There have been some pivotal moments since I began The Office Hub but last week was without doubt one of the proudest. It’s not often that you’re standing behind An Taoiseach and four of his cabinet ministers plus a large assembly of distinguished guests and members of the national media.
Cameras are pointed, microphones are at the ready, reporter’s pens are hovering over notebooks. We’re all praying that a live video feed doesn’t let us down. It’s coming from the Euronext Dublin Irish Stock Exchange, to the magnificent room that we are all standing in at the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. After a tense few seconds of silence, the screen flickers to life and soon we have live pictures and audio from Euronext as George Richardson, a director of capital markets at the World Bank, launches a €1.5 billion Sustainable Development Bond, just after the opening bell. Queue deep breath on my part, live stream delivered!
To provided context, this is the first bond announced by the World Bank in Dublin in over 25 years and one which gives the sustainability and climate finance agenda, and Ireland’s role in that, real focus.
The announcement was the starting gun for an event convened by Sustainable Nation Ireland and the Department of Finance, and that was weeks and months in the planning. Working on logistics with a tremendous collection of people from different bodies and agencies, we succeeded in bringing together over 340 people from around the world, across two days, spanning a high-powered dinner, networking and of course the set-piece conference agenda at the RCPI.
It was wonderful to have worked with Stephen Nolan, Catherine Daly and Sophie Smyth from Sustainable Nation Ireland, as well with Paul Ryan and his colleagues in the Department of Finance, to pull together a world-class list of panellists and speakers and coordinate the event called ‘Catalysing Global Savings to Advance our Sustainability Goals’.
This is also a great opportunity to thank the wider team who helped to make the event such a high-profile success including our hosts the Royal College of Physicians Ireland (particularly Maureen, Shay and Kerrie), our PR and content partner StoryLab, photographer Julien Behal (thanks for my ‘shot of the day’), Avcom and M310 Media Cube. Their help and input was a crucial ingredient for success in what was the biggest gathering of international financial institutions and asset managers held in Ireland and focused on this topic.
The line-up featured Nancy Saich, European Investment Bank; Constance Chalchat, BNP Paribas; Mireille Martini, Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development; Kenneth Lay, former vice-president and treasurer of the World Bank Group; Stuart Kinnersley, co-founder and CEO, Affirmative Investment Management as well as Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Ireland, Sharon Donnery.
Another undoubted highlight of the event was the Government’s display of its ‘All of Government’ strategy to tackle climate change – in line with the ambition of its recently launched five-year plan for international financial services: Ireland for Finance.
We were delighted and honoured that the event was attended by An Taoiseach Leo Varadkar T.D. with four of his ministers speaking: Minister for Finance and Public Expenditure & Reform, Paschal Donohoe T.D.; Minister for Communications, Climate Action and the Environment, Richard Bruton T.D.; Michael Darcy T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Finance; and Ciarán Cannon T.D., Minister of State at the Department of Foreign Affairs & Trade.
So, a great success and one that attracted media coverage from Reuters, RTE, the Irish Independent and Environmental Finance among others, as well as front-page report in the next day’s edition of Times Ireland. I’m already looking forward to next year, but we’ll see about the live video feed!