Reciprocity, mutual flourishing, the increasing expectations of society towards business and the need for real collaboration to solve the world’s sustainability challenges were the keynote messages at the Sustainability and the Future of Business Evening on 24 October 2019. 

The event was organised by the France Ireland Chamber of Commerce (FICC) and Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI), hosted by Trinity Business School and sponsored by Sodexo Ireland.

Sustainability and the Future of Business EveningOpening remarks were delivered by Mathieu Gorge, president of the France-Ireland Chamber of Commerce and Julie Ennis, country president, Sodexo Ireland. The keynote speaker was Neil Barrett, group vice-president, Corporate Responsibility at Sodexo, the world’s largest on-site services company. 

BITCI chief executive officer Tomas Sercovich also chaired a panel discussion on key trends including the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the Paris Agreement. The panellists were Sinead Patton, chief finance and commercial officer, Veolia; Seamus Egan, managing director, Transdev, Augustin Blanc, general manager, Servier and Dr Gemma Donnelly-Cox, co-director of the Trinity Centre for Social Innovation. Closing remarks were delivered by H.E. Stéphane Crouzat, Ambassador of France to Ireland. 

Neil Barrett, group vice-president for Corporate Responsibility, Sodexo, said: “Even the word ‘sustainable’ is not enough. We need to embrace the concept of reciprocity, where we appreciate that not only does the earth sustain us, but that we have the capacity and responsibility to sustain her in return. Our duty is to encourage mutual flourishing, between ourselves and our partners and between ourselves and the planet."

Sodexo is the first global food services company to connect its financing to action to prevent food waste. In May 2019, Sodexo announced the deployment of its data-driven food waste prevention program, WasteWatch with the objective to deploy the program to all relevant Sodexo sites by 2025.

Sodexo is also committed to reduce its carbon emissions by 34% by 2025 and has joined the Science Based Targets initiative, the global movement of leading companies aligning their businesses with the most ambitious aim of the Paris Agreement, which is to limit global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

The France-Ireland Chamber of Commerce (FICC) has just launched a working group dedicated to impact on climate change and it is currently analysing the results of a survey sent out to all its members to set strategy and goals. 

FICC president, Mathieu Gorge, said: “The French Chamber is very active in the areas of sustainability and climate change and in tandem with over 120 sister organisations across the globe, we are co-ordinating a worldwide action on climate change set for 5 June 2020.

“Business in the Community Ireland (BITCI) is the leading advisor in sustainability and CSR. Earlier in 2019, it launched its Low Carbon Pledge for business and to date 48 companies have committed to the Pledge, including event sponsor Sodexo. Chief executive officer Tomas Sercovich said “Collaboration across companies, government and civil society is the only possible solution to the societal, economic and environmental challenges we face. Business must lead on change to ensure that its business models and governance structures are fit for the decade ahead. In Business in the Community Ireland we are enabling companies to make the transition to a low carbon economy and an inclusive society where everybody thrives.” 

Julie Ennis, country president, Sodexo Ireland, said: “We work closely with our clients to promote sustainability on their sites. In Ireland, our procurement policy focuses on sustainability, seasonality and provenance. We believe that, wherever possible, we should purchase fairly traded and ethically sourced products."

We are very proud to have achieved the BITCI’s Business Working Responsibly Mark and to be a verified member of Bord Bia’s Origin Green initiative.

The evening coincided with a visit to the Sodexo/WWF-UK Finer Diner vegan pop-up at the Forum Restaurant, Trinity Business School. The Finer Diner is touring five Sodexo run university restaurants in Ireland and the UK, and is aimed at encouraging students, staff and visitors to try street food dishes made from 100% plant-based ingredients.



From left to right: keynote speaker Neil Barrett - group vice-president, Corporate Responsibility, Sodexo, Julie Ennis - country president, Sodexo Ireland, Tomas Sercovich - CEO, BITCI, and Mathieu Gorge - president, FICC.

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