€10m fund to help Irish companies compete in a low-carbon future

15 Apr 2021

Image: © kurapy/Stock.adobe.com

The Government’s new Climate Enterprise Action Fund will help companies reduce emissions and become more sustainable.

A new €10m fund aims to help businesses across Ireland reduce their carbon emissions and adopt more sustainable practices. This Climate Enterprise Action Fund will be administered by Enterprise Ireland and will serve companies at various stages of climate preparedness.

Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar, TD, announced the programme today (15 April) with Minister for Environment, Climate and Communications Eamon Ryan, TD.

‘The new fund will help a wide range of businesses to accelerate their planning or take the first step to compete in a low-carbon future’

According to Varadkar, business recovery from the pandemic will need to be sustainable. “We must break the link between economic prosperity and fossil fuels and fully embrace the transition to a low-carbon economy,” he said.

“The enterprise sector accounts for just over 13pc of the economy’s total emissions, so all businesses will have a part to play in achieving the 7pc per year, on average, emissions reduction that the Government has committed to over the next decade.”

This target was one of many set out by the Government in its Climate Action Bill, which outlines Ireland’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050.

Commenting on the bill today, Varadkar said that Ireland is now “one of the most ambitious countries in the world on climate”. This will bring considerable opportunities for businesses, he added, in areas like retrofitting, offshore wind and clean-tech.

Climate Enterprise Action Fund

Under the Climate Enterprise Action Fund, up to 850 companies at the early stages of implementing climate and sustainability action plans will receive funding. The goal is to help them measure their carbon footprint and get started on projects that will bring those footprints down through lower emissions and greater resource efficiency. Such plans will take into account a company’s supply chain, market opportunities and operations.

For businesses with more experience in sustainability, funding will be available for up to 100 to develop comprehensive business plans. These will span multiple years and will incorporate actions towards sustainability and against the climate crisis into the company’s overall strategy.

Finally, a small number of public and private partnerships will be funded to carry out high-impact feasibility projects, exploring new ways of working and how they could impact Irish enterprise.

Enterprise Ireland CEO Julie Sinnamon said that “substantial changes” are needed across the enterprise sector to meet both national and EU targets.

“Increasing customer demand for sustainable and innovative products and services will also provide more Irish businesses with opportunities,” she said. “The new fund will help a wide range of businesses to accelerate their planning or take the first step to compete and grow in a low-carbon future.”

The fund follows the launch of another Government-backed programme earlier this month to help Irish businesses respond to the climate emergency. A five-year initiative with Skillnet Ireland called Climate Ready will teach companies how to reduce energy waste and look for new opportunities.

Some businesses have already taken the first steps towards more sustainable operations. Last month, more than 60 companies in different industries across Ireland pledged to set science-based carbon emission reduction targets in the coming years.

Lisa Ardill was careers editor at Silicon Republic until June 2021