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  • Writer's pictureTom

Only the Irish could fight climate change by throwing a party

Updated: Feb 13, 2020

Mary Robinson gave the battle cry for raising ambition on climate action at home and abroad in front of over 300 change makers from across Ireland at the Climate Cocktail Club’s Christmas Cracker event - 17th December 2018.

Climate Cocktail Club, is a not for profit organisation set up by two friends, Ray O'Neill and Tom Popple, to bring people together around the topic of climate change. “Climate Cocktail Club is about magnifying the positive impact we can have on the climate by making connections” said Ray O'Neill, renewable energy and sustainability investor. “We’ve opened networking groups in Dublin, Cork and Amsterdam already, with London and Sri Lanka kicking off in the new year. Our ambition is that every major city will have a Climate Cocktail Club chapter, providing a community where committed individuals can scale up their action”.

Mary Robinson, former President of Ireland and current Chair of the Elders was on hand to open the night, and with Ireland ranking in last position in the EU28 countries for our efforts on climate change, the “Clubbers” were all ears when it came to Mary’s motivational words. Mary spoke about the impact of climate change on communities today, the topic of her new book, Climate Justice, and the ongoing fight to fairly transition communities to a sustainable future. The session was chaired by Rebecca Fay, Chief Marketing Officer at Natural Capital Partners, who says “Mary is using her position and influence to present climate change, its effects and its possible solutions, in a new and much more inspiring way – showing us individuals from a vast array of backgrounds who are not complacent and are successfully delivering solutions. It’s a great privilege to talk to her.”

Both Ray and Tom agree it’s easier sometimes to do business in an informal setting and the response they have received so far, and interest overseas, has been inspiring. “Clubbers are looking for three things: Knowledge - they want to know about the realities of climate change and the opportunities that are presented for taking positive and restorative action,” said Tom Popple, Climate Change and Sustainability expert. “The second is a new purpose-led career that will enable them to create more impact; and third, finance, to fuel their start-up or project and realise their ambitions. The way we engage people on these three subjects, and beat the climate deniers, is to throw a better party than they can!”

The funders behind Climate Cocktail Club Christmas Cracker are leaders in their own right and include Crowley Carbon, a huge Irish success story employing hundreds of staff in the energy efficiency sector, Natural Capital Partners, a global leader in corporate climate action programmes, Marks & Spencer Ireland, widely recognised globally as the pioneer of sustainable retail and Green Belt, Ireland’s largest private forestry group. The carbon footprint of the event was reduced to net zero through emission reductions created from Vita's cookstove carbon offset project.

"Marks & Spencer is delighted to support Climate Cocktail Club, we are relentlessly optimistic about creating a positive future for everyone. Climate Cocktail Club creates the space for conversations that inspire, resolve and motivate which is really important and I can’t wait to see how these events help us all move to a more positive future quickly." said Carmel McQuaid, Head of Sustainable Business at Marks & Spencer, who was at hand to handle complements of the amazing Christmas buffet Marks & Spencer Ireland provided.

But the founders are not stopping there. Their plan is to extend the reach into every community, business and school through Climate Coffee Club. “While the Climate Cocktail Club might be for cities, the Climate Coffee Club is for small community groups. It’s not about the cocktails or coffee really. It’s about making those connections and acting on them. The odd pint or cup of tea is fun but we really want people to walk away with a new idea, contact or a project to work on. If that happens, we’ve done our job.”


Notes to editors:

About Climate Cocktail Club: The Climate Cocktail Club (CCC) is a not-for-profit networking platform for sustainability professionals who like cocktails (beer or any other glass-based refreshment!). Founded by Tom and Ray for no other reason than to get to know and connect like-minded people over a drink or two to raise ambition and drive action on climate change. Initially launched in Dublin, CCC gathered the attention of would-be clubbers across Ireland and internationally. With new Chapters launched in Amsterdam, Cork, Sri Lanka and London.


Ray O'Neill – Mobile: 087 649 9444

Tom Popple – Mobile: 087 916 8799

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