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The inaugural Sustainability Week and S4 Conference was hosted by Shannon Chamber and delivered via its member-led Mid-West Sustainability Network, including Shannon Chamber Skillnet, GreenTech Skillnet, Analog Devices, Eli Lilly, Ei Electronics, Climeaction, Element Six, Heraeus Metal Processing Limited, Local Enterprise Office (LEO) Clare and Enva. 

The initiative took place from September 18th – 22nd and comprised a mix of daily in-person and online events. The first four days were dedicated to a specific theme – Waste, Water, Energy, Biodiversity – while the programme concluded on Friday with the one-day S4 Conference. 

About the Sustainability Week and S4 Conference

The conference included presentations and a panel discussion with Paul Healy, Skillnet Ireland Chief Executive; Jim Dollard, Executive Director, Generation & Trading, ESB; Lisa Vaughan, CEO, Tipperary Energy Agency and Barry O’Sullivan, Chair, Shannon Estuary Economic Taskforce. 

Speaking at the event, Paul Healy highlighted the urgent need for all businesses to invest in sustainable practices and talent development, saying: “Skillnet Ireland is engaging with businesses across the economy and investing in the development of innovative upskilling programmes that address climate action and sustainability. 2023 is the EU Year of Skills and with that comes a call to action for all businesses to grasp the upskilling opportunities on offer to meet the challenges and opportunities posed by the green transition.” 

Jim Dollard of ESB said: “Our purpose at ESB is founded in the consistent belief that electricity is an enabler of economic growth and social regeneration. Our ambitious Driven to Make A Difference Strategy to be Net Zero by 2040 demonstrates our commitment to building a resilient electricity system of the future, where carbon-free energy will displace carbon emissions in how we power our lives, businesses and the economy.” 

Launching the Sustainability Week and the S4 Conference, Shannon Chamber Chief Executive, Helen Downes said the initiative emanated from the establishment of the Mid-West Sustainability Network which was set up to “support members in their sustainability journeys and in the attainment of their net zero goals”. 

Events during the week comprised seminars on the circular economy and business strategies, water stewardship workshops, as well as information sessions about renewable energy, energy efficiency, the All-Ireland Pollinator Plan, and more. 

A key element of the conference was to showcase the different projects companies are undertaking to reduce their carbon footprint. On the day a ‘Street Event’ highlighted several companies, focusing on specific projects, their objectives, methodologies, and outcomes. The conference also included an ‘Exhibitor Section’ which enabled attendees to meet companies and organisations whose services can be deployed to commence or enhance sustainability undertakings, or to assess the types of skills needed to embed a sustainability ethos in enterprise. 

The Mid-West Sustainability Network was formed for CEOs and senior executives in Shannon Chamber member companies who are tasked with leading their organisations’ sustainability strategies. The inaugural Sustainability Week and Conference is a key initiative in the endeavour to position Shannon and the region as an exemplary contributor to sustainable development. 

Skillnet Ireland Chamber Networks 

Skillnet Ireland partners with Chambers Ireland to support businesses to develop their workforce talent and skills. Each Chamber Skillnet is a regional, multi-sector network for companies of all sizes. Their main objective is to support member companies to develop and grow through the provision of relevant and flexible talent development solutions in each region. Find your regional Skillnet Business Network now.

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