What is The Grant Thornton Irish Funds Sustainathon all about?

Centered on the UN’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, participants are asked to assess and identify achievable and impactful steps that the Irish funds industry can implement. The proposed solutions could relate to product innovations, new platforms for engagement, corporate initiatives, use of technologies, or other ideas.

Sustainathon 2024 logo

What was the 2024 focus?

In 2024, the focus was on the reduction of single-used plastics in professional services firms and/or its linkage to artificial intelligence (‘’AI’’); specifically in support of SDG 12: Sustainable consumption and production, but also SDG 13: Climate change, SDG 14: Life below water and SDG 15: Life on land.

This theme came about considering the Earth Day 2024 theme ‘Planet vs Plastics’, which took place on 22nd April, and saw Grant Thornton kick off their annual celebrations of Earth Week from 22nd – 26th April.

The Sustainathon 2024 teams undertook a two-day workshop which focused on developing solutions for the elimination of single-use plastics in the workplace.

FAQs about Sustainathon 2024

How was this theme relevant?

Single-use plastics, although convenient in many industries, pose serious environmental threats. They contribute to pollution and can harm land and marine ecosystems as well as human health.

AI is increasingly vital in modern society, revolutionizing fields like healthcare, finance, and transportation. It's transforming how we interact with technology, enhancing efficiency, and enabling new innovations.

AI's ability to analyze data, predict trends, and optimize processes is being utilized to enhance recycling efforts and develop alternatives to single-use plastics.

This technology is used by various companies such as MKAIClean HubAmazon as well as Panda Ireland; and aids in better waste management, identifying recyclable materials, and fostering innovations in sustainable packaging.

It is an important topic of discussion in discovering the role of professional institutions in the elimination of single-use plastics in the coming years.

Who is the initiative open to?

Individuals at any level from Irish Funds member firms are invited to take part. Also, college students from any discipline (Climate Finance, Sustainability, Sustainable Development, Environmental Science, Finance, Geography and Engineering etc.) are also encouraged to partake.

Why get involved?

  • There are benefits of participating for both companies and for individuals;
  • Potential to build your professional brand within the wider Funds Industry;
  • Opportunity to learn from Industry experts;
  • Get to know and share ideas with other professionals.

For companies, it is an opportunity to participate in influencing the direction of the wider industry, to support a key Sustainability agenda, and for the potential to drive innovation.

Further information

The winning team will showcase their proposal at the Irish Funds Annual Global Funds Conference in May 2024.

Grant Thornton will support the winning initiative to bring it to implementation. This could take the form of providing technical resources, the provision of a workshop with Grant Thornton and the Green Team Network or helping to write a strategy document.

For more information, or any queries about Sustainathon, please email gtsustainathon@ie.gt.com or complete our contact form.