Ireland will this year play host to Europe’s biggest summit on Climate Innovation, as part of an official programme of events to mark the first-ever Year of Sustainable Business 2018. Over 50 nationwide events and initiatives will be held this year as part of the €1.5 million programme to position Ireland as a global hub for green finance, raise awareness of responsible and sustainable investment and encourage climate aligned innovation by Irish enterprises.

A key event will be the country’s co-hosting of the 2018 edition of the EU’s Climate-KIC Climate Innovation Summit, Europe’s leading event on climate innovation. Taking place in Dublin in November during a specially-themed ‘Climate Week’, the summit will be attended by more than 600 European decision makers.

It will focus on what it takes to mobilise the sustainable finance and investment flows, reporting and accounting that can put Europe on track to meet the aims of the 2015 Paris Climate accord. That agreement, signed by 180 countries, pledged to limit future global temperature rises to no more than 2°, to secure a climate-resilient future.

Building the green finance agenda will have lasting benefits for society as well as creating job creation and sustainable prosperity, Minister of State for Financial Services Minister Michael D’Arcy, TD said as he unveiled the Government’s 2018 action plan for Ireland’s international financial sector, the IFS2020 Strategy.

Launched in 2015, the Strategy is a five-year programme to develop Ireland as key location for specialist financial services, including green and sustainable finance. The Year of Sustainable Business, covering skills, green finance, responsible investment, enterprise innovation and resource efficiency activities. will form a key part of 2018’s plan.

Minister D’Arcy said: “The race is on to build a low-carbon and sustainable global economy, which offers huge economic rewards. That’s why Ireland’s Year of Sustainable Business 2018 represents an unmissable opportunity. Ireland was amongst the first countries to make attracting Green Finance a strategic priority, with Government and policy backing since 2012. Today, we have €28 billion of Green Finance activity already in Ireland and a thriving cluster of activity covering asset management, domiciling and the listing of green bonds.

“The 2018 Action Plan for IFS2020 gives Sustainable Nation a key role in focusing on the promotion and positioning of Ireland as an International Hub for Green Finance. It builds on a successful 2017 for Ireland’s green finance initiative. I look forward to the continuing regional growth of the sector.”

The Year of Sustainable Business programme, overseen by Sustainable Nation Ireland, the body that promotes Ireland as a hub for sustainable business, covers skills, green finance, responsible investment, enterprise innovation and resource efficiency activities.

The programme will include:

  • 50 separate events taking place in Dublin, Cork, Wexford, Belfast, Drogheda, Dundalk, Waterford, Limerick, Tralee, Galway, Castlebar, Sligo & Letterkenny
  • Regional events include ‘2°Camp – a free full-day workshop to upskill SMEs in sustainability practices. Touring nationwide from April
  • 2nd week November, Ireland’s first ever Climate Week. Bringing together over 1,000 people in Dublin. Heart of this week is the hosting of the EU’s major climate innovation event
  • Eight international events informing key markets about Ireland’s activities in this area – the Irish embassy in Paris this week hosted a ‘Green Embassy Dialogue’ event attended by government officials and representatives from key French banks and financial groups including BNP Paribas, Credit Agricole, Euronext and Amundi
  • In partnership with the City of London Green Finance Initiative, Sustainable Nation Ireland will co-host a one-day event in London focused on how to mobilise private sector investment to support the national decarbonisation efforts of both Ireland and the UK.

Sustainability issues are now critical agenda items for institutional investors and banks, along with green finance.

Commenting on the IFS 2020 plan, Sustainable Nation Ireland CEO Stephen Nolan, said: “It is fantastic to see that the green and sustainable finance agenda has been given such backing from the Irish Government. We are relishing the challenge and greatly looking forward to a dynamic and informative Year of Sustainable Business. We aim to increase the awareness of this agenda among Irish businesses of all sizes. It’s particularly timely given the publication of the EU High Level Expert Group Report on Sustainable Finance – which will drive the European policy roadmap in this area, bringing sustainable finance even further into the mainstream of the capital markets.”

Source: Industry & Business

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