With Brexit and Covid-19 making the headlines of Irish companies operating in the UK for the past 18 months, it’s easy to overlook another major issue that is becoming more urgent by the day: the climate change.

ut with COP26 to be held in Glasgow later this year, even closer light has been shed on the changing environmental and sustainability conditions of the UK market and the business implications of its net zero ambitions.

The UK was the first industrialized country to enshrine its climate targets in law, pledging to reduce carbon emissions by 78% from 1990 levels by 2035 and reach net zero by 2035 2050.

This was complemented by recent announcements by the UK government, including its ten point plan for a green industrial revolution (released in December 2020), a new hydrogen strategy and an agreement on the offshore wind sector.

The UK government also plans to release a comprehensive cross-sector roadmap to net zero ahead of COP26 this fall, which is expected to provide greater clarity for all sectors.

The UK’s ambitious goals will drive fundamental changes in the business world.

Already, the UK Net Zero Challenge is rapidly impacting government policy and legislation, influencing consumer preferences, influencing investor decision-making and changing the way large companies work with partners in the government. Supply Chain.

It is essential that Irish companies operating in the UK are fully aware of these changing market dynamics and put in place solid plans to ensure the sustainability of their business activities in the UK.

To help, Enterprise Ireland launched Net Zero UK: Ready for a Green Future, a proactive market intelligence and information campaign designed to keep Irish businesses informed about UK net zero plans and their impact on deals.

Through an ongoing series of webinars, podcasts and reports, the campaign will highlight which technologies and verticals are likely to decline and which ones to grow and emerge, as well as the changing expectations of large UK companies as we rush ahead. towards a greener future.

This information can inform the strategic planning and R&D activities of Irish companies operating in the UK to both protect and grow their businesses for years to come.

It is important to note that the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy will also bring new business opportunities for Irish businesses. Working with Irish SMEs to identify relevant new business opportunities is a key objective of Enterprise Ireland’s Net Zero UK campaign.

While current challenges may have pushed net zero down the priority list of Irish exporters, it is imperative that this change – and quickly.

Irish companies are now being invited by their UK and potential customers to demonstrate their commitment to net zero and present their own sustainability plans throughout the procurement process. Increasingly, we are seeing UK companies wanting their supply chain to have achieved environmental accreditation through certifications such as ISO 50001 and ISO 14001.

Timely action on climate change can also enable business resilience, help attract top talent, increase operational efficiency and demonstrate to your clients your genuine commitment to sustainability.

Enterprise Ireland’s Net Zero UK campaign is complemented by the € 10million Climate Enterprise Action Fund, which provides a suite of products to help Irish businesses assess their current carbon footprint and develop a concrete decarbonization strategy for help to sustain their business.

This financial support goes hand in hand with the targeted sector information provided by the Net Zero UK campaign.

The UK remains one of Ireland’s most important export partners, and it is essential that Irish businesses rise to the net zero challenge and now take action to seize the opportunities and risks posed by the growing UK green economy.

Enterprise Ireland’s Net Zero UK campaign aims to support Irish exporters in this time of change, helping them to emerge stronger, more successful and more sustainable than ever before.

Darragh Cotter is Senior Market Advisor – Industry, Utilities and Clean Technology at Enterprise Ireland. Net Zero UK is part of Enterprise Ireland’s Evolve UK campaign. Resources and ideas are available on their website, www.globalambition.ie/markets-opportunities/uk