Learning from sustainable business practices in Northern Ireland

Partners and stakeholders learn from existing experiences in Derry and Strabane.

Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme 2014-2020 funded EMERGREEEN project partners have met in Derry and Strabane (Northern Ireland) on the 24th and 25th September for the second Steering Group Meeting. The event, hosted by Derry City and Strabane District Council, has gathered partners, stakeholders and local experts interested in emerging technologies and greener communities.

On the first day, partners participated in a capacity building session led by EMERGREEN partner National University of Ireland in Galway (NUIG), to:

  • present the prototypes of the four digital services that are being developed for feedback
  • clarify unclear services needs and associated requirements collected during the interviews conducted so far
  • obtain more information on the Crowdsourcing App-based service needs from UH following their consultation with stakeholders & Faroe Islands
  • discuss how to ensure that participants can validate and evaluate the major releases of the services

Partners also reviewed project progress, management and communication activities.


Study visits and thematic seminar

On the second day of this project event, partners had the opportunity to attend a thematic seminar organised by the hosting partner. Derry and Strabane brought a series of topics that were of the interest of the partnership, among others, sustainable business practices. For example, partners presented the Binovation app, how it works and the benefits of using this type of technology for the end users.

Afterwards, Larry McAteer, Customer Experience Project Manager at NI Water, explained how they have developed an interactive knowledge base (Chatbot), an interactive Voice Response (VR) system, a customer self-service portal and many other digital offerings at NI Water. Furthermore, Conor Doherty presented 'Your Derry' online civic platform created as an exchange tool for the local area, public stakeholders and businesses. 

Attendees got the opportunity to listen to some local sustainable business practices. On the one hand, Ronan Stewart, owner of a local Hair Salon in Derry, explained how they are promoting the idea of an "Eco Salon" by applying different environmental principles to every aspect of his business. On the other hand, Rory Kelly, of Junk Kouture, talked about a recycled fashion competition which challenges second level students to create wearable fashion designs from junk materials. 

To close the project event in Northern Ireland, attendees could also visit the New 2 You Recycling Centre for recycling unwanted furniture or electrical items. They are upcycled and refurbished by unemployed and disabled people training in trade skills and then sold at affordable prices. It allows for re-skilling the local people, as well as helping the environment.