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Deloitte becomes founding partner to DCU Centre for Climate and Society

Professional services firm will commit approximately €530,000 over three years to support centre’s research agenda aiming to bridge the gap between ambition and action

Deloitte announces that it has become the founding partner to Dublin City University’s Centre for Climate and Society. The Centre is Ireland’s first academic research centre devoted to leading societal responses to the climate crisis and has been established with the support of Deloitte. As part of a three-year commitment, the leading professional services firm will commit €176,000 annually to enable the centre to examine how different social arenas such as politics, media, education and policy can influence climate action.

Recent global research from Deloitte shows that concerns about climate change have increased significantly in recent months with 79% of business executives acknowledging the world is at a climate change tipping point, compared to 59% eight months prior. Furthermore, almost all (97%) say that their companies have been affected by climate change, and Chief Sustainability Officers (CxOs) are feeling the pressure to act. Despite this, there is disconnect between ambition and action with companies less likely to implement actions that demonstrate they have embedded climate considerations into their culture and have the senior leader buy-in to effect meaningful transformation.

This centre will investigate how change can be facilitated and enabled in business and beyond, through communication and media, strengthened through policy and governance frameworks, and driven through responses in our education system and in business. Bringing together expertise from various DCU faculties and other universities, the centre is dedicated to promoting a range of different approaches to thinking and talking about climate change to facilitate action, based on the premise that climate change is no longer a problem that the physical sciences alone can solve. The new relationship with Deloitte will also help the centre develop and grow its popular master’s programme, the MSc in Climate Change: Policy, Media and Society.

Commenting on the partnership, Harry Goddard, CEO of Deloitte Ireland said: “Irish businesses operating nationally and internationally recognise that the choices they make in the next decade will be critical to deliver decarbonisation at pace and scale. The DCU Centre for Climate and Society will play a leading role in developing the policies and frameworks we need to manage the climate challenge which is why Deloitte is very pleased to support it financially and professionally. In parallel with this investment, we are progressing our own global goal to become net-zero and assisting our clients in reducing their climate impacts in a measurable and sustainable manner.”

Speaking about the importance of the Centre for DCU and Deloitte’s partnership, Professor Daire Keogh, DCU President, said: “The centre is a welcome addition to DCU’s efforts in addressing climate change. Its creation is a recognition that an all-of-society approach is essential if we are to rise to this urgent global challenge. The social sciences, humanities and other disciplines bring novel approaches and fresh thinking to the issues at stake and will play an increasing role in helping us to navigate towards a low carbon and sustainable society.”

In addition to the funding, Laura Wadding, Partner and Head of Deloitte’s sustainability offering, will sit on the advisory board to the centre. This advisory board will bring together a wide range of international scholars and practitioners to guide the research agenda of the centre. Other members include environmental psychologist Prof Lorraine Whitmarsh (Bath University), Dr Jeanne Moore (National Social and Economic Council), and Matt McGrath (environment editor, BBC).  Deloitte’s role in shaping the agenda, and its ongoing engagement with the centre will allow it to play a vital role in connecting its clients to the work of the centre, helping to further enhance the discussion on climate change and drive collaboration across a range of stakeholders.

Director of the Centre and Assistant Professor in DCU’s School of Communications, Dr David Robbins, said: “It’s vital that we understand how various sections of society think and talk about climate change. Politics, policy, education, media, business - all these sectors have a part to play in tackling this crisis. We are delighted to have the support of Deloitte in establishing our centre.”