Sustainable Supply Chains a growing trend –
Year at a Glance: Top 10 highlights and infographic
The Irish Exporters Association (IEA), the association representing the interest of the Irish exporting industry to facilitate and grow exports to world markets, has published a summary of its 2021 activities. See infographic attached.
The IEA’s 2021 top 10 highlights were:
- Over 1,200 export industry professionals attended 10 webinars focused on Brexit, COVID-19, and Sustainable Business Practices.
- Reflecting the new realities of international business travel during the Covid-19 Pandemic, Visa applications fell to 12% of 2019 volumes. Approximately 1,500 documents were legalised by our team.
- We continued our efforts to sustain and grow our member base and over 50% of our members are now made up of SMEs.
- We made 12 written submissions: The National Implementation of the Sustainable Development Goals, and the Trade and Sustainable Development Review of the EU, the new Dublin Airport Runway, The National Development Plan, Road Transport, Climate Action Plan 2021, Enterprise Ireland’s Vision 2030, Export Certifications and Brexit, Road Haulage Strategy, Trade and Investment Strategy, Heavy Goods Vehicle Driver Shortage, and Budget 2022.
- 1,000 industry professionals attended our training courses and education workshops to upskill or refresh their knowledge and expertise on various trade compliance and sustainability topics, including: Customs Compliance, Good Distribution Practice (GDP), International Trade, Sustainable Supply Chains. Due to demand, in 2022, we will launch a range of new courses most notably Applied Customs Training for Agri-foods.
- Our Regional Network Meetings, which were held online this year, allowed manufacturers from across five regions, Border-Midlands, Southern, Western, South-Eastern, and Dublin to express their concerns, voice their challenges and support each other locally. These issues were reflected in IEA Representation through our lobbying, our 12 submissions and in the media across Ireland and the EU.
- The IEA saw a strong spike in demand for sustainability-related training courses as companies prepare for Ireland’s Climate Action Bill 2021 as well as other legislation and best practices companies will be required to accept. In response to these measures the IEA launched four new sustainable supply chains training workshops: Carbon Literacy, Carbon Calculation and Reporting, Carbon Reduction, and Sustainable Procurement.
- The IEA is committed to promoting sustainability at work and supporting our members’ efforts in this space. As such, we have created our own sustainability policy, which covers every aspect of our daily business: Travel, transport, meetings, energy usage, resource usage, recycling, as well as staff training and well-being.
- The IEA regularly participates in meetings with policymakers, department and European officials to ensure that Irish exporters are centre stage in key policy decision-making processes. This year, we were part of 18 Government stakeholder groups and 10 Civil Society Dialogues with the European Commission, and the EU Domestic Advisory Group (DAG) under the EU – UK Trade and Cooperation Agreement (TCA)
- We represented the interests of the export and import industry under our core policy pillars: COVID-19, Brexit, Market Diversification, and Sustainable Trade and Investment. Under these four pillars, the IEA continues to be a key stakeholder within the Irish Government’s and the European Union’s work in many areas, namely Brexit, customs, international trade, transports and logistics, and more.
Simon McKeever, Chief Executive of the Irish Exporters Association, commented on the busy year past: “2021 proved to be another challenging year for both Irish exporters and importers, amidst the pandemic’s everlasting effect on our society and the challenges still surrounding Ireland’s future trading relationship with the UK in the aftermath of Brexit. Our changing climate has also brought forth a new interest for sustainable business practices among our members.
Irish businesses are increasingly aware of the importance of transitioning towards sustainable supply chains, and to help with this we have created four new dedicated training courses: carbon literacy, carbon calculation and reporting, carbon reduction, and sustainable procurement. We are delighted to see so many businesses and employees gaining essential skills and know-how to successfully navigate the new challenges of international trading.
We were also very pleased to see the high numbers of attendees during our Regional Network Meetings, which continue to be held online. In 2021, we hosted 20 of these meetings, which provided support as well as a platform for Irish manufacturers to share their concerns and needs. This regular dialogue with our members helps to inform our various submissions and recommendations to our national government and the European Union.
In 2022, we will continue to innovate and work hard to develop creative and lasting solutions to better assist our growing member base on their issues related to international trade; and we will, as always, remain the voice of the Irish export industry in government, both on a national and European level.”