Two-thirds of Irish companies don’t feel able to reach carbon neutrality by 2030

30 Sep 2021

Image: © troyanphoto/

EY surveyed businesses on their attitudes to sustainability and found that many have not set goals for emissions reduction.

Two-thirds of Irish companies surveyed by EY said they do not think they could achieve net carbon neutrality by 2030.

The polling was done as part of EY Ireland’s State of Sustainability report and involved a representative sample of 250 Irish companies being asked a range of questions about their attitudes towards climate issues.

One of the issues identified in the report was a lack of goal-setting among respondents. Only 22pc of the organisations surveyed said they set had science-based targets for emissions reduction.

The majority of Irish companies also don’t engage in reporting that could help them track if they were meeting such goals. Just 46pc said they used recognised standards or benchmarks to measure their sustainability performance.

Many respondents said that they did not feel going above and beyond Government minimum standards for emissions reduction was necessary, with 53pc saying it was “sufficient” to meet national and EU environmental, social and government targets.

However, 71pc of businesses believe their leadership has a “good” or “comprehensive” understanding of sustainability.

“Developments in recent months have shone the spotlight on climate change. It’s undeniable that the time to act is now and businesses have a very real responsibility to take charge of the role they can play in addressing the global climate change crisis,” said head of sustainability at EY Ireland, Stephen Prendiville.

“It is crucial that Ireland as a nation commits fully to achieving its 2050 ambition of carbon neutrality as well as the more imminent 51pc reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030. The business community has a key part to play in realising this ambition.”

He continued: “The longer sustainability is perceived (and pursued) as a regulatory minimum, the more challenging it will be for businesses to truly capitalise on the opportunities that value-led sustainability can provide.”

Some companies in the country have been setting targets to cut their carbon footprints. Earlier this year, more than 60 companies in different industries across Ireland pledged to set science-based carbon emission reduction targets in the coming years and report on their progress.

But the recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report highlighted the importance of taking action now to tackle the climate emergency. Last month, a report on the climate crisis in Ireland found evidence of a range of impacts, including rising seas, increasing temperatures and greater rainfall.

Jack Kennedy is a freelance journalist based in Dublin