As part of our mission to inspire companies to adopt best practice in Corporate Responsibility and help them benchmark their activities in this area, Business in the Community Ireland has published the report“Making consistent impact: Environmental Trends, Best Practice and Supports” which highlights the trends, challenges, best practices and behaviours of our members in relation to their environmental responsibility.
This report will inform businesses of emerging gaps and next areas for development as well as their common strengths. It will also help inform our service delivery, and that of other business support agencies, ensuring we are targeting the most relevant and challenging environmental issues for business in Ireland.
The last decade has seen immense change in how Irish businesses approach their impact on and their responsibility for the environment, a key aspect of broader Corporate Responsibility. In 2013, Business in the Community Ireland made a commitment to better understanding the trends and best practices of our members in this area. This report is the culmination of this commitment.
The information for this report was gathered from 26 member companies that either completed the Business Working Responsibly Mark or participated in environment reviews. Participant companies provided information on their policies, practices and performance across a range of environmental aspects. A number of examples are included in this report that demonstrate best practice among our members.
The commitment of large Irish companies to being environmentally responsible has now become the norm, with 92% of companies surveyed having an environment policy in place and a similar percentage having set environmental objectives and targets. 77% of companies had an Environmental Management System (EMS) in place with 58% being certified to ISO 14001.
Businesses are now also seeing this as an issue worthy of senior management responsibility with almost three quarters of companies having appointed somebody at this level to take responsibility for environment (or in some case the broader remit of sustainability).
However, environment programmes still need to be developed to include issues such as water and biodiversity, which are currently lagging behind the other environmental aspects. In addition there is also now a real opportunity for large companies to demonstrate leadership by using their influence and skills to drive best practice across the supply chain.
The benefits to business of taking action on the environment should not be underestimated. These benefits relate not only to cost savings and environmental improvement but also wellbeing and links with the local community. Setting environmental issues in the context of broader Corporate Responsibility helps to ensure that these multiple benefits are realised.
Business in the Community Ireland undertook this review to understand the environmental trends among our members and to inform businesses of emerging gaps and next areas for development. Further to this we make the following key recommendations for all businesses in Ireland:
• Businesses should seek to understand the wider benefits of environmental action to the business e.g. wellbeing, employee and community engagement and how it drives further action on Corporate Responsibility.
• Businesses are well positioned to show leadership by using their influence and skills to drive change in the supply chain, in particular with SMEs.
• As stated in Government policy, leadership from the Government on sustainable procurement is required to drive further change in this area.
• Behavioural change and employee engagement in this area should be strengthened to ensure long-term sustainability.
• The issue of biodiversity, which provides businesses with such a range of goods and services, needs to be championed by business.
• Businesses must demonstrate openly and honestly the progress, or lack thereof, they are making on the targets and commitments they have set.
We hope that this report will prompt further action in this area, inspiring businesses to take on new challenges and continually evolve their approach to environmental sustainability.
Click here to download the report
For more information regarding this report please contact:
Corporate Responsibility Consultant
Business in the Community Ireland
T: +353 (0)1 874 7232 (office)
T: +353 (0)86 776 5487 (mobile)