Oireachtas Joint and Select Committees

Wednesday, 3 November 2021

Joint Oireachtas Committee on Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation

Challenges to Ireland's Competitiveness: Discussion

Photo of Richard BrutonRichard Bruton (Dublin Bay North, Fine Gael) | Oireachtas source

I would like to return to the issue of enterprise and the environmental adaptation it needs to make. I am not sure if enterprise has seriously addressed this and even the way Mr. Gilvarry presents it, that enterprise is responsible for a small share, understates the contribution of the enterprise sector. Enterprise uses substantial amounts of transport, which is attributed to the transport sector but is still coming from enterprise, and it has a lot of buildings which are generally poorly energy rated. Huge adaptations are needed in the enterprise sector and while the climate plan will set out its first cut at the policy tools we need and the choices we make the council needs to focus on this more because the choice of those tools will affect our competitiveness.

I have done a report on the circular economy for the Committee on Environment and Climate Action. The council should be advocating for sectoral audits that look at creating a sense of obligation in enterprise to redesign its supply chains and look at things like the repairability and end of life treatment of its produce, the necessity for packaging and so on. I do not see another way for Ireland to get a competitive edge in this new economy unless advocates such as the council recognise and point out to Government and enterprise the changes that are needed. I urge that more work would be done in that area.

Has the council made a contribution on the reform of the leaving certificate? One of the most important decisions that will be made in the next 12 to 18 months is the direction of reform in the leaving certificate because it will trigger many of the things Mr. Gilvarry is talking about in the areas of productivity, skills, capacity for innovation and so on. Has the council looked at this and has it given Government any guidance on the direction of travel of reform of the leaving certificate?


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