COP26 UK High Level Climate Action Champion Nigel Topping met with Business in the Community (BITC), Danske Bank and Translink on his visit to Northern Ireland.
He was interested to hear how organisations in the Province are addressing the climate crisis and taking action to reduce and offset harmful emissions generated through day-to-day business practices and supply chains.
Mr Topping, alongside his predecessor for COP25 Gonzalo Muñoz, drives two global climate campaigns – Race to Zero and Race to Resilience – which rally leadership and support from businesses, cities, regions and investors for a healthy, resilient, zero-carbon recovery that prevents future threats, creates decent jobs, and unlocks inclusive, sustainable growth.
Kieran Harding, Managing Director, Business in the Community, said: “Addressing climate breakdown and reducing our GHGs and carbon footprint is integral to ensuring a liveable future and in creating new opportunities for business that generate greater prosperity and wellbeing for all.
“Businesses are using this unique point in time to consider how they can build back better from Covid, but we’re asking them to build back responsibly and use the opportunity for bolder, collaborative, and practical action on the climate crisis.”
Over 20 organisations in Northern Ireland have already signed BITC’s Climate Action Pledge, an ambitious public commitment to reduce greenhouse gases emissions by 30 per cent or 50 per cent before 2030.
Vicky Davies, CEO designate at Danske Bank – which hosted the meeting – said: “In our own business we have put sustainability and climate change at the top of our agenda and believe NI businesses need to work together to address the climate crisis.
“The ‘Climate Action Programme with Danske Bank’ is designed to help companies understand their environmental impact and work towards implementing more sustainable business strategies, and is the first initiative of its kind in the UK or Ireland.
“Six of our corporate customers are currently piloting the programme.”
Translink Group Chief Executive Chris Conway said his company was leading the transport transformation to zero emission public transport by 2040.
This included taking action to combat the climate emergency, improve air quality and drive positive change for a healthier and more sustainable transport future, he said.
“We recently introduced three new zero emission hydrogen powered vehicles into our fleet and have a further 100 electric and hydrogen buses on order and due to start arriving later this year; this will be the fourth largest zero emission bus fleet in the UK, marking our commitment to building back responsibly post Covid-19.”
Mr Topping said he had been encouraged by the collaborative action being taken by Business in the Community’s Climate Champions and Pledge signatories in Northern Ireland to address the climate crisis.
“We urge businesses of all shapes and sizes to join the Race to Zero, and to work together to create a zero carbon world in time.”