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Catherine Moroney Speech From Dublin Chamber AGM Dinner 2020

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14 February 2020

We’re delighted to announce the appointment of Catherine Moroney of AIB as President of Dublin Chamber for 2020. Below is a copy of the speech delivered by Catherine at the Chamber's AGM Dinner on Thursday 13th February. 

Good evening Ambassadors, distinguished guests, and Dublin Chamber members
Welcome to the Dublin Chamber AGM dinner. It is my pleasure to address you this evening for the first time as your 132nd Dublin Chamber President.
I must start by acknowledging the superb work of our former President Niall Gibbons, Chief Executive, of Tourism Ireland. Niall’s international outlook & connectivity both here and abroad, developed new and valuable connections for us & enhanced our global reputation.
& The Dublin Global Reputation Report completed during his Presidency provided valuable insights which we can continue to leverage.  Thank you Niall – a tough act to follow!
I look forward to the year ahead working with Dublin Chamber Council & our CEO Mary Rose Burke, her team and you, our members, as we continue the Chamber’s mission of helping business to succeed in a successful Dublin. 
We do not have Ireland’s Taoiseach with us this evening, as would normally be the case for understandable reasons – we wish all of our elected representatives well in the formation of Government. 
As we look to the future, our next Government, whatever its shape and all of us here, must deliver on a time bound and ambitious vision of Ireland as a ‘Sustainable Country’ with a sustainable Dublin as our capital.
Ireland needs a strong capital city to support it, at home and abroad. This is an imperative if we are to thrive as a country that is socially, environmentally and economically sustainable. A Country to do business in and to do business with.
At last weeks, Sustainable Dublin 2050 Chamber event, the Head of OFGEM (the UK’s Energy Regulator), described how their Government has moved from aspiration to action on Climate, & have committed this in legislation – Ireland is also moving in this direction.
& Business is already on this path - Larry Fink (whose Firm Blackrock has over $7 trillion in Assets under Management), wrote to CEOs recently stating that Sustainability is Blackrock’s new ‘Standard’ for Investment.  They have also committed to selling investments that do not meet their sustainability standards – already reallocating their capital into greener sectors. 
This standard, will in time, become the  ‘norm’ for all forms of Investment, from Government Bonds to Private Businesses,  and the necessary ‘Sustainability Credentials’ for all firms, means Supply Chains will be assessed in Tendering Criteria and even Consumer Purchasing Decisions will reflect  their sustainability values.
In essence – Sustainability is no longer about how Firms USE their profits – Sustainability is about how Firms EARN their profits.
It is not enough to ‘Do Good’, Firms must also ‘Do no Harm’ & this is a high standard to work through our entire value chains, allowing of course, for ‘Just Transition Phases & learning as we progress’
Dublin Chamber’s 2050 Vision is of a Dublin globally renowned for its quality of life and economic vibrancy, - a great place to live, work, study and do business, all vitally important elements.
Today as your Dublin Chamber President I believe, as does your Chamber, that our ambitions for a thriving Dublin in 2050 must also be a sustainable & competitive city and a climate neutral economy.
Realising this Vision of Dublin over the next 30 years depends upon how we as, Government, Business, and Private Citizens come together to take action on the sustainability challenge.
The momentum behind the sustainability agenda is strong, as citizens, consumers & legislation demand that policymakers and businesses implement the changes needed for our future.
The recently announced European Green Deal, firmly commits the EU to the goal of a Climate Neutral Europe by 2050.
All of us in this room want a successful Dublin to drive Ireland’s economy and to contribute to our standing as a strong and competitive EU City & EU member State.
The business community must lead this change, our Government cannot do this through Policy and Legislation alone, the long term perspective and capital investment required, necessitates businesses to lead. The good news is that this is expected to happen, as businesses respond to the consumer and B2B-led trend for more environmentally sustainable products, services and work practices.
Dublin Chamber is itself on a sustainability journey, a journey on which we still have a way to go.
As the voice of Dublin business, it is a journey that we want to support our members to join us on.
For example – our member businesses need to look ahead to the changes in reporting requirements that will impact on how they Report on everything from supply chains and procurement, to employment practises as we move toward circular economy principles.  
In this context, I’m proud to say that Dublin Chamber is taking on its role in driving toward a more sustainable Dublin, by actively supporting our members in preparing for and implementing the necessary changes in their businesses.
In preparing to ensure we support our members in a way that is helpful to their needs – we conducted research through focus groups facilitated by Amárach Research, where we consulted a cross-section of the Dublin Chamber membership about sustainability.
You told us, that while businesses are aware of the environmental, social, and economic reasons to make changes for sustainability, they were unaware of the absolute necessity & pace of the changes required in order to remain competitive at home, and in the International markets prior to their Focus Group participation.
They stated that they would also welcome guidance to ensure they take the right ‘next steps’ & they would welcome that guidance & support from Dublin Chamber to help them clarify their actionable outcomes. 
Guidance, support & education are core to the Chambers’ Member offering.
Shaped by these insights, I am delighted to announce the launch of the Dublin Chamber Sustainability Academy. The Academy will offer guidance & training from experts on practical areas for action. This will assist members’ move from Awareness through Planning, Action & Outcomes.
Like a mind, expanded by a good idea, that never returns to its original size:
By embracing & evolving this agenda together, we will succeed as businesses and as a City.
In my experience of such initiatives – some of the strong benefits of such an Academy will be the learning & cross-sectoral ideation that will result from Peer to Peer sharing (this was the case in our Focus Groups where the participant businesses shared changes they are already making in their businesses).
This year, under the umbrella of the Sustainability Academy, we will provide:
-A series of training & advisory workshops for all stages, covering Carbon footprinting, Corporate Sustainability, and the Circular Economy.
-including specific Green Public Procurement training so that businesses will be ready for ‘greening supply chains, and Dublin Chamber is working with SEAI to offer practical energy-saving training
-We will also continue to build on the success of our Sustainable Dublin 2050 events series, the first of the 2020 series was held last week – to a packed member audience.
& we will support the work of the Carbon Disclosure Project, Ireland, (or CDP as it is known) the best in class and the highest standard in environmental reporting credentials internationally.  We will do this by providing introductory training on CDP reporting.
-All of these initiatives will assist Dublin Chamber members, irrespective of their size or business stage, to prepare well and remain competitive in the climate-neutral economy that is required of all of us.
On behalf of Dublin Chamber, I invite & welcome every business here to get involved in these initiatives.  We can lead this change in our businesses, which in turn will enhance Dublin & Irelands Global Reputation and standing.
This is the beginning of what we intend for the Sustainability Academy offering to members and an initiative that will grow over time so that wherever you are in your business, there is a level at which you can participate.
The Sustainability Academy will be at the core of the Chamber’s strategy for years to come and as we progress, we will ask you, our members, to help us enhance the Programme. 
Because the Sustainability Agenda itself will progress and we will evolve the Academy as that happens – through the core established benchmarks of impact on Our People, Our Planet, and Our Profits.
Which for us translates to Our Teams & Citizens, Our City, and our Businesses.
Having outlined the core focus of the Sustainability Academy, I will now briefly outline, how Dublin Chamber continues to lobby on your behalf for a Decade of Delivery to secure this sustainable future for Dublin.  Ireland needs the economic support of a successful Dublin, and much of Dublin’s successful future hinges on the delivery of vital infrastructure, that will deliver a real impact on day-to-day quality of life in the capital.

