The Punt: Another reason to do the right thing
COMPANIES and community groups which have taken bold steps to reduce their energy consumption should be rightly applauded. Not only are they helping to tackle climate change, they're also reducing costs.
And for those seeking plaudits for their sterling work, the Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) has just the ticket. Nominations are being sought for its Sustainable Energy Awards, and firms which highlight the innovative ways they are reducing costs while cutting energy consumption can expect to feature.
Now in their 13th year, the awards are not just about a night out for a round of back-slapping. Since they first began, companies involved have reduced their energy bills by €1bn. There's sound business reasons for doing the right thing.
Sponsored by Enprova, and with the Irish Independent on board as a media partner, the awards are open to large and small projects from across the State, and across SMEs and large business, community, public sector, leadership and design.
SEAI Interim CEO William Walsh notes that sustainable energy is no longer a niche topic. EPS Group nabbed the leadership award in 2015 for its work coordinating dispersal of €2m in funding to 81 community and voluntary groups. Foxrock Golf Club took the small business award. Pictured are Majella Kelleher, SEAI, with Paddy Sweeney of Enprova.
Further information is at www.seai.ie/energyawards, and the closing date for entries is May 20 next.
Keatinge's Tolley-ho for coffee chain
The Punt's eye was drawn to a note in Tesco's full-year accounts this week that it had secured sole ownership of two companies - Eurphorium Group and Dublin-registered Harris + Hoole Holdings - for a total of £7m (€8.8m).
Harris + Hoole is a UK coffee chain that was established by three Australian siblings - Andrew, Nick and Laura Tolley - in 2012, as a joint venture with Tesco. The siblings left the chain last year, but had initially held on to their 51pc stake in Harris + Hoole, which they owned through their UK-based Taylor St Baristas firm.
Taylor St Baristas operates a number of coffee shops in London and one in New York. Both Tesco and Taylor St Baristas had directors on the Harris + Hoole board.
Among the previous directors of Harris + Hoole is PR Veteran and former journalist Doug Keatinge, who's a senior account director at Murray Consultants in Dublin. He was also once the head of investor relations at Denis O'Brien's Digicel operation. Keatinge and other Taylor St Barista-appointed directors at Harris + Hoole resigned last year when Tesco bought out the joint venture.
It turns out that Keatinge has a small stake in Taylor St Baristas, having invested in friends-and-family-type financing round a few years ago. Keatinge and Nick Tolley both studied at French business school INSEAD, and were introduced via a mutual friend as Taylor St Baristas originally sought an Irish non-executive director for Harris + Hoole. Last year the Taylor St Baristas raised almost £2m via crowdfunding to fuel expansion.