Just a fraction of businesses believe emissions target achievable

SSE Airtricity’s Green Business Sentiment Index series was published on Monday

A significant majority say sustainability and climate change have an impact on decision making. File photograph: Getty

A significant majority say sustainability and climate change have an impact on decision making. File photograph: Getty

 

Just one in four businesses that are aware of the Government’s 2030 emissions target are confident it can be achieved, according to a new report.

SSE Airtricity’s Green Business Sentiment Index series, which was carried out by Behaviour and Attitudes, measures the progression of attitudes among businesses towards renewable energy and green recovery over the past 10 months.

It establishes that 67 per cent of businesses are aware of the Government’s 2030 target for a 51 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions, but that just a quarter are confident it can be achieved.

A significant majority, 71 per cent, say sustainability and climate change have an impact on decision making when it comes to purchasing and partnerships, which is up 11 points from July 2020.

With positive progress in some areas over the past 10 months, there is still some way to go for businesses to see the benefits of renewable energy as 47 per cent of businesses are still unaware if their energy is renewable or not, which is unchanged from July 2020.

Three in ten claim to use renewable energy, an 8-percentage point improvement on July 2020, with 47 per cent still seeing cost as the main hurdle in reducing their carbon footprint, which is unchanged.

Elsewhere, 83 per cent still consider the issue of climate change to be important while in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, which is up 10 points from July 2020.

Some 38 per cent have incorporated retrofitting into their premises, which is unchanged, while at least 23 per cent claim to be not using renewable energy, which is down 6 points from July 2020. Three in ten don’t know what retro-fitting is, which is up 4 points.

Some 78 per cent of businesses feel Government supports would help influence them in considering retro-fitting.

Almost eight out of ten businesses feel that 100 per cent green energy would have an influence on their energy purchasing decision, which is unchanged.

The potential benefits of green business can be seen in a five point increase in the number that believe being a greener business attracts more customers. That figure is up 5 points.

On workplace practices, more than a third have a cycle to work policy (up 5 points), while two thirds use keep cups and reusable packaging (down 5 points).

One in five have a car-pooling policy (down 5 points), while 14 per cent have incorporated electric vehicles into their company (up 3 points).

Businesses see the cost of introducing sustainable measures as an issue, with 47 per cent (unchanged) claiming cost as the main hurdle in reducing their carbon footprint. Some 15 per cent say they don’t have enough information on methods of decarbonisation.

Just five months out from the UN’s Climate Change Conference, almost two thirds (57 per cent) of Irish businesses say they have not heard of COP26. The November gathering of global leaders is designed to seek to find the best solution to climate change.