Going green: The sustainability challenges for businesses

Electric Ireland Business Show


Tomás Sercovich, CEO of Business in the Community, was joined in conversation recently with Dermot McArdle, Head of Business Markets with Electric Ireland, to discuss the sustainability challenges for businesses. The fireside chat was part of a series of talks and presentations for The Business Show.


Dermot spoke about how the electricity industry has led and facilitated the development of the wider economy in Ireland. Dermot noted that energy efficiency is not something that has suddenly become en vogue for the electricity industry and that environmental concerns have always played an integral part in the industry’s evolution.

It has always been more efficient to manage demand than build new infrastructure. As a result, industry has had to adapt as it led the charge in decarbonising the wider economy.


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Dermot and Tomás discussed how a big success in Ireland’s journey to a low carbon future has been our adoption of renewables, and wind energy in particular, in recent years. The emergence of self-generation in the business sector has also played a pivotal role in energy efficiency. This model is now being adopted widely by households through solar energy.


A key driver of this increased take-up has been the advent of technology in the energy sector. Dermot noted that as customers – both businesses and households – better understand their energy usage and consumption data, they can make smarter choices and reduce overall usage and costs.


Dermot spoke about how the idea of demand data has enabled businesses to actively manage their energy for many years.

Collaborating and providing support to business customers is a key element of Electric Ireland’s strategy in leading the transition to a low-carbon future.

Electric Ireland has been able to deliver on this through Business Online, our platform which provides a range of online services to help businesses manage their energy information. Through Business Online, small and medium sized businesses can also avail of SME Premium Insights which offers businesses greater control and provides personal recommendations on how to optimise energy usage and reduce energy bills.


Dermot and Tomás also talked about how sustainability is a central element to public and private procurement. In all parts of a business supply chain today whether that is tendering for a public sector contract, or supplying a manufacturing company, your sustainability credentials are vital to your value proposition.  


Dermot and Tomás explored how the idea of boosting sustainability credentials is not just an exercise in compliance, or an opportunity to enhance reputation, but rather about how businesses can play their part in helping us all on our journey to a low carbon transition. Like investing in other areas of a business such as resources, technology, security – the area of sustainability is no different.


In embracing sustainability throughout an organisation’s operations, a real difference can be made both to the environment but also to the efficiency of how your company is run. Dermot accepted that the idea of embracing sustainability is easier said than done for businesses and how as an experienced supplier, Electric Ireland works closely with its business customers to ensure they can meet their sustainability commitments and needs.


The discussion concluded with an overview of the challenges facing businesses when it comes to sustainability. Dermot advised that there is no debate on the sustainability agenda and the business sector needs to rise to the challenge. He noted that energy costs are a big component of overall business costs. While energy costs are at the mercy of policymakers and international markets, there are still things businesses can do to play their part. Energy security is another key consideration for businesses.


Dermot noted that it is fine to talk about adopting renewables, but we need to ensure there is a secure supply of energy. To meet these challenges, we all need to make changes that are realistic and sometimes those early steps are the most difficult. Dermot encouraged businesses to embrace technology and understand better how they can make small steps to a low carbon future. Partnering with energy experts and learning more about how operations consume energy are essential for businesses on this journey.


Watch the full webinar below:


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