The survey provides indication of how far Irish financial organisations are on their “green transition”, he added, and whether they have established a protocol for achieving net zero, where the balance between the amount of greenhouse gases produced and the amount removed from the atmosphere is zero.
“More than six in 10 organisations [65 per cent] have developed, or are currently developing, their net-zero strategy, and three in 10 organisations have made moves to implement this strategy. Even the one in five who say they don’t have a dedicated net-zero plan have actually introduced measures to become more environmentally friendly,” Mr Kavanagh added.
Some are further down the track than others and that is to be expected, he said. “In the context of the raft of unprecedented challenges that businesses have had to face in the last two years, it’s understandable that some have had to place their climate change objectives on the backburner somewhat.”
But with the pandemic easing, it looked as if greater attention will turn back to addressing climate change within the corporate sector, he said. In the context of Ireland’s climate action plan for taking decisive action to achieving a 51 per cent reduction in emissions by 2030, “change is inevitable, maintaining the status quo is not an option”, he said.
“The 2021 plan is ultimately a roadmap for us, as a country, towards achieving net-zero emissions by 2050. All organisations, regardless of structure, size or sector, will have to play a role in this – every sector must adapt,” he pointed out.
The move towards a green, low-carbon economy is redefining focus for business, and the need to curb climate change and environmental degradation has placed sustainability at the heart of new growth and development, Mr Kavanagh said. Associated demand for greener processes and products from consumers had also brought about new economic and financial imperatives to keep pace with the rate of change.
In that light, “businesses have little alternative but to commit to the wider global commitment to net zero if they want to avoid being left behind in the race to meet changing market and consumer demands”, he believed.