Retailers – Are You Climate Ready? Here’s What You Need to Know

Assets The Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill passed through the Irish Dail on Wednesday evening, June 16th, 2021. It sets ambitious targets to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 with a reduction of 51 per cent in carbon emissions overall by 2030 compared to 2018 figures.

It will involve an average annual reduction of 7 per cent. The Bill also provides statutory authority for the Climate Change Advisory Council, which will have a powerful role in overseeing the implementation of targets.

Most Irish businesses will have to re-skill and undergo radical change in the coming decade to meet the climate change challenges as Ireland seeks to halve its carbon emissions, Minister for Further and Higher Education Simon Harris has said. Companies will be provided with training on how to reduce energy waste, adopt renewable technologies, deliver cost savings and protect the environment with a view to reducing their carbon footprint.

Skillnet Ireland chief executive Paul Healy said “practically every industry, business and job” will be impacted by climate action in some way over the coming decade and now was the time to show courage and ambition. “Entire sectors of the economy will experience radical change resulting in the formation of new types of enterprises and green jobs,” he said.

The Low Carbon Pledge backed and supported by Business in the Community Ireland (BITIC) has 61 of the largest companies signed up. Carbon Declaration Statements will become the norm for businesses in Ireland.

The Low Carbon Pledge requires signed up companies to:
Record their entire Carbon Footprint, both direct and indirect carbon emissions.
Reduce carbon emissions that they are directly responsible for as well as play their part in reducing emissions across their supply chain.
Report publicly their individual progress, as well as collectively through the annual BITCI Low Carbon Report.
Regularly review their carbon reduction targets (SBTs) to align to the latest Climate Science.

Where do You Start?

For retailers, the first step is genuinely committing to energy and carbon reduction at board and management level and including it in the company’s overall strategic vision for the future. Designating a person with responsibility for sustainability and energy reporting who has the authority to implement meaningful change is key, someone who will drive this agenda forward. For employees who see their organisation making efforts to positively address climate change, is very motivating and you will get buy-in.

All retailers know that their significant energy users are predominantly refrigeration, air conditioning and lighting and there are well proven ways of reducing energy consumption in all these areas. But it’s about doing a little bit more, providing electric vehicle charging points in your car park, looking to source local produce for your shelves, looking at providing bins for plastic disposal, looking at options for your customers to refill shampoo, washing detergent etc. It’s about asking your supply chain to supply their goods in biodegradable packing. Look how quickly and easily we moved from plastic bags to reusable bags. It happened over night. Ask your employees and customers to come up with ideas, provide a suggestion box. Let them see you take this matter seriously. Word will spread.

And

• Agree an Energy Policy with your Board and Management (Make sure it is achievable)
• Start by looking at your electrical use, fossil fuel use and water consumption
• Identify your energy consumption for a 12 month period (This is your baseline and where you start your ‘energy reduction’ from)
• Communicate to and get buy in from your employees and other stakeholders
• Commit as an organisation to reduce energy consumption and reduce your carbon footprint
• Appoint an Energy Champion to take responsibility for your Energy Reduction Plan
• Avail of grants and resources with Enterprise Ireland, SEAI and Skillnet Ireland
• Commit to acting on low hanging fruit for the first year, turn off lights, fix any leaks, half fill the kettle in the canteen, heating on timer and put stickers up to remind staff and employees to do their bit.

If you would like to carry out an energy audit or would like further information on how to become Climate Ready please contact Bridget at bridget@ticcbox.com