Ireland failing on sustainable business benefits
14 March 2019 | 0
Irish businesses score poorly compared to European neighbours for the perception of sustainable business practices as an enabler of success.
According to research commissioned by Ricoh Europe, among 2,550 European business leaders, with more than 100 Irish participants, Irish business leaders rank lowest in Europe when it comes to realising the benefits of environmentally-friendly approaches, with less than half (45%) seeing EU and global environmental regulations, including the Paris Agreement, as supporting success.
Businesses in Turkey, Spain, Italy and Switzerland scored highest in terms of achieving success from being more focused on the environment. The European average was 56%. Furthermore, 60% of Irish respondents say that while sustainability is nice to have, it is not a critical aspect of their business. This is at odds with the fact that 59% of Irish respondents agreed that sustainability will become an increasingly important success factor for an organisation as it grows.
“It’s very disappointing that Irish business leaders are not focusing on more sustainable business strategies and processes,” said Gary Hopwood, managing director, Ricoh Ireland. “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.
“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,” said Hopwood.
There are other areas where Ireland is also lagging Europe, the research revealed. Only 57% of Irish businesses see their company culture as an enabler of business success, which is joint lowest in Europe, alongside Slovakia. Less than half (47%) cited their organisation’s hierarchy as an enabler of success, and a quarter said that the willingness of people to adapt to change was inhibiting.
Ireland did fare better in comparison to other European countries regarding the role of technology in enabling employees to reach their full potential, be productive in their roles and achieve a good work/life balance. More than half (53%) also acknowledge it as a key factor in attracting new people to their organisation.
However, a significant 48% agree that people are often hesitant to change the technology they use in the workplace, while 60% wish they had smarter technologies to take care of administrative headaches and increase the amount of staff time spent on critical tasks.
Worryingly, 51% of Irish business leaders admitted that their business is being inhibited in reaching its full potential due to the technology used, and a similar proportion (53%) are concerned that the technology they are currently using will be unable to support their company’s future growth and success.
“Irish business leaders are neglecting a number of key factors that drive business growth and success,” said 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.”