The journey from the Volvo Ocean Race to Dublin Castle

The Iarnróid Éireann-sponsored Sustainability Train sets off from Heuston Station, Dublin, with attendees for the inaugural International Sustainability Summit at the Volvo Ocean Race finale, July 2012.

The Iarnróid Éireann-sponsored Sustainability Train sets off from Heuston Station, Dublin, with attendees for the inaugural International Sustainability Summit at the Volvo Ocean Race finale, July 2012.

Dublin Castle was the backdrop for Ireland’s second International Sustainability Summit, which saw the kingpins of the green economy from policy-makers to enterprise companies and international financial services professionals come together to help pave next steps for Ireland.

But this year was extra special as the Summit, which took place on December 12, was held as part of the Year of Gathering Ireland 2013 and is an official Gathering event – The Sustainability Gathering to be exact.

For those who haven’t heard about the oneyear initiative, The Gathering Ireland 2013 opened its arms to hundreds of thousands of friends and family from all over the world, calling them home to gatherings in villages, towns and cities.

Over 70 million people worldwide claim Irish ancestry and The Gathering Ireland 2013 was conceived to provide the perfect excuse to reach out to those who have moved away, their relatives, friends and descendants, and invite them home.

This year’s International Sustainability Summit, The Sustainability Gathering, hosted an impressive array of experts in key sectors of the green economy.

One of big names who took to the stage was Angus McCrone, Editor-in-Chief, Bloomberg New Energy Finance who was tasked with setting the scene for sustainable financing oportunities and the market globally.

The Sustainability Gathering was announced by an Taoiseach (Irish Prime Minister) Enda Kenny at the inaugural International Sustainability Summit, Volvo Ocean Race 2012.

“This event demonstrates Ireland’s leadership role in bringing together key decisionmakers globally to discuss and debate the transition to a low-carbon economy,” he said in Galway before revealing there was to be a second Summit in 2013.

He also stressed the importance of the sector to Ireland’s ambitions. “The green economy and sustainable development agendas are a key element of Ireland’s economic recovery strategy.”

 

The journey from the Volvo Ocean Race to Dublin Castle

 

An Taoiseach Enda Kenny opened the International Sustainability Summit in Galway last summer where Irish and global leaders in the sustainable sector converged to discuss finance challenges and opportunities arising as a result of the global swerve to a low-carbon economic model.

Chief executives from clean-tech funds across the globe and investment management companies took part in the summit, which was the largest sustainability themed event in Ireland during the year.

The Summit itself took place as part of the Volvo Ocean Race Business Expo that coincided with the finish of the global sailing race in Galway Bay.

Ireland’s policy-makers, financiers and representatives from the enterprise sector came together with global figures and companies at the summit to discuss and debate best practice and the opportunities the green economy afforded.

Some of those who took part in Galway were Sean Kidney, Chairman, Climate Bonds Initiative, Minister Pat Rabbitte, TD, Brendan McGrath, CEO, Gaelectric, Brian Motherway, CEO, Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland, Sean Hawkshaw, CEO, Kleinwort Benson Investors, Michael White, Partner, Enercap Capital, John McKiernan, Partner, Greencoat Capital, Peter Heffernan, CEO Marine Institute and Barry O’Flynn, Director, Environmental Finance, EY.

The International Sustainability Summit and The Sustainability Gathering have been conceived and led by Stephen Nolan, Chairperson, who also happens to be Executive Co-ordinator for the public private initiative the Green International Financial Services Centre (GIFSC).

Looking at green energy investments alone, Nolan said there has been dramatic growth worldwide, with some US$268bn invested in this space in 2012, the second highest figure ever for the clean energy sector, and five times higher than 2004 figures.

“This trend is set to continue with the global move to a low-carbon economic model set to be as significant as the Industrial Revolution. Ireland has every resource needed to be at the centre of this emerging marketplace, attract finance and create jobs,” said Nolan.

“the global move to a low-carbon economic model is set to be as significant as the Industrial Revolution. Ireland has every resource needed to be at the centre of this emerging marketplace, attract finance and create jobs”

But, putting the bling into the sustainability theme last year was Iarnród Éireann which supplied a special train free of charge from Dublin to Galway return for invited event attendees – taking some 200 cars off the road in the process.

There was more than one comment about the Hogwarts express that day, but what it did show – and this year’s Sustainability Gathering serves to further emphasise – is that Ireland is on the right track to a low carbon economy.

The December 2013 Sustainability Gathering attracted a litany of green economy movers and shakers from the key sectors driving growth – policy, enterprise and financial services.

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