Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees
Wednesday, 3 November 2021
Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation
Challenges to Ireland's Competitiveness: Discussion
I thank the council for coming in. It is great that the council exists, however, its opening statement has no mention of climate and I find that quite disturbing. To quote a billionaire, which I rarely do, Larry Fink, "climate risk is investment risk". That is what we need to move towards. Deputy Bruton touched on it but there is a lot of work to be done on carbon calculation of businesses to enable them to compete in the market. I have spoken to businesses in the community, ISME and local enterprise offices. They want help with the SME sector getting decarbonising supports and knowing their carbon footprint. It is not only an issue for themselves locally. Many in the private sector are working on their carbon reductions. You can see that with SuperValu, SAP and other multinationals. They say their biggest challenge is that their suppliers do not have carbon calculations or that they have not done enough on reducing their carbon footprint. When a large company puts in its carbon calculation, it must take all its suppliers into account. I raised this with the Tánaiste and, in fairness to him, he gave good money for it in the budget, with some €22 million for the SME sector to be digitalised and decarbonised. What does the council intend to do to support the SME sector into decarbonising so that it can be more competitive? The two are inextricably linked.