Specifically, we need:
-Urban planning and 14,000 homes a year for core density
-Delivery of a public transport system that includes BusConnects, Metrolink, DART & cycling infrastructure.
-and, the prioritisation of securing our energy and water needs
-Dublin has a key role to play in Ireland’s economic success and the business community has an equally important role in Irish society, not least by driving growth and employment.

  • The number of people in the workforce has risen by over 400,000 in the past 8 years & most of these jobs were created by the private sector.
  • Business generates much-needed funds to pay for public infrastructure and improved public services.  We need the right business conditions to ensure this continues.

-With this in mind, Dublin Chamber continues to seek specific measures to support and encourage investment in Entrepreneurial, small & medium-sized businesses to ensure they continue to re-invest, generate employment and thrive & grow IN Ireland.

  • Of course, for Labour Force Participation – we need the National Childcare Scheme and clear guidelines for employers’ liability to facilitate flexible working practices.

All important elements for a thriving competitive city.
If I may, I would like to acknowledge AIB and say a thank you to my colleagues & our CEO Colin Hunt who is here this evening.AIB is fully immersed in the Sustainability Agenda and are long-term supporters of Dublin Chamber & thankfully are supportive also of my Presidency - Thank You, Colin & team.
I also want to express a big thank you to our sponsors for this evening, EY, & for their long term continued support of Dublin Chamber – Thank you EY
- And to thank our guest speakers
- David Dempsey & David McWilliams
I look forward to hearing from both of you later this evening.
In closing, as your President, I encourage all of us to work together to build the foundation stones to ensure that future generations of Dublin Citizens and Dublin Businesses inherit from us a City that is Globally Renowned as a Sustainable, Thriving City.
A City known for its quality of life and economic vibrancy
In which future generations will choose to live, to work, to study and do business.
Thank you and enjoy your evening.

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