Irish companies who fail to disclose their environmental impact will increasingly be at a competitive disadvantage, given the increasing importance of the issue of climate change to their investors, customers and employees, according to CDP Ireland.

CDP Ireland’s Climate Change Report 2019 found that the number of Irish headquartered companies reporting on their carbon emissions rose 11% last year to 31 and where multinationals with operations in Ireland are included, the increase was 7% to 274.

The report also found that Irish companies achieved a better rating for reducing carbon emissions than the global average of businesses measured last year. 67% of the Irish companies reporting achieved an A or B rating from CDP, compared to the average of 49% from the more than 8,400 companies globally who were reviewed.

The report was launched at an event in AIB Group’s headquarters at which John Fitzgerald, Chair of the National Advisory Council on Climate Change, was the keynote speaker.
CDP (formerly the Carbon Disclosure Project) is the not-for-profit that measures environmental impact of companies on behalf of 525 investors representing US$96 trillion in assets. CDP assessed companies across a range of different environmental standards, providing investors and buyers with verifiable data upon which to base their decisions.

Irish listed Plcs making the top 10 in the report included Kingspan, AIB Group, Kerry, Smurfit Kappa and CRH. New responders for 2019 included Total Produce, Perrigo and Dublin City University, the first university in the world to report to CDP. 67% of companies reviewed received a B- or higher, an improvement from 63% in 2018 and just 35% in 2017. Kingspan and Accenture were amongst two companies in Ireland out of 179 globally to achieve the CDP A List rating.
The average amount of CO2 emitted by companies with operations in Ireland reporting to CDP was 66,228 tonnes, a reduction of 11% on the level in 2018. This reflects Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions: Scope 1 emissions are direct emissions from owned or controlled sources; Scope 2 are indirect emissions from the generation of purchased energy.

Brian O’Kennedy Executive Director, CDP Ireland Network, said: “2019 was a year of heightened focus on climate change, but also a year in which companies in Ireland did more to address these challenges, and have their efforts externally verified. CDP Ireland plays a crucial role to increase the transparency of Irish companies on environmental performance and showcase the country as sustainable location to do business. I am pleased to see the number of companies in Ireland reporting to CDP is rising and would like to congratulate businesses like Kingspan and Accenture for being awarded A List status. We believe that companies who do not engage in the disclosure process offered by CDP will be at a competitive disadvantage given the importance of climate change to their investors, customers and employees.”

Denise Maguire   Editor of Irish Construction Industry Magazine