Four in five Irish businesses are doubtful about meeting carbon neutral targets by 2030, according to the latest State of Sustainability report by Ernst and Young (EY).
Ireland has committed to a legally binding target of net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and a reduction of 51% by 2030 as part of the Climate Act 2021. However, the EY survey reveals 80% of Irish businesses have low confidence in meeting the targets, marking a whopping 66% increase since 2020.
Head of Sustainability at EY, Stephen Prendiville, commented on the findings about Irish businesses and their carbon targets and said, “as organisations look more closely at their carbon ambitions, they’ve gained a deeper awareness of the various challenges the transformation will introduce. With this understanding, Irish business leaders are also experiencing a greater sense of concern around the achievement of stated goals.”
“Business leaders are also facing headwinds amidst the ongoing energy and inflation crisis and challenging geopolitical issues. These factors combined with less time to achieve the 2030 goals mean that we are seeing lower confidence reported.”
None of the survey respondents agreed sustainability improves profit growth, with just 40% of respondents agreeing the company’s sustainability efforts have positively impacted the bottom line.
Prendiville continued, “what is interesting is that no one surveyed sees ‘the ability to grow profit’ as a key factor in their sustainability efforts, and the sentiment that sustainability would appeal to customers plummeted. It’s imperative that businesses don’t rely on regulation alone and seek to understand more clearly the long-term business value of sustainability and net zero strategies.”
Sixteen percent of respondents reported concern their company is not doing enough on sustainability, down from 25% who felt the same in 2020.
He concluded, “the biggest concern in the results is the predominant sense among Irish business that they are doing enough when it comes to sustainability. Simply put, we need to do more. Decarbonisation requires a huge transformation effort and is a significant challenge for some organisations, but it is also a major opportunity. Businesses need a strategy with a credible implementation plan to decarbonise their business. This needs to be prioritised so businesses can realise the long term value opportunities created while achieving their sustainability goals.”
Source: Limerick Leader