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Increase in SMEs’ interest in green supports – survey

By February 19, 2024No Comments

A new report shows the level of small and medium-sized businesses who are interested in grants to help them invest in sustainable measures increased by over 40% in the past year.

Uisce Éireann’s latest SME Sustainability Sentiment Survey also reveals that more than a third of SMEs see the availability of grants to offset the cost of investment as a key driver in making their businesses more sustainable.

Today’s report also shows that nine in 10 SMEs are seeking to retain or bolster investments toward sustainability in the next 12 months.

Uisce Eireann said that SMEs are actively seeking avenues to invest in greener practices, as 45% of respondents cite a lack of available supports as a barrier to implementing measures such as sourcing renewable energy and reducing carbon footprint.

38% of businesses also said they would welcome further information on how to go green.

But the cost of making changes understandably remains a key consideration for SMEs, as 78% identified cost as a barrier to investing in sustainable practices. Seven in 10 SMEs also considered cost as an influence when making investment decisions, the report states.

The Government has several grant schemes available to help businesses on their green journey, including the Energy Efficiency Grant, the the Enterprise Ireland Green Transition Fund, the Non-Domestic Microgen Scheme and the Climate Toolkit for Business.

Uisce Éireann has also trained 750 businesses in their Water Stewardship Programme since 2020.

David Broderick, Director of the Small Firms Association, said that small business owners care about the environment so it is not surprising to see the positive results reflected in this survey.

“That said, with the significant increase in the cost of doing business, small businesses are finding it more challenging to keep sustainability at the top of their agenda as some struggle to stay afloat,” Mr Broderick said.

“The SFA is actively working on behalf of our members to look for additional, easy to access, supports from government and their local authorities to overcome the barriers that small businesses face,” he added.

Geoffrey Bourke, Head of Customer Operations at Uisce Éireann, said today’s survey results show Irish SMEs remain committed to maintaining and improving sustainability measures, despite ongoing cost challenges.

“These businesses are aware of how important sustainable practices are, not only with their customers, but also for the green transition of Ireland,” Mr Bourke said.

He said the survey also reflects a growing interest in Government supports and advice.

“That more businesses than ever are seeking out this information shows the strength of commitment to taking sustainability action – and Uisce Éireann wants to help them achieve their aim particularly when it comes to being more sustainable in their use of water,” he said.

“Throughout a difficult time for small businesses, we stand ready to help them reduce their environmental footprint by conserving the precious resource that is clean drinking water,” he added.

Article Source – Increase in SMEs’ interest in green supports – survey – RTE

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