UK Net Zero Construction Report

This report is a guide for Enterprise Ireland clients targeting or operating within the UK construction sector to inform and support their navigation to the start line of a journey that leads to net zero carbon emissions.

A key focus of this report is to prioritise the key factors that address the question of Why focus on emissions? (making the business case) and to demystify the question of What? (a decarbonisation journey could look like).

In addition, we feature interviews with some of the UK’s most influential property and construction companies including, British Land, Mercury Engineering, Mace Group, Arup and Willmott Dixon.

Click the below image to view or download the complete report.


The eCommerce boom in Germany

Germany has always been a nation of online shoppers, but Covid-19 has seen eCommerce become even more deeply rooted in society – with 65 million people, or 80% of the German population, now purchasing online on a regular basis.

And as the country has the largest economy and consumer market in the Eurozone, Cathy O’Shea, Market Executive for Trade Development, Germany, at Enterprise Ireland says it couldn’t be more important to Irish companies.

 Popularity of online shopping to continue

Huge German digital retailers like Zalando will be familiar to fashion-forward Irish consumers, or those who work in their Dublin offices, as the multi-national mega-retailer took in profits of nearly €8 billion in 2020 alone,” she says. “But this is only the tip of the iceberg in the German eCommerce boom, as store closures due to the Covid-19 pandemic didn’t just create a new wave of online shoppers, it also activated a new wave of online shops. So while stationary retailers were forced to close their doors amid varying levels of lockdown, this has made the eTail environment more competitive than ever.”

This, she says, is reflected across the whole Eurozone, which saw record-breaking eCommerce sales of €717 billion last year – and highlights the Eurