Irish companies among worst for investing in climate change measures

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Irish companies are at the bottom of the rankings when it comes to investing in energy efficiency measures, a major new study from the European Investment Bank (EIB) shows.

Companies in the Republic of Ireland invested just 6 percent of their budgets in such measures last year, leaving the state, along with Greece, as the worst performing in the European Union. By way of comparison, French companies devote 19% of their investment budget to initiatives of this type.

Irish and Greek companies were also the worst for investments aimed at tackling climate change, with just 19% of indigenous companies investing money there, slightly above the Greek figure of 18%. Finnish companies invested 62 percent in measures compared to the EU average of 45 percent.

In a country-by-country analysis, the EIB found no positive element in the initiatives of Irish companies to solve environmental problems. Only 14 percent of companies perceived climate change as having a major impact on their business, compared to 23 percent on average in the EU.

Additionally, 24% of companies predict that environmental transitions will have a positive impact on demand and reputation, with the greatest concerns voiced over supply chain issues.

Climate targets

The share of companies that say they invest or plan to invest to tackle climate change is lower than the EU average, with just 33% of companies intending to put money aside for this. Uncertainty over climate impacts was the most cited barrier to investing in measures to tackle environmental issues, according to the study.

The EIB study shows that just under one Irish company has set climate targets, compared to a European average of more than two in five. In addition, only 10 percent of companies have dedicated climate staff, compared to 23 percent on average in the EU.

About two-thirds of Irish businesses say they have concerns about energy costs. This is considerably higher than the 36 percent across the EU. However, only 36 percent of businesses in Ireland have completed an energy audit.

According to the report, almost half of companies in the European Union have invested in energy efficiency, up from 37% in 2019 to 47% last year. This marks an increase in investments compared to their counterparts in the United States.

While EU companies show commitment, greater awareness of the risks of climate change will be key to increasing climate investment, the study’s authors said.

The catastrophic precipitation and terrible loss of life this summer should leave no doubt about climate change. We can no longer afford a wait-and-see attitude ”, declared Ricardo Mourinho Félix, Vice-President of the EIB.

“Our latest study shows that if we want the transition to a greener economy to be successful, awareness of these risks is important: EU businesses that understand these risks are more likely to invest in climate action.” , he added.

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