Saturday 23 March 2019

Irish business leaders view sustainability as 'nice-to-have' rather than critical to success

Gary Hopwood
Gary Hopwood
Louise Kelly

Louise Kelly

Sustainability is viewed by the majority of Irish business leaders as a growing priority for an expanding enterprise - yet less than half are actively adopting environmentally-friendly approaches.

According to new research, commissioned by Ricoh Europe, of 2,550 business leaders across 24 countries, Irish respondents actually rank lower than their European peers.

Just 45pc - based on responses from 100 business leaders here - see EU and global environmental regulations as an enabler of success, compared to the European average of 56pc.

Furthermore, despite 59pc of Irish respondents believing that sustainability will become an increasingly important factor for the firm's success going forward, almost the same amount (60pc) stated it was nice-to-have rather than critical.

The survey revealed that businesses in Turkey, Spain, Italy and Switzerland scored highest in terms of achieving success from being more focused on the environment.

Ricoh Ireland MD Gary Hopwood said that it very disappointing that Irish business leaders are not focusing on more sustainable business strategies and processes.

"Not only is it detrimental to the planet but it is also naïve considering that care for the environment is now increasingly important for prospective customers and employees. It can be the deciding factor for people when choosing a provider to partner with or a company to work for," he said.

"As well as potentially jeopardising company growth, regulations have also been introduced to ensure that organisations are prioritising sustainability and lowering their carbon footprint.

"By not doing so, Irish business leaders are impacting on Ireland’s ability to adhere to requirements, such as those set out by the Paris Agreement, and companies will increasingly be penalised for not complying with environmental law."

The benefits of company culture on the organisation is also a bit of a blind spot for Irish business leaders as just 57pc of respondents, lower than the European average, saw this as an enabler of success.

However, in terms of recognising the power of technology in improving productivity, 53pc of those surveyed view it as a key factor, similar to other European business leaders.

Still, half (51pc) admitted the technology being used is acting as a barrier to achieving full potential within the firm and 60pc believed more advanced equipment or systems would help improve operations.

"Irish business leaders are neglecting a number of key factors that drive business growth and success," said Mr Hopwood.

"Company culture and environmentally-friendly processes have become as important as the skills of employees and technologies in the workplace.

"The mentality towards change is also an issue and, when coupled with concerns around technology, has the potential to cause serious problems in years to come – that is if organisations survive."

Online Editors

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