Chambers Ireland is Ireland’s largest business organisation with a network of chambers of commerce in every major town and region in the country. The chamber strives to support the development of a sustainable network of chambers of commerce nationwide and create a thriving environment for member businesses to reach their full potential. A key component of support for the companies is empowering them to implement climate-friendly and sustainable business practices, such as carbon emissions reduction and reporting, carbon capture, water conservation, energy efficiency, renewable energy, waste management and sustainable finance.
What action(s) is your chamber taking to encourage its member companies to reduce their environmental impact?
We are pushing our members to engage with the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and encouraging them to integrate these strategies going forward. One of the first initiatives we did to make this happen is publishing our SDG Toolkit for Business. With fewer than nine years remaining to reach the goals set out in the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, all sectors of Irish society need to get serious about reaching our targets. Chambers Ireland has taken a leading role to engage Irish businesses of all sizes on the SDGs, and our toolkit aims to offer some simplicity, structure and practical guidance to commit to the important task at hand. Whether they have vowed to make several small changes or are undertaking significant projects, we encourage every business who reads our materials to document their plans, communicate their actions and record their impact on an ongoing basis moving forward. Reporting on sustainability, biodiversity or equality initiatives will help support and encourage policy-making and bring about more significant change. Sustainability reports will also give structure to business plans and progress and help develop other organisational strategies.
Our annual Sustainable Business Impact Awards also specify an Environment award category, which seeks to celebrate organisations that have taken actions to improve their local environment. Companies are invited to report on projects that work to enhance biodiversity, reduce waste, or improve water or air quality, and the judges’ criteria include business impact, staff involvement and engagement with the SDGs. Recognized criteria could include campaigns to encourage greener behaviours or installation and restoration projects that have environmental improvement as their primary goal.
Does your chamber have climate goals in place for 2025?
Yes, and they are achievable. When we return to the office, we intend on making our office more environmentally efficient through water conservation, sustainable energy usage and an efficient recycling programme.