The Business & Finance ESG Awards celebrate exceptional leadership in the move towards a better future

By Business & Finance
19 April 2024
Pictured: Winners of the Business & Finance ESG Awards 2024. Photograph by Andres Poveda.

Yesterday’s Business & Finance ESG Awards, in partnership with Grant Thornton, celebrated exceptional leadership in Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) initiatives across a range of industries. Adam Harris, CEO and Founder of AsIAm, was awarded the ESG Leader Award, and he spoke passionately about promoting inclusivity and understanding for the autistic community. 

Celebrating Excellence in Sustainability

The Business & Finance ESG Awards, in partnership with Grant Thornton, is a key event in acknowledging the achievements of businesses committed to a sustainable future. This year’s ceremony highlighted 20 categories, reflecting the broad spectrum of ESG initiatives being undertaken across various sectors.

The Mansion House played host to this year’s awards, with a stage adorned in greenery and a host of ESG leaders discussing the potential for a greener and more equitable future.


Tracey Carney, Managing Director of Business & Finance, and Sarah Freeman, Managing Editor, opened the event.

Said Carney: “What a pleasure it is to welcome so many of you to our third ESG Awards ceremony, a testament to the growing commitment and remarkable strides we are collectively making in the area of Environmental, Social, and Governance principles.”

Pictured (L-R): Tracey Carney, Managing Director of Business & Finance, and Sarah Freeman, Managing Editor of Business & Finance. Photograph by Andres Poveda.

Carney thanked headline partner Grant Thornton, noting that the organisation believes sustainability must be embedded in “how all of us do business, not simply a tag-on as an afterthought.”

She continued: “They spend a lot of time helping organisations integrate sustainability into their day-to-day processes, so it becomes second nature and most importantly, that they can measure the progress they are making on their journey.”

Freeman took the opportunity to thank the awards’ Business for Good Partner, UNICEF.

“As we navigate through today’s awards, we are reminded of the impact of changes within the corporate world, from new ESG-related legislation to the accelerated adoption of renewable energy sources in response to the energy crisis. These initiatives exemplify our collective potential to foster biodiversity, combat nature loss, and build resilient communities for a better tomorrow.

“Let us remember that our collective actions and the partnerships we forge can indeed make a significant impact, both locally and abroad.”

ESG Leadership

Adam Harris, CEO of AsIAm, was honoured with the ESG Leader Award for his pivotal role in promoting inclusivity and understanding for the autistic community. 

Founded in 2014, AsIAm marks its 10th anniversary this year. Driven by a desire to overcome widespread misunderstanding and the barriers faced by autistic people, Harris has been instrumental in elevating autistic voices and sparking a national dialogue.

His recognition is timely, coinciding with World Autism Month. The audience listened attentively to Harris as he spoke about his experiences growing up autistic in a world hostile to his experiences.

Pictured: Adam Harris, Founder and CEO of AsIAm. Photograph by Andres Poveda.

“AsIAm is Ireland’s autism charity,” he said.

“Our team supports thousands of people right across the country, [from] our group-based support programmes, to our autism information line, to our autism ID card programmes, and through our many initiatives that are aimed at making our society more inclusive.”

Harris noted that AsIAm wants to partner with leaders across all sectors of Irish society to identify and create solutions to the barriers faced by autistic people.


Lisa-Nicole Dunne, Managing Director of Mantra Strategy and returning judge, said: “We saw increasing numbers and standards across the award categories. It is encouraging to see the level of innovation being embraced by businesses of all sizes in how they govern, lead, drive change across a range of activities, initiatives, and practices.”

Xerotech Battery Systems claimed the Grand Prix Award, sponsored by Grant Thornton. This was the second win of the night for the company, following its successful acquisition of the ESG Innovation Award, sponsored by Gas Networks Ireland.

Xerotech won the Grand Prix accolade for innovating in the realm of electrification. Judges were impressed by the company’s cost-effective and efficient solutions for battery electric vehicles, in particular a notable project involving electrifying an eight-ton excavator. 

The ‘Elcavator’ exhibited remarkable efficiency by utilising 80% of the battery’s power for productive work when in demand. This is twice as effective as its diesel-powered tank-to-wheel ratio, which stands at 40%.

Pictured (L-R): Nicola Mullen and Jonathan McCluskey from Xerotech Battery Systems. Photograph by Andres Poveda.

The Net Zero Carbon Award was presented to Sodexo Ireland for actively pursuing realistic targets to achieve net zero carbon emissions. Judges noted Sodexo’s “clearly defined and significant results,” as well as its ambitious Net Zero targets across all elements of businesses.

