High Level UK Climate Champion meets with NI organisations addressing the climate crisis

On a recent visit to Northern Ireland, COP26 UK High Level Climate Action Champion Nigel Topping sought a meeting with responsible business network Business in the Community (BITC), Danske Bank and Translink to hear how organisations here 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.

The meeting was arranged as part of a scheduled visit to Northern Ireland where Mr Topping met with Minister of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs Edwin Poots, businesses, and local councils to hear how organisations are taking action to address the climate emergency.

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% or 50% before 2030.

Mr Harding continued: “BITC provides the guidance, resources and support to meet the targets of the Pledge, proving to communities, stakeholders, customers and employees that businesses are serious about the climate crisis and committed to taking positive action.”

Vicky Davies, CEO designate at Danske Bank said:

“We were delighted to host today’s meeting at our Donegall Square West headquarters. 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.

“During the meeting we were pleased to share feedback from a new training programme we co-developed with Business in the Community. 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: “Translink is leading the transport transformation to zero emission public transport across NI by 2040, taking action to combat the climate emergency, improve air quality and drive positive change for a healthier and more sustainable transport future.

“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 commented: “I am 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.

“Companies here are ambitious about cutting their greenhouse gas emissions and delivering the promise of the Paris Agreement. 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.”

To find out more about signing the Climate Action Pledge, visit www.bitcni.org.uk/climateactionpledge or email environment@bitcni.org.uk.