Successful National Business Conference on the Economic & Business Opportunities of Climate Change held in Tullamore

The “Creating Economic and Business Opportunities from Climate Change” conference took place in the Tullamore Court Hotel on Wednesday 9th of October. The conference room was packed to capacity for this event, the first of its’ kind to be hosted in the Midlands, and it did not disappoint. The conference, an initiative of the Regional Transition Team under the auspices of the Midlands Regional Enterprise Plan to 2020 (MREP), explored how businesses can realise unique economic and business opportunities in responding to climate change.

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Cllr Peter Ormond, Cathaoirleach of Offaly County Council got proceedings underway outlining that we as a nation and a region, “are in a period of transition, framed by Climate Action Legislation 2015, the National Adaptation Framework 2018 and the recently published, All of Government Climate Action Plan - to tackle Climate Breakdown. We aspire to reach specific targets by 2030 and 2050 which in a global context, aim to provide a pathway to meet the ambition of the Paris Agreement, to limit global warming and to foster climate resilience”.

This transition necessitates a shift towards transformative, clean and sustainable development that in particular, contributes positively towards climate action. Cllr Ormond acknowledged that whilst measures to curb emissions and reduce the impacts of climate change will be good for many, the industries and communities affected by climate policies risk losing their livelihoods.

The conference marked the commencement of discussions on Creating Economic and Business Opportunities from Climate Change, examining international trends, and exploring how responses to climate change, by both business and communities, can effectively drive innovation, adoption of disruptive technologies, and more flexible work practices.

The conference speakers, from a range of business backgrounds, highlighted real world examples, illustrating how the pursuit of initiatives that seek to address and respond to climate change, can be a powerful stimulus and a source of competitive advantage that can transform business and uncover opportunities.

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Members and Executive of Offaly County Council pictured with Dr Tara Shine, Conference Keynote Speaker


Dr. Tara Shine, Environmental Scientist and Director of Change by Degrees, opened the discussion as keynote speaker by recognising the positives and empowerment that can come about by conscious efforts to change and adapt at home and at work.

Irish businesses sharing their experience of how they are adapting their business to take account of, and create opportunities from climate change were Bord na Móna, Lumcloon Energy, Viva Green, Watershed Group and ABB Ltd.

Ron Immink, Entrepreneur-in-Residence with Sustainable Nation discussed funding and finance for Green Innovation. Dr Shane Ward, Professor of Biosystems Engineering in UCD described how the “Agrocycle” project offers a holistic approach to the application of the ‘circular economy’ across the agri-food sector.

Deirdre DeBhailis, Business Development Executive, Dingle Hub described how adopting a flexible approach to remote working can have environmental positives. Dr. Joanne Rourke, Resource Efficiency Officer, Eastern and Midlands Regional Waste Management Offices demonstrated practical ways to work towards sustainability in business and using this as a marketing tool. Paddy Matthews, Head of Ireland’s Hidden Heartlands, Fáilte Ireland closed the conference by looking at the opportunities that Sustainable Tourism presents.

The conference partners comprised the Midlands Regional Enterprise Office, Offaly County Council, LEO Offaly and the Eastern and Midlands Climate Action Regional Office (CARO).

 

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