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DUBLIN: August 14, 2019. A survey of its members by the Irish Business and Employers Confederation (Ibec), representing 70 percent of the country’s private sector, suggests only half understand the term ‘Circular Economy’ and only 39 percent know of EU initiatives to drive sustainable change.

Conducted by Ibec in association with Ireland’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 49 percent of survey respondents agree a more circular economy presents a long-term business opportunity. However, only 10 percent of companies have a specific budget in place and 39 percent say the necessary funding would be a major challenge.

Circle Economy Ireland reportThe circular economy starts at the design phase of a product’s life with the aim of keeping resources in use for a long as possible, extracting the maximum value from them while in use, and finally recovering or regenerating products and materials at the end of each service life.

“There is an emerging consensus globally across business and society of the need to ensure that how we do business and live our lives is more sustainable,” said Ibec head of Infrastructure, Energy and Environment Neil Walker. “Our survey highlights the necessity for an education drive across business, policymakers and wider society of the merits and potential benefits of the circular economy.”

Walker added that new legislation is expected to have an impact on business in Ireland including improved waste management, reduced use of hazardous substances and improved design and re-usability of goods and services.

“The circular economy is the next industrial revolution and defines the future of commercial activity in Ireland and across the world,” declared EPA Programme manager Mary Frances Rochford. “Many world-class Irish companies already recognise this new reality and have adapted their operating models. These companies have reduced costs by cutting wastage and emissions; and have also generated new revenue streams by re-examining how materials move through their business and market. Those who fail to adapt are not only missing new growth opportunities but will also find that legislative developments will put pressure on current wasteful practices.”

Ibec is the largest business lobby group and largest lobbying organisation in Ireland representing business of all sizes spanning every sector of the economy.

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