Less than half of Irish businesses believe that being a greener company attracts more customers.
New research carried out by Behaviour & Attitudes on behalf of SSE Airtricity found that just 42 per cent of businesses said they believed that being a greener business attracts more customers, although this was an increase of five points from July 2020.
Despite this, the number of businesses that said they believed the issue of climate change to be important while in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic also increased — up 10 points to 83 per cent, since SSE Airtricity’s last Green Business Sentiment Index was carried out in July 2020.
The number who said sustainability and climate change have an impact on their decision-making when it comes to purchasing and partnerships has also increased, up 11 points to 71 per cent.
However, although the majority of Irish businesses (85 per cent) consider themselves to be environmentally friendly, close to half (47 per cent) are unaware if the energy they use is renewable or not.
The research found that businesses see the cost of introducing sustainable measures as an obstacle, with 47 per cent claiming (unchanged from July 2020) it is the main hurdle in reducing their carbon footprint.
Some 15 per cent said they do not have enough information on methods of decarbonisation, while 31 per cent of businesses said they did not know what retro-fitting is – an increase of four points since July 2020.
Approximately 67 per cent of businesses said they are aware of the Government’s 2030 target for a 51 per cent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions – but just one in four are confident that the target can be achieved.
The results of the second instalment offer real promise as we’ve seen progress across a number of areas
Klair Neenan, managing director of SSE Airtricity, said: “The results of the second instalment [of the Green Business Sentiment Index] offer real promise as we’ve seen progress across a number of areas.
“It’s really encouraging to see that, despite the current challenges facing the Irish business community due to Covid-19 and economic recovery, there’s been an increase of 10-percentage points in the number of businesses that consider the issue of climate change to be of importance.
“This is hugely positive in terms of looking to a greener, net zero future. That sustainability and climate change remain a factor in the decision-making process is vital right now as we look ahead to COP26 in November, and what many are calling ‘the last best chance’ we have to tackle climate change.”
The research, aiming to gauge the sentiment among Irish businesses when it comes to sustainability and green practices, was carried out among a national representative sample of 352 business owners via phone and online from April 27th to May 13th of this year.