8 out of 10 Irish businesses consider themselves environmentally friendly

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11th November 2020

8 out of 10 Irish businesses consider themselves environmentally friendly

SSE Airtricity has today published findings from its new Green Business Sentiment Index. The research, carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes on behalf of SSE Airtricity, highlights an urgent need for education around green energy and energy efficiency measures among Irish business owners. A staggering 49% of all businesses in Ireland don’t know if their energy is renewable; while the vast majority of businesses (84%) consider themselves to be environmentally friendly.

Ireland’s largest provider of 100% green energy1, commissioned this national report to gain a better understanding of the sentiment among Irish businesses when it comes to sustainability and green practices – particularly in light of the ongoing impact of Covid-19.

Klair Neenan, Managing Director of SSE Airtricity commented: “This is a hugely valuable piece of research in terms of understanding business sentiment in relation to sustainability in Ireland. It is heartening to see that despite the current challenges facing the Irish business community in relation to Covid-19, a remarkable 73% of businesses still consider the issue of climate change to be of importance and that for 60% of businesses, sustainability and climate change remain a factor in their decision-making process.”

Key findings from the research:

  • 73% still consider the issue of climate change to be important while in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic
  • 60% say sustainability and climate change have an impact on their decision making
  • 84% consider themselves to be environmentally friendly
  • 49% are unaware if their energy is renewable or not
  • Just 22% claim to avail of renewable energy
  • 46% still see cost as the main hurdle in reducing their carbon footprint
  • At least 29% are not using renewable energy
  • 37% believe that being a greener business attracts more customers
  • Over a quarter (27%) don’t know what retro-fitting is
  • 77% of businesses feel Government supports would help influence them in considering retro-fitting
  • 37% of businesses have incorporated retro-fitting into their premises

Workplace practices

Workplace practices are largely aligned to a more sustainable future, with many businesses having incorporated environmentally sustainable practices into their operations. Nine percent of businesses have yet to introduce any recycling in the workplace and similarly only 11% have incorporated electric vehicles (EVs) into their fleets, but there are more positive practices which include:

  • 73% of companies use keep cups and reusable packaging
  • 30% have cycle to work policy
  • 25% have car-pooling policy

Obstacles to green practices

The cost of introducing sustainable measures remains an issue with 46% of all businesses seeing cost as the main hurdle in reducing their carbon footprint. While 37% of businesses surveyed have incorporated retro-fitting into their premises, more than a quarter of businesses in Ireland don’t know what retro-fitting is.

Klair Neenan concluded; “The Index highlights that key decision makers need to be continually informed on the sustainable business solutions that are available in the market. For example, this research shows that 77% of businesses feel government supports would help influence them in considering retro-fitting. It’s clear that a targeted government scheme for SMEs could be successful in driving take up of energy efficiency solutions amongst businesses.

“We know, both anecdotally and from consumer research, that customers and investors are increasingly looking to partner with organisations that are more sustainable. As members of the business community, we must all play our part to integrate sustainable practices into our business plans and to make green, renewable or sustainable products and services more accessible to others. Working in partnership with Government and supported by progressive public policy, we can work collectively to help achieve Ireland’s climate action ambitions.”

To find out how your business can enjoy savings while working towards a more sustainable future, visit us at sseairtricity.com/business or call our team on 1850 88 28 03. 

Behaviour & Attitudes carried out this research on behalf of SSE Airtricity among a national representative sample of 362 business owners in Ireland. Fieldwork took place from 17th – 27th July 2020 using telephone and online methodologies in line with Covid-19 restrictions.


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