Marian Cronin, Business Development Director at Sodexo, said: “[This is] a great recognition for the teamwork everyone has been doing around Net Zero initiatives and the work we’ve been doing around our supply chain, small and medium sized enterprises, to help them along in their net zero journey too.”

Meanwhile, PTSB, winner of the Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Initiative, was celebrated for initiatives in creating a workplace that champions DEI, setting new benchmarks for corporate environments.

PTSB launched Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) as a strategic pillar in October 2017, seeking to foster an organisation that better understands its customers, and to fight against unethical behaviour.

PTSB has participated in the Women in Finance Charter working group, and has attracted 69 different nationalities to the group since 2021.

Norma Conway, Diversity & Inclusion, Wellbeing & Engagement Manager at PTSB said: “We are absolutely delighted. This is a  group effort. PTSB has been working on DE&I for many years now. It’s great to see recognition for all of our colleagues and employees.”

The Future ESG Leader Award, sponsored by SSE Airtricity was won by Kate Kerrane, H&MV Engineering.

Judges noted that Kerrane has been instrumental in advancing H&MV Engineering’s sustainability efforts, effectively developing and implementing the ESG and Net Zero Strategy. Her dynamic leadership and commitment to sustainability have markedly accelerated the company’s environmental initiatives.

Said Kerrane: “I’m absolutely ecstatic. I can’t believe I won the award, I was up against great competition. It’s so important to have people coming up and powering and spearheading ESG and sustainability.”

The Governance Best Practice Award went to Coolmine Therapeutic Community. Pauline McKeown, Chief Executive of Coolmine, said: “We’re absolutely taken by surprise and blown away … Coolmine has been providing services for 50 years, the diction services to the most marginalised in Irish society. This is a big reward and a big acknowledgement for the last 50 years, changing communities, supporting people.”

CoolPlanet claimed the ESG Company Award (SMEs) for its pioneering work in industrial-scale decarbonisation. 

CoolPlanet has helped its customers save over 8.7 trillion kWh of energy, €400m worth of energy savings, and 3 million tonnes of CO2. 

In 2023, CoolPlanet launched a tool within CoolPlanetOS called Net Zero Glidepath, uniquely illustrating decarbonisation opportunities. It enables companies to understand which of the decarbonisation initiatives they are considering has the most meaningful impact.

Other winners included Vodafone, who won the Social Impact Award (Enterprise), sponsored by Sia Partners, TCS, winners of the Energy Efficiency Initiative Award, sponsored by Climeaction, and more.


Partners for the Business & Finance ESG Awards 2024 included: Grant Thornton, SSE Airtricity, Sia Partners, Ibec, Diligent, Climeaction, Musgrave, Flogas, Xenergie, Verison1, Gas Networks Ireland, Unicef Ireland, UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School, Olytico, Aspire PR & Marketing, Onclusive, and Enterprise Ireland.

Full list of winners:

ESG Company Award (Enterprise), sponsored by Flogas Enterprise Solutions


ESG Company Award (SMEs)


Biodiversity Leadership in Business Award


Diversity, Equality & Inclusion Initiative


Social Impact Award (Enterprise), sponsored by Sia Partners


Social Impact Award (SMEs)

Speedpak Group

Net Zero Carbon Award

Sodexo Ireland

Energy Efficiency Initiative Award, sponsored by Climeaction


ESG Finance Award


ESG Investment Award


Governance Best Practice Award

Coolmine Therapeutic Community

ESG Team Award, sponsored by Musgrave


Future ESG Leader Award, sponsored by SSE Airtricity

Kate Kerrane, H&MV Engineering

ESG Innovation Award, sponsored by Gas Networks Ireland

Xerotech Battery Systems

Sustainable Procurement Award

An Post

ESG Consultancy Award

Sustainability Works

Green Logistics Excellence Award


Grand Prix Award, sponsored by Grant Thornton

Xerotech Battery Systems

Employee Well-Being Award


ESG Leader Award

Adam Harris

Read more ESG:

The Business & Finance ESG Awards announce Grant Thornton as headline partner for 2024 ceremony

ESG Awards 2024 – Entries now open

Winners announced at Business & Finance ESG Awards 2023

“The family farm has been decimated over the last 15 years” – Norman Crowley of CoolPlanet, winner of the 2022 ESG Leader Award

Brian O’Neill of Aviva, Winner of ESG Zero Carbon Award 2022

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