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The Climate Ready Academy, an initiative of Skillnet Ireland, unveiled the Biodiversity Leaders Programme at the Sustainability Practitioners Conference, at the University of Limerick. The eight-week course, led by Anja Murray, Broadcaster, Ecologist, and Programme Lead at Climate Ready Academy, aims to guide and empower businesses to adopt responsible and sustainable practices that can promote and enhance biodiversity within their field.

The programme will facilitate professionals across all sectors in implementing effective Biodiversity Action Plans, an essential requirement of the upcoming Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). Recognising the challenges associated with biodiversity, establishing this dedicated upskilling programme underscores the urgency and importance of prioritising biodiversity preservation.

Speaking about the launch of the new Biodiversity Leaders Programme, Anja Murray said, “The reality of the biodiversity crisis in Ireland is all too clear. Many of our most valuable habitats are in ‘unfavourable’ or ‘poor’ condition, half of our rivers are polluted and more than 60% of Ireland’s wild bird species are in decline. Safeguarding the health of the natural environment has never been more crucial. Putting biodiversity high on the agenda of industry will create the sea change we need and help reverse the loss. This programme will provide companies with valuable tools and knowledge to support their journey.”

Paul Healy, Chief Executive, Skillnet Ireland, said: The EU Year of Skills is a pivotal commitment from the Commission that enshrines the value of skills and talent development throughout the member states. Core to this commitment is a focus on green-skilled jobs and powering the green transition through talent development. Skillnet Ireland is working with multiple industry sectors, and directly with companies, to ensure they have a pipeline of in-demand green skills. We are committed to expanding cutting-edge programmes that will drive the sustainability agenda across the enterprise sector through industry collaborations such as the Climate Ready Academy and Lean & Green Skillnet”

Ken Stockil, CEO of 20FIFTY Partners, which collaborates with Skillnet Ireland in the design and delivery of the Climate Ready Academy, emphasised the rewarding impact of the programmes, stating, “It has been hugely encouraging to hear about the positive impact that so many sustainability practitioners have made. These companies are leading lights and exemplars for the rest of industry. The lesson for other companies is to build their capabilities in-house quickly to ensure they can embrace responsible and sustainable practices for the decarbonised economy and prepare for the opportunities that CSRD will bring. This new programme, which will focus on the leadership capabilities within biodiversity, will be a key contribution to providing sustainable practices to industry.”

Representatives from Astellas Pharma, Irish Rail, ABP Food Group, Uisce Éireann, Nestlé Wyeth Nutrition, and Repak were in attendance at the Sustainability Practitioner’s Conference, to demonstrate the impacts of their participation in the Climate Ready Academy and Lean & Green Skillnet programmes.

Discussion and expert insights about skills and workforce development focused on water stewardship, the circular economy, biodiversity, emission reduction, sustainable packaging and other themes aligned with the new CSRD.

The Sustainability Practitioner Conference also received support from Lean & Green Skillnet, Uisce Eireann, HSE, Bord Bia, Water Stewardship Ireland, and EPA, underscoring the collective commitment to driving sustainable change across Ireland.

Learn more about the Biodiversity Leaders Programme here.

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