop a credible roadmap towards a net zero economy.

For the second year running, BITCI has partnered with PwC to produce the Low Carbon Pledge report, Business Working Together for a Low Carbon Ireland, which shows progress of the Pledge signatories towards decarbonisation.

Iarnród Éireann chief executive Jim Meade
signing the Low Carbon Pledge.

The Low Carbon Pledge requires signatory companies to reduce the intensity of their Scope 1 and Scope 2 carbon emissions by 50 per cent by 2030. 

This year, the scale of the ambition of the Pledge was increased to incorporate some indirect, or Scope 3, carbon emission sources namely business travel, water consumption and waste generation.

Ultimately, the Pledge calls on businesses to work towards setting science-based emission reduction targets – the reductions necessary to limit global warming to 1.5°C.

The PwC report states that pledge companies are making significant progress towards achieving the target to decrease in carbon intensity by 2030. The average emissions intensity reductions across the pledge companies have increased from 36 per cent in the inaugural report to 41 per cent (the data analysed in this report relates to 2019).

Iarnród Éireann (Irish Rail) is one of the signatories of the pledge. Chief executive Jim Meade said: “Public transport plays a central role in reducing Ireland’s carbon footprint, and in helping our customers to do so also, but through the Low Carbon Pledge we commit to doing more.

“We are committed to achieving a 50 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030 and supporting Ireland’s ambition to becoming a carbon-neutral economy by 2050.”

Tomás Sercovich, BITCI.

Tomás Sercovich, CEO, Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), said, “Building a new economic model as a result of the pandemic requires significant investment, innovative technology and a new social contract that leaves no one behind. This is a once in a generation opportunity to set the foundations for an inclusive, fair and just net zero economy.

“Ireland has a huge challenge ahead to transition to a low carbon economy but also embrace the opportunities a net zero world will offer. Our aim for the Pledge is to provide leadership, set a collective ambition and drive practical action.”

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