Businesses Seek Government Help to Go Green

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By Chamber Press Office, 28 March 2019

Irish businesses need more help in order to become more environmentally sustainable and energy efficient, according to a new survey by business group Dublin Chamber.
 
A poll carried out by Dublin Chamber, the representative voice for businesses in the Dublin region, found that less than 1 in 10 companies (7%) believe that the Government is currently doing enough to help businesses become more sustainable. More than two-thirds (69%) said that the State must do more to aid companies looking to become more sustainable and more efficient. The remaining 24% of respondents answered 'don't know'.
 
The results of the survey, carried out by the Chamber amongst 215 companies in February this year, were announced this morning at the launch of Dublin Chamber's new 'Sustainable Dublin 2050' events series in Croke Park.
 
This morning's Sustainable Dublin 2050 event, sponsored by Pinergy, KBC Bank, Matheson and Transdev Ireland, featured a keynote from the Minister for Communications, Climate Action & Environment, Richard Bruton.
 
The business community's frustrations at a lack of Government assistance comes as companies are waking up to the potential benefits to their bottom line of adopting more sustainable practices.
 
More than half of respondents to the Chamber's survey (56%) said they were aware of the potential savings/profits that could be achieved from a more environmentally sustainable approach to doing business. A further 23% of firms said they were aware that savings could be made but that they did not have the necessary tools, knowledge or framework in place in order to capitalise. Almost 1 in 10 firms (7%) said they didn't believe there are any savings to be made from making changes.
 
Survey Reveals Recent ‘Green’ Moves
Four out five firms (82%) said they had made changes over the past five years that they believed have made them more environmentally sustainable. Some of the changes cited by respondents included: introducing a paperless policy, getting rid of single-use plastics, the introduction of waste reduction schemes, improved recycling policies, buying staff keep cups and changing to LED lighting. Others said they are now purchasing energy from renewable sources, while several noted introducing cycling to work initiatives and the transition to electric fleet vehicles.
 
Dublin Chamber is calling on the Government to ensure full engagement with the business community as Ireland seeks to transition to a low carbon economy. The call comes as Minister Richard Bruton gets set to launch a much anticipated All of Government Plan on Climate Disruption in the coming weeks.
 
The Chamber believes that the business community can play a key role in meeting the targets of any Government plan by changing work practices and influencing employees to adopt more environmentally sustainable behaviours. This opportunity should be harnessed by Government, the Chamber said.
 
Cost of Change Holding Firms Back
When it comes to barriers that are preventing firms from making changes to be more environmentally sustainable, almost half of respondents (43%) cited the initial expense of the transition as their top concern. Uncertainty about the type of changes to make was noted by 37% of firms, while 26% stated that being more sustainable simply wasn't a business priority.
 
Dublin Chamber Chief Executive Mary Rose Burke said the survey results were proof that the business community is determined to play its role in helping Ireland meet its climate change targets in the years to come.
 
Ms Burke said: "We've seen an increased demand from companies in Dublin that are looking for more help and information when it comes to becoming more environmentally sustainable. Businesses are once again focused on the need to become more sustainable. They realise that making changes will not only benefit the environment, but also their bottom line. The economic downturn means that, for the best part of a decade, many companies put sustainability on the back burner. This has changed considerably over the past 18-24 months as companies have woken up to the need for them to play their part. It is this demand that has led to us launching the Sustainable Dublin 2050' series which aims to encourage more companies to think deeper about green issues."
 
Dublin Chamber’s Sustainable Dublin 2050 series will run over the course of 2019, consisting of a total of four morning conference sessions. The events will focus on the key areas of sustainability for Ireland including transport, climate change, energy, waste and clean tech.
 
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For further information please contact:
Graeme McQueen | Head of Communications | Dublin Chamber | 086 212 6444 | graeme@dublinchamber.ie