The Transition to a Low Carbon Economy
In recent weeks the SFA have met with members, stakeholders and Government officials on how the transition to a low carbon economy and society will create significant challenges as well as opportunities for Ireland’s small firms. In order to support our members with this transition we have put together the below plan identifying the actions and recommendations needed to empower small firms to make the transition.
Small business owners care about the environment and have already begun taking steps to reduce their emissions. Nevertheless, more needs to be done and small firms must think ahead to how they can become more sustainable in the coming months and years. Government must work with small firms to reduce emissions without negatively affecting our competitiveness. Investment in the next generation of low carbon businesses and entrepreneurs is needed if they are to play a role in the new green economy. In addition, small firms must be empowered to adapt to severe weather and to conserve water and energy.
Actions to be taken by the SFA
- Provided evidence to various Government and industry consultations, working groups and reports, including the Committee on Communications, Climate Action and Environment.
- Engage with key stakeholders such as:
- SFA members;
- Department of Communications, Climate Action and Environment;
- Irish Water;
- Energy sector;
- Transport sector;
- Insurance sector;
- Local authorities; and
- Financing authorities.
- Call for targeted supports and incentives to help small businesses overcome the high capital costs and long payback periods of transitioning to a low carbon economy.
- SFA will support the Government to achieve the 2030 targets set out in the Climate Action Plan 2019.
- Undertake research to look at whether small business access to flood insurance is being reduced due to the current state of our insurance market and changes to our climate.
- Provide advice and information about resilience planning for small businesses.
- Engage with local authorities to ensure:
- Continued funding for strategic flood defences;
- Improved waste management systems and infrastructure;
- Continued investment in educational and training programmes; and
- Enforcement of ant-littering laws and EU wastewater legislation.
- Improve small firms access to information on environmental sustainability.
- Provide small firms with the tools and incentives to further reduce their carbon footprint.
- Support small firms in their innovative efforts.
- Turn sustainability into a first-mover advantage for small business.
- Improve access to finance.
- Despite the uncertainty of Brexit government and business actions in this area need to continue.
- Enhance small firms access to skills, talent and external advice.
- Ensure that national legislative activity does not generate barriers to trade or entrepreneurship.
- Provide small firms with the tools and incentives to transition to a low carbon and circular economy.