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Recapping the US Ireland Summit

On July 1, 2021 UrbanVolt Founder and CEO Kevin Maughan spoke at the inaugural US Ireland Summit. The aim of this conference was to steer the conversation around the US and Irish political, business and economic agendas and help both Irish and American leaders capture the growing opportunities that are being fostered by stronger transatlantic relations.

Last week was the inaugural US Ireland Summit. Taoiseach Micheal Martin opened the event talking about the connection of the two countries and that the policies of the respective countries are “closely aligned” on the “big challenges the world faces”. The summit further consisted of some notable names including former Taoiseach of Ireland, Enda Kenny, who featured on a panel regarding the new global minimum tax rate as well as stability in Northern Ireland. Others included former governor of Maryland, Martin O’Malley, as well as Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade, Simon Coveney. Panels talked about solidifying Ireland’s unique position as a global bridge between the US, Europe and the rest of the world.

UrbanVolt was featured in a panel titled “Uniting to Tackle Global Challenges: Lessons in Leadership”. The purpose of this panel was to explore the role of leaders, corporations and philanthropy in this current environment to impact economic and social progress. In the midst of ongoing pandemic developments, a growing climate crisis, uneven global economic recovery, and a movement to tackle racism, business and philanthropic organisations are being called on to play a larger role in building a more sustainable and inclusive world. UrbanVolt’s CEO, Kevin Maughan,  participated alongside the President and CEO of The Ireland Funds, Caitriona Fotterell, and Executive Vice President and Group CEO of Verizon Consumer, Ronan Dunne. The panel was hosted by Emmy-award winning producer and principal of Purple Mountain Media, Maura Kelly.

When speaking about what businesses can do for sustainability, Kevin said “We need to empower corporate entities to make change, they all want to do it, we just have to make it easier to do it”. There are some really innovative people being empowered to embrace renewable energy by the C-suite. This pressure is forcing corporations to react quickly in order to keep shareholders happy with their investments. According to one CEO from a Korn Ferry report, “The pressure for change or the opportunity for growth is multi-dimensional. There is investor pressure, shareholder pressure and a huge amount of reporting and disclosure not just around climate but other metrics too”. This is further evidence that the days of strictly profit-minded shareholders are long in the past. However, Kevin further mentioned that consumer pressure and government pressure can only push a business so much, service-based businesses with a sustainability focus need to get involved too to speed the process up.

With regards to the sustainable transition, Kevin noted that there are two types of companies. One type is services based that can use their skills to reduce the carbon footprint of the other type of companies like manufacturing. These services-based companies have the flexibility to move faster and smarter into sustainability. These are the types of businesses that, “If you can use your core competence, it will be easier for every business no matter your challenge”. It’s no secret that some businesses have it much easier than others, but taking a collaborative approach and working towards a more renewable future will not only make the world a better place but save money and increase profits in the long run. Any territorial approach will prove futile as climate change knows no boundaries.

When the panel discussed sustainability as a whole, Kevin states “sustainability is a nebulous type of word, but it's becoming a part of every business’ nucleus. It’s good for everybody and the faster we realise it the better”. We have seen this around the world as businesses and consumers alike are beginning to interact with sustainability through climate action protests, extreme weather and government measures to curb climate change. We have said before 2019 was the year sustainability became mainstream globally, now the post pandemic future must implement change.

The final question posed to the panel was to offer advice to listeners and business alike regarding sustainability. Kevin’s final remarks reiterated that the road to sustainability is a process and that there is no “quick-fix”solution for it. His advice to businesses was that “there is no big bang solution when it comes to sustainability, it's going to be difficult but start somewhere and start today”. At UrbanVolt our job is to educate and inspire our clients through affordable clean energy like solar and LED lighting. Get in touch today to learn more about how we can help your business work towards a renewable future.