Wednesday, 24 November 2021
Companies (Emission Reporting) Bill 2021: Second Stage
I reiterate I have ambitions of sustainability reporting and want to see Ireland taking a lead role in this area. I cannot speak in much detail about the member state negotiations but I can say they are under way and are being attended by officials both from Dublin and Brussels. As a member of the EU, Ireland plays its part in developing these laws for all member states and for the whole of the Internal Market. I genuinely believe this Bill will feed into those negotiations. I am not saying this in any way condescendingly but I acknowledge what the Senator and those in her office have done during the past 12 months. I acknowledge she has not brought this legislation to the House on a whim. She has put a lot of time and effort into making sure it is good legislation and that will feed into the work we are doing.
The challenge for the co-legislators of the European Union is to introduce these new and far-reaching proposals in a timely, clear and consistent way, to give the maximum relevant information possible to investors, consumers and other stakeholders and minimise any unnecessary burden on companies. We need to map out a clear and consistent path in order that Irish enterprise can make the right decisions on investment for the future. If we are aligned in our ambition for change, proceeding with national legislation ahead of EU developments would not be right at this time and could be counterproductive. This directive will be coming through very quickly. We have a major opportunity to influence and shape what is coming from Europe. As I said, that is something we will do.
The Government has set ambitious climate goals for Ireland over the coming decades and those are goals we must meet. They are enshrined in legislation and there is no getting away from them. The new corporate sustainability reporting requirements, along with other measures outlined in the new climate action plan, will help us achieve those goals.
While initially I was putting forward an official amendment, I took on board the Senator’s bona fides. When she rang last night she said she would not be pushing this legislation without consultation and working with us on it. We want to get it right. Hopefully as I said to the said to her on the phone, it is not my intention she would have ever had to read this Bill a second time in 12 months. We want to have so much work done that she would feel it was an unnecessary use of her coveted Private Members’ time in the Seanad. We will work together collaboratively over the next 12 months to ensure we have reached our ultimate ambition. I have no doubt we will agree on a lot and disagree on some things but, ultimately, working together is a better way to progress this forward. I thank the Acting Chairperson for his flexibility in allowing me in a second time.