The National Sustainability Summit attracted speakers and delegates from diverse industries across Ireland including food, pharmaceutical, retail, construction, energy, academia and non-governmental actors to name but a few.

The National Sustainability Summit is always an engaging and thought-provoking event, which stimulates influential debate and helps businesses to make informed decisions to improve sustainability and profitability.

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Global Action Plan’s Education Intern, Orla, attended and she has shared her highlights with us. Orla was particularly drawn to speakers who focused on changing the behaviour of individuals, communities and groups and how to compel people to make more environmentally sustainable choices in their lives.

 

I spoke to Dr Vincent Carragher, whose research identifies the key drivers and barriers that contribute to behaviour change. If we want to compel sustainable behaviour change we “Must see life from the other person’s perspective,” explained Carragher.

 

Marion Weymes, research assistant with SHARECITY, a research project based at Trinity College Dublin, spoke about the unsustainability of cities. Food sharing has become an increasingly transformative method for sustainable cities; it conserves resources, cuts down on waste, and encourages a new form of social and economic relations. SHARECITY is striving to understand why people share food, and explores how this sharing might evolve in the future.

 

Although some of the speakers motivated and encouraged any waning environmental activists that were at the summit, from the outset it was clear that the meaning of sustainability, translates differently in many sectors. Perhaps there is a lack of clarity around what sustainability is, or possibly the clarity is there but sustainability is used as a malleable object, that can be shaped and moulded into whatever is required.

 While reflecting on the Summit through an environmental lens, like many others, I am guilty of honing my own environmental echo-chamber, surrounding myself with people who strive for environmental sustainability, who have an innate understanding of why environmental sustainability needs to be at the core of every decision we make.

 I am still left with the question: Focus on the triple bottom line always has profit at the core of it, how do we change that?

Orla Sheridan

Attending the National Sustainability Summit is a way of measuring our progress towards a more sustainable Ireland and world. Are we on the right track? It is also a way of witnessing the incredible minds that are paving the way for a more sustainable world.

 

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