Simon Coveney TD
Minister for Enterprise, Trade & Employment
Ireland’s economic story will be defined by the twin green and digital transitions. These transitions can be mutually reinforcing; technology and data will help achieve sustainability goals while the sustainability imperative will unlock new opportunities and markets.
This year, I am undertaking a series of ‘Building Better Businesses’ events around the country, with a focus on these themes. I believe that the transition to a low-carbon economy is akin to an industrial revolution for the 21st century.
Climate and the economy have been thought of as separate and disconnected. Today, we know that they are now fundamentally intertwined. The imperative for climate action will change the way we design, produce and consume the goods and services we use.
Start your decarbonisation journey
I am challenging all businesses to understand their carbon footprint — the emissions associated with their energy use, transport, supply chains or services — and to start taking meaningful steps to decarbonise.
Consider replacing a fossil fuel boiler with a heat pump, reducing packaging, sourcing locally or rethinking your services to include resource efficiency or ‘circular’ use of materials. Enterprise Ireland, IDA Ireland, SEAI or the Local Enterprise Offices can support you to get started. The Climate Toolkit 4 Business (climatetoolkit4business.gov.ie) can point you in the right direction.
Decarbonisation is not only an environmental necessity; it is now an economic one as well. Decarbonising existing industries while enabling growth and innovation in green sectors is therefore the priority. I don’t see this as a threat to our competitiveness; the risk now lies in not taking action and embedding the green transition in every sector of our economy.
Decarbonisation is not only an environmental necessity; it is now an economic one as well.
Economic and societal impacts
Ireland can be proud of the steps it has taken so far on the journey to net zero. We are now moving to the implementation phase, converting ambition into action. The commitment to climate neutrality by 2050, the introduction of carbon budgets, the establishment of the Sectoral Emissions Ceilings and the implementation of Climate Action Plans to meet these targets are all critical steps towards decarbonising our society and economy.
Decarbonisation will lead not only to lower emissions; but better jobs with better pay, warmer homes, cleaner air, cheaper and more secure energy in a prosperous, resilient economy.
Governments alone cannot solve the multi-faceted challenge we face — the private sector is critical to the net zero transition. Investment and innovation will fast track low-carbon technologies to mass-market solutions. Businesses will provide and derive many of the benefits of a low-carbon economy, not least in sustainable economic growth but also through higher living standards and better-quality services.