Sustainability, Stakeholder Capitalism, & Covid updates
At Ibec’s Business Leaders Conference last week, I called on business to support an agenda which can meaningfully realise sustainability in Ireland through stakeholder capitalism. For stability and prosperity to transpire in the post-Covid, post-Brexit landscape, I emphasised that Government must use the institutions at its disposal to support a forum that centrally positions stakeholders in the national decision-making process. Such a collective stakeholder mechanism will be critical in determining an Ireland that underpins a fairer, more sustainable business model and natural environment, and by extension, a more sustainable society.
Stakeholder engagement can facilitate the mediation of these trade-offs, be that in the sharing of the island, the just transition from the environmental agenda, or the stakeholder agenda in terms of how the labour market operates. Ireland has the structures and institutions, like the Labour Employer Economic Forum (LEEF), that allow us bring sustainability and stakeholder capitalism into Ireland’s economy and society. A video of my address is available to view below or you can access a copy of the script (see attached below).
How Government responds to the ongoing Covid crisis is one which demands broad balanced consideration, perspectives beyond Covid and dialogue with all stakeholders impacted. The return of some children to school this morning is a small step forward for a society which has borne prolonged sacrifice and should continue to do so despite the scenes of civil disobedience witnessed over the weekend. Ibec’s communications and engagement with Government in the last week has centered on two immediate focal points for business:
1. Greater supports for business impacted by restrictions.
2. Essential international business travel for business.
On the specifics of what additional supports are now required for business during this prolonged suppression, I am engaging with Ministers Paschal Donohoe and Michael McGrath, calling for greater urgency on this matter and more substantial funds for businesses relative to their size.
On essential international business travel, I wrote to An Taoiseach Micheál Martin this morning expressing serious concern that Ireland’s policy on international travel lacks empathy with business, is extreme in comparison to other European jurisdictions and runs the risk of disadvantaging our indigenous exporting sector which we have worked for many decades to build and scale.
I will be back in touch later this week with an update on Ibec priorities for the National Development Plan and how we can use this opportunity to reinforce the need to focus on the better lives agenda in order to secure a sustainable future.