Mairead McGuinness, European Commissioner for Financial Stability, Financial Services and the Capital Markets Union, has told Irish businesses that stepping up private sustainable investment is key to reaching our climate goals. Ms. McGuinness addressed over 80 delegates at the William Fry LLP (William Fry) ESG & Sustainability seminar.
Discussing the EU investment strategy for financing European Green Deal climate targets and social objectives, Commissioner McGuinness highlighted the significant opportunities, across all Irish business sectors, through leadership in the space.
Addressing the event, Commissioner McGuinness said: “Europe is committed to climate neutrality by 2050. And while public finance is important it will not be enough. The EU sustainable finance agenda ensures that private investment plays a central role in meeting our climate goals. Through setting out clear criteria on what is sustainable, as well as reporting standards, we are giving companies and investors the necessary tools so that money flows to investments that help us reach our net zero target.”
Prior to the Commissioner’s remarks, delegates attended a panel discussion featuring Ken Bowles, CFO at Smurfit Kappa; Mary Whitelaw, Director of Corporate Affairs, Strategy and Sustainability at AIB; and Jan-Hein van den Akker, Head of Equity at Mercer Global Investments Europe. The lunchtime event was moderated by Lorena Dunne, Co-Chair of William Fry’s ESG & Sustainability Practice Group.
Lorena Dunne welcomed the Commissioner’s address, stating: “The Commissioner’s message resonates strongly against the backdrop of this week’s urgent warnings from the IPCC of the dire consequences of inaction on climate change and the intensifying debate on energy security. William Fry’s ESG & Sustainability Group is committed to supporting businesses, at all stages of their green journey, in progressing their sustainability strategies and meeting their obligations under the complex network of sustainable finance measures described today by the Commissioner.”
The European Green Deal is the plan to make the EU climate neutral by 2050 with an ambitious 2030-target for a 55% in greenhouse gas emissions. It’s ambition, however, lies not just in the breadth of economic sectors captured in the strategy, although it conceives of an impressive array of initiatives for a multitude of sectors ranging from the large emitters of energy, waste management and transport to textiles, buildings and food, but in how it is to be financed. The EU sustainable finance strategy is designed to mobilise capital markets to support the European Green Deal and includes a range of legislative measures mandating sustainability reporting by a broad, cross-section of financial and non-financial companies.