The Reality | The Hope | The Challenge | The Opportunities | The Decisive Year
Experts & Exemplars providing you and your organisation with insights, ideas and impetus.

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Jonathon Porritt CBE
The Decisive Year
Jonathon is an eminent writer, broadcaster and commentator on sustainable development. He was formerly Director of Friends of the Earth; co-chair of the Green Party and a Trustee of WWF-UK. Jonathon stood down as Chairman of the UK Sustainable Development Commission in July 2009 after nine years of providing high-level advice to Government Ministers. A best-selling author, his new book, ‘Hope in Hell’, outlines how we have a decade to confront the climate emergency. Jonathon will share how solutions abound on every front but that it won’t stay ‘not too late’ much longer, which is what makes the next 12 months,  as we rebuild our economies after the coronavirus crisis, ‘the’ decisive time for individuals and organisations to take meaningful action.

Emer Rafferty
The View from Gen Z
Emer gained international recognition this month when she made the global ‘30 Under 30 Environmental Educators’ list. Having recently turned 18, she is one of the youngest ever members of that illustrious group. A native of County Armagh, Emer is on a quest to ensure that young people get the healthy planet, thriving economy and bright future that they deserve.  Described by Secretary of State Brandon Lewis as ‘truly inspiring’, Emer has also been chosen as one of the UK’s Young Climate Ambassadors ahead of the COP26 conference in Glasgow. Shortly to feature on RTE’s Future Island TV show, is also contributing to the NI Strategy for Climate Action. She will share why local organisations and leaders should pay attention to the ‘View from Gen Z’.

​Chris Martin
Climate Impact: Understand, Identify, Action
Chris is Head of Sustainability at Danske Bank which recently won the ‘Business in the Community Environmental Leadership Award’ which recognised the bank’s commitments and efforts to tackle climate change. Earlier in 2021, Danske launched the UK’s first mortgage to be certified as carbon neutral by the Carbon Trust. Chris will share how Danske Bank are working in collaboration with external partners to provide their customers with the tools to understand how climate change could impact their respective businesses and importantly how they can identify and take advantage of the opportunities arising.

Andrew Griffiths
​Carbon Jargon Busting
Andrew is Director of Community and Partnerships for Planet Mark, a sustainability certification that supports organisations and real estate to measure and reduce carbon emissions and increase social impact. He sits on the UK Government’s COP26 Small Business Taskforce and is leading the UK-wide Zero Carbon Tour campaign, traveling around the country raising awareness about COP26 and the ‘Race to Zero’ and ‘Together For Our Planet’ campaigns. Andrew’s ‘carbon jargon’ busting presentation will provide attendees with a clear understand of why net zero carbon is the goal for all organisations to be adopting, and how it compares to carbon neutral / carbon negative goals with the aim of encouraging as many organisations to get across the start line and become an official part of the Race to Zero.

Eddie McGoldrick
The Entrepreneur

Eddie was attending Harvard Business School, when the question of disruption in his industry was posed. This challenge was the spark for he and his wife to co-found The Electric Storage Company. Based at Belfast’s Innovation Factory, the company aims to harness nature’s energy. Just this month the company expanded its team with 10 new jobs in a £780,000 investment to help it meet the growing demand for renewable energy across NI, RoI and GB. Last week Eddie was invited to Number 10 Downing Street for the PM’s discussion on the challenges of Net Zero and the role of innovation in helping the UK to realise its target. He will share the story of a local start-up striving to disrupt a market and help avert the climate crisis.

David Gavaghan
The Business Leader

David founded Aurora Prime Real Estate Ltd in 2015 anticipating a new dawn emerging for Belfast and the eastern corridor of Ireland. Previously Chief Executive (CE) of Titanic Quarter Limited  as well as an Executive Director of Quintain Estates and Development plc. Prior to that, David was CE of Strategic Investment Board advising NI Ministers on the infrastructure programme, following a career in the City of London. He is a former Chair of The MAC, Sports Changes Life and the CBI NI and remains Non-Executive Director of CBI nationally. David will set out the local context and explain why we are all in this together.

Cllr Kate Nicholl
The Lord Mayor

Championing action on climate change and the environment is something that Councillor Nicholl has prioritised for her year in office. An Alliance party member representing the Balmoral area of south Belfast, she is committed to promoting every change we can each make to play our part in tackling the environmental crisis. One of her nominated charities for 2021-22 is Sustrans, a UK-wide charity that aims to make it easier for people to walk and cycle, while building healthier communities and promoting walking and cycling infrastructure. In closing the summit, the Lord Mayor will share her vision for a sustainable city.