By James Ward, PA
Preparing for climate change will be “good for the bottom line”, businesses have been told.
Skills and Higher Education Minister Simon Harris made the comments at the launch of the Climate Ready initiative, a new programme that will help to equip businesses with the skills they need to tackle climate change.
The five-year climate initiative will see a €10 million investment to support an initial 1,000 businesses and 3,000 workers in 2021, expanding in each subsequent year.
Today I announced a major investment in climate action skills programmes for businesses across the country with my colleague @EamonRyan. These programmes will be delivered through @SkillnetIreland. Really looking forward to seeing the impact. https://t.co/myuYY3UIfC for more info pic.twitter.com/amVWBpSM6x
— Simon Harris TD (@SimonHarrisTD) April 7, 2021
The aim of the initiative is to provide businesses with the training in areas such as reducing energy waste, delivering cost savings and protecting the environment.
Speaking at the launch on Wednesday, Minister Harris said: “Climate action is not just a challenge, there are obviously huge opportunities if we prepare and if we take action.
“As Minister for Skills, I really want to make sure that we provide right now, access to the tools, the training, the mentorship and the advice for businesses right across this country, big and small, to adapt to the climate reality.
“We want to help make sure businesses play a positive role in the adaptations that are going to be required to fulfil the ambitions that we have set out through our Climate Action Bill.”
He said the Climate Ready scheme will provide advice around “how you reduce water consumption, how you de-carbonise your business, how you reduce energy waste.”
But the measures will also help businesses to save money, Mr Harris said.
He said: “We can actually show Irish businesses that being climate ready is not just good for the environment, not just good for our community and our country, but also good for business, good for the bottom line.
“And can also help create jobs in every town and village across the country.”
He added: “We don’t just want our businesses to try and survive climate action.
“We want to create an environment in which we can thrive.”
This new industrial revolution... is taking place in our time
Green Party leader and Environment Minister Eamon Ryan said the programme was part of “this new industrial revolution that is taking place in our time”.
He said: “One of the real constraints is in the skills, having the knowledge and the expertise in how to be really energy efficient.
“How to change our entire packaging systems. How to reduce our consumption of water, of all resources.
“That’s where this programme fits in.
“It’s equipping businesses the same way we’re going to have equip our apprenticeships, our colleges, our school system with learning and expertise around how we prepare for this new economy, this new industrial revolution that is taking place in our time.
“This green, clean economy is going to be the future of this country.”
Launching our new #ClimateReady programme, @SimonHarrisTD said, “Skillnet Ireland’s Climate Ready programme supports our climate goals by providing every Irish business with the opportunity to build the skills to prepare for this challenge". https://t.co/X7W7SRO5Ru #ClimateAction pic.twitter.com/UVPGTEcASP
— Skillnet Ireland (@SkillnetIreland) April 7, 2021
The Climate Ready scheme has been produced by Skillnet Ireland, a company dedicated to workforce education, in partnership with Chambers Ireland, Wind Energy Ireland, and Sustainable Finance Ireland.
Skillnet chief executive Paul Healy said: “We must show huge courage and ambition, otherwise future generations will inherit our environmental legacy and they won’t forgive us for it.
“Our starting point for this scheme is of course the Government’s Climate Action Plan, which predicts that entire sectors of our economy will experience radical change as a result of climate action, but that new types of enterprise and jobs will also be created.
“Climate action is bringing with it immense business opportunities.
“It’s bringing with it also demands for great levels of new skills, reskilling and of course new green jobs.
“So working side by side with industry, and with the department, we have developed Climate Ready.”
More information on the programme is available at www.ClimateReady.ie.