AIB pledges €1.25m to fund first Chair at UCC

Professor John O’Halloran, Interim President, UCC (left) and Colin Hunt, CEO, AIB pictured together in the grounds of UCC Cork to announce a partnership which will see the bank fund The AIB Chair of Sustainable Business at UCC, the first of its kind in Ireland. (Picture: Julien Behal Photography)

AIB has announced a partnership with University College Cork (UCC) which will see the bank fund The AIB Chair of Sustainable Business, the first of its kind in Ireland.

The bank has pledged €1.25 million over five years to support the objectives of The AIB Chair of Sustainable Business, which will be based in the Cork University Business School (CUBS), Ireland’s largest business school.

The establishment of the Chair comes at a time of expected increased demand from employers for graduates with a broad knowledge and understanding of sustainable business practices.

UCC aims to deliver a world-class business school experience, having recently announced it would invest €110 million in a new business campus located in the heart of Cork city centre.

The school is committed to creating responsible business leaders for a sustainable future and delivering a pipeline of talent on a local, national and international level.

The college is ranked as an international leader in the area of sustainability and the Chair will support UCC’s strategy of enabling the next generation of responsible business leaders and accelerating world-leading environmental research in Ireland.

An international recruitment process will commence for the Chair who will drive innovative research in the field of sustainability, develop sector leading new post-graduate programmes in sustainable business and who will work together with business seeking to drive sustainability across their organisation.

The funding will also support The AIB Sustainable Business Scholars programme which will be established for early career researchers who excel in their field.

Colin Hunt, AIB Chief Executive Officer, said, “AIB has put sustainability at the heart of our strategy. We are aligned with UCC’s vision to educate and guide business leaders who can balance environmental, social and governance goals with the ambition of delivering sustainable profits. 

“Managing climate change is the most important challenge facing this generation, and the role of businesses in supporting the transition to a low-carbon economy is pivotal. I firmly believe that we must not hand this planet on to our children in a worse condition than it was handed to us. 

“Green lending is proving to be the fastest growing part of our loan book and has also proven the most resilient during the Covid-19 pandemic underscoring that sustainability is also smart business,’’ he added.