24 May 2023
By Elaine Murphy
Minister for Finance Michael McGrath is returning to his Cork constituency to learn about the efforts being made by Irish exporters to become more environmentally friendly.
He will join business leaders, politicians, and senior diplomats at the ‘Investing in Innovation for a Sustainable World’ conference – a two-day event hosted by Ireland’s only Asia think tank, Asia Matters in partnership with Cork City Council, Cork County Council and Munster Technological University (MTU), beginning on May 25.
And as new Government figures show that Ireland’s two-way trade with Asia is on well course to beat the target figure of €100 billion by 2025, Mr McGrath will discuss the importance of sustainably growing exports to the world’s wealthiest region with Asia Matters’ chair, and former Finance Minister, Alan Dukes.
Asia Matters’ Executive Director Martin Murray said spaces at the conference are filling fast, and urged anyone wanting to attend to register their interest as soon as possible.
“Food systems across the world are under threat from climate change, and we must now learn how to utilise state-of-the-art solutions to create a more sustainable world,” he said.
“Sustainability is at the heart of Ireland’s food industry, and the conference is an excellent opportunity for Irish companies operating in this sphere to exchange ideas.”
The summit begins at the Carberry Group’s headquarters in Ballineen, West Cork, where two expert panels will examine the latest developments in Asian and EU food policies and how Irish firms can help deliver world-class sustainable food systems to feed growing populations.
A visit to Carberry’s award-winning, climate-neutral farm – Farm Zero C, in Bandon – is also planned.
Mr McGrath, who is TD for Cork South-Central, will join delegates the next day at MTU’s Cork city campus in Bishopstown.
Before Mr McGrath’s keynote interview at 10.30am, however, China’s ambassador to Ireland, He Xiangdong, will discuss the landmark agreements from last December’s UN Biodiversity Conference (COP 15) in Montreal, Canada, with the Indonesian ambassador, Dr Desra Percaya; Pakistan ambassador Aisha Farooqui; and Mohammed Alshamsi, the United Arab Emirates ambassador.
Later, a panel chaired by Cathal Lee – the co-founder of not-for-profit renewable energy experts Energy Cloud – will investigate the opportunities that exist for Ireland to become a global leader in climate tech.
Mr Lee will be joined by PwC’s Environmental, Social and Governance lead David McGee; Prof Aoife Foley, Chair of Net Zero at the University of Manchester; Marc O’Connor, general manager, Mitsui Ireland; and Donal Daly, Future Planet CEO, as the experts discuss how hi-tech artificial intelligence solutions can be used to protect the planet.
The conference concludes with a talk on Cork’s journey to become ‘climate neutral’ and will include contributions from Boston Scientific vice president Sean Gayer; Barbara Anne Richardson, Sustainability and Public Affairs Manager, Heineken Ireland; Albert Ballbé, from the Working Group on Green Hydrogen at the Assembly of European Regions; and Xavier Dubuisson, CEO of residential energy firm, Retrokit.