62% of businesses in the financial services sector will sign or already have signed up to Ireland’s low carbon pledge. The aim of the carbon pledge is it being a starting point for its member companies to commit to cutting their carbon footprint, to report annually on progress, and develop a credible roadmap toward a “net-zero emissions economy.
Organisations Committed to Reduce Carbon Footprint
In a survey conducted by Compliance Institute on 166 organisations nationwide, comprised chiefly of compliance leaders in large financial organisations, it was found that while an overwhelming majority were open to committing to the reducing their carbon footprint, of those who said they would not or could not commit, the size of the organisation was cited as being the biggest challenge with 44% of respondents saying that they were “too small” to commit to such targets, while 22% said they simply would not have the resources.
Speaking of the findings, Michael Kavanagh, CEO of Compliance Institute,
“Overall, the fact that more than 6 in 10 organisations show an openness to signing up to the pledge in the next 12- 24 months if they haven’t already done so, is very encouraging and speaks to a high level of enthusiasm and commitment within the business community to do what is necessary to reduce carbon footprint and make progress towards net-zero goals. The Business in the Community Ireland pledge is the first dedicated national pledge generated by Irish businesses to set industry standards on sustainability and reduce carbon usage, with almost 70 of Ireland’s top businesses have already signed up.”
Reason to Sign up for the Low Carbon Pledge
The Compliance Institute survey also explored the reasons why businesses have trouble signing up for such a pledge.
Respondents were asked: If you do not believe your organisation would sign up to a pledge as outlined above – what is the primary reason for this?
— We are too small – 44%
— We wouldn’t have the resources to commit to it – 22%
— Reducing carbon emissions is just not currently on our agenda – 7%
— We don’t know enough about it – 27%
Mr Kavanagh commented,
“It’s understandable that someone running an SME might imagine their environmental impact is inconsequential. And equally understandable that financial consideration might be seen as a barrier to change. But all businesses regardless of size and scale will have to get on board sooner or later for both environmental and economic reasons
Environmentally friendly considerations have become an important part of consumer purchase behaviour. Any changes business owners can make to become more eco-friendly are important from an economic perspective, not just an environmental one. A recent report from the Environmental Protection Agency found that about half of Irish people say they have purchased from a company that is taking action to reduce climate change in the past year, with more than half also saying they intend to increase their consumer activism in the next year.
Paths to Sustainability
In practical terms, changes that businesses can make might include using recycled or sustainable packaging on products, using more eco-friendly processes if you are a service provider, or perhaps going electric on any company vehicle. Some beneficial in-house changes might be the retention, or offering of, remote working flexibility to staff to cut down on commuting, offering public transport incentives, using sustainable office stationery and print materials, making use of second-hand furniture in the office, starting to compost, recycling to a wider degree, and make energy-efficient changes including greener web hosting and data storage services.”
Mr Kavanagh concluded,
“There are many paths to sustainability, and they all matter and contribute to alleviating the environmental, waste, and pollution problems we are currently experiencing in Ireland, and around the world. Businesses that can’t see avenues by which to increase their sustainability can avail of carbon offsetting measures to move the dial further in favour of carbon reduction. Carbon offset schemes allow individuals and companies to invest in a raft of different environmental projects around the world to balance out their carbon footprints. These might include investments in clean energy technologies, waste reduction and reuse projects, tree planting schemes, or closed-loop solutions for industry and production.”
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