Case Study: Waterford Local Enterprise Office
Micro Enterprises may sometimes be considered slow in the adoption of policies and practices that support the sustainability and climate change agenda.
Over 25 SMEs and Micro enterprises across Waterford City and County were met with to assess the understanding of SMEs of concepts and actions associated with sustainability and climate change (mitigation and adaption).
The outcome of the research will help the SME and micro enterprises contribute to Waterford City and Council’s (WCCC) targets to make Waterford City a decarbonised zone by 2040.
Where the research was successful was it identified barriers to SMEs and micro enterprises in making changes to respond to the risks and impacts of climate change.
Among the barriers identified were confusion as to the meaning of many of the terms used to describe responding to climate change, such as being carbon neutral or acting sustainably. The other barriers described by respondents in making changes in response to climate change was the costs and disruption to their businesses which typically run on tight margins.
It is understanding these challenges and providing solutions is how business can adapt and benefit from the transition to the green economy.
Climate Action Plan 2023:Changing Ireland for the Better
Identify the challenges, seek solutions and prosper in the benefits
The Climate Act 2021 and the annual Climate Action Plans leave little room for manoeuvre. Key economic sectors, and industries must demonstrate that they are on a clear path to halve emissions by 2030 and achieve net zero by 2050.
Across the business sector from manufacturing to retail need to achieve 35% reduction in emissions by 2030.
This will be achieved by changing how we produce, consume and design our goods and services by breaking the link between fossil fuels and economic progress. Decarbonising industry and enterprise is key to Ireland’s economy and future competitiveness.
Decrease embodied carbon in construction materials produced and used in Ireland by at least 30%.
Reduce fossil fuel use from 64% of final consumption (2021) to 45% by 2025 and further by 2030.
Increase total share of heating to carbon neutral to 50-55% by 2025, up to 70-75% by 2030.
Significantly grow the circular economy and bioeconomy.