Sustainability resources

Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. This hub provides information, guidance and supports to help members understand sustainability and meet the challenges it presents.

Chartered Accountants Ireland

Upcoming Events


  In this week’s Public Policy news, read about the findings of a new report on the current and future skills needs of the Irish economy; and the new Localised Restriction Support Scheme available to businesses in Northern Ireland that have been forced to close due to health protection reasons.   Management skills essential to survival for SMEs and the economy A new report published by the Expert Group on Future Skills Needs (EGFSN) this week on SME Management Skills has revealed that 88 percent of Irish SMEs identify ‘developing management skills’ as an important strategic priority, but 49 percent of them have no formal budget to develop management and leadership. The report, entitled Leading the Way, stresses that management skills are essential to business productivity, resilience and survival. It recommends that management-development must be a strategic priority for all SMEs in Ireland, accounting as they do for almost 70 per cent of total employment in the Irish business economy. EGFSN advise the government on current and future skills needs of the economy and their impact on Ireland’s enterprise and employment growth. Minster for Further Education, Research, Innovation and Science, Simon Harris, T.D. has encouraged all SME managers to make management development a priority for 2021 and to take note of the resources, opportunities and supports available (many of them partly funded by the State): “This is not a time to pull back on investment in management training.  It is a time for SME managers to renew their commitment to world-class management skills and practices.” Echoing these sentiments, Minister of State of State for Business, Employment and Retail, Damien English, T.D., added that investment in management development is a commitment to the future. “The challenges facing the business sector right now make world-class management skills even more of an imperative for Irish SMEs”, the Minister stated, and he advised SMEs to contact their local LEO, Skillnet Ireland or representative organisation for advice. New Covid-19 support for business in Northern Ireland A new support was made available this week for businesses in Northern Ireland forced to close due to health protection restrictions. Cafes pubs, restaurants, hotels, hairdressers, beauty salons, campsites, museums are just some of the businesses that may be eligible for the new scheme. Within its first week, the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme received approximately 7,500 applications. Under the scheme, businesses operating within a commercial property will receive the following amounts  (based on the total Net Annual Value of the property from which the business operates) for every week the restrictions apply:  Lower rate (up to £15,000 Net Annual Value) – £800 Standard rate (£15,001 - £51,000 Net Annual Value) – £1,200 Higher rate (over £51,000 Net Annual Value) – £1,600 For those businesses who do not qualify for the Localised Restrictions Support Scheme, they may qualify for the new Covid Restrictions Business Support Scheme which will open shortly. More details can be found at this link.   More details, including eligibility, how to apply and amounts available, are detailed under Loans and Grants on the Chartered Accountants Ireland Government Supports - NI page here.   Read all our updates on our Public Policy web centre.  

Oct 23, 2020

In Public Policy news, read about progress on Ireland’s National Broadband Plan and how Ireland’s state pension age is set to stay at 66 for now.  In other news, an ESRI report shows that an increase in carbon tax could reduce poverty; and the EU has released its program to guide environment policy until 2030. Broadband Connection Points launched as part of National Broadband Plan A key element of the Government’s National Broadband Plan has been implemented with the connection of the first group of  50 ‘Broadband Connection Points’.   It was part of a new initiative –  ‘Connected Communities’ – which involves using Broadband Connection Points (BCPs) in rural communities to provide them with high-speed internet access at publicly-accessible sites. The BCPs are located in some of the most isolated and rural communities in the country.  Further installations are planned, and should bring the total number of connected public access points to over 300 in 2021. Announcing the initiative on 8 October, Minister for the Environment, Climate and Communications, Eamon Ryan, TD, said: “The National Broadband Plan is one of the most important capital investments in the history of the State.  It will have a transformative effect on those communities that have too often been left behind.” The BCP initiative is a collaborative effort involving the Department of Rural and Community Development, the Department of Environment, Climate and Communications, Local Authorities and the owners and managers of the BCP sites. National Broadband Ireland (NBI) will act as the Wholesale Service Provider (WSP), while Vodafone Ireland will act as the Retail Service Provider (RSP).  A full list of the connected BCPs is available here: No change to State Pension Age Ireland’s state pension age will not increase from 66 years to 67 years in January 2021. This is in line with the Programme for Government. During his Budget speech on 13 October, Minister for Public Expenditure and Reform, Michael McGrath, TD, said that a Pensions Commission would be established to consider the issue, although no details or commitment on a timeframe were given. Stronger together  - National Women’s Enterprise Day The theme of this year’s National Women’s Enterprise Day was ‘Stronger Together’. Organised by the Local Enterprise Offices, the event, which took place on October 14, was attended by over 2,400 owner managers and entrepreneurs. They joined online events, including interviews, panel discussions and networking sessions, as well as access to experts from State support agencies. An Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, TD, delivered the opening address and said that “The Government is determined to help more women pursue entrepreneurship as a career” and pointed to the significant increase (58 percent) in women taking up the training programmes that are available. ‘Progressive and poverty-reducing’ A report published by the ESRI has shown that an increase in carbon tax can in fact reduce poverty. The report, titled Carbon Taxes, Poverty and Compensation Options examines how carbon tax can be raised without increasing poverty and disproportionately affecting low-income households. The report also finds that by using a third of the €159 million that Revenue estimates would be raised by a €7.50 per tonne on targeted increases in welfare payments and benefits (as proposed in the recent Programme for Government), would reduce both child-poverty and poverty in the lowest-income fifth of households. The report shows that the overall poverty rate would be reduced by 0.2 percentage points. The report also referred to the national housing retrofit programme, and suggests that “it would be prudent to incorporate funding for the evaluation of grant effectiveness into any new retrofit programme”. Proposal published for European Commission’s Environment Action Program to 2030 The European Commission has presented a proposal for its 8th Environment Action Program in response to current sustainability challenges. The program will guide European environmental policy until 2030 and supports the environment and climate action objectives of the European Green Deal. It will also form the EU’s basis for achieving the United Nation’s 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals. The program calls for ‘active engagement of all stakeholders at all levels of governance to ensure that EU climate and environment laws are effectively implemented’. It suggests a new monitoring framework to measure and communicate progress on its six priority objectives below: “achieving the 2030 greenhouse gas emission reduction target and climate neutrality by 2050 enhancing adaptive capacity, strengthening resilience and reducing vulnerability to climate change advancing towards a regenerative growth model, decoupling economic growth from resource use and environmental degradation, and accelerating the transition to a circular economy pursuing a zero-pollution ambition, including for air, water and soil and protecting the health and well-being of Europeans protecting, preserving and restoring biodiversity, and enhancing natural capital (notably air, water, soil, and forest, freshwater, wetland and marine ecosystems) reducing environmental and climate pressures related to production and consumption (particularly in the areas of energy, industrial development, buildings and infrastructure, mobility and the food system)” The proposal will have to be discussed by the European Parliament and the Council before it is adopted. Read all our updates on our Public Policy web centre.  

Oct 19, 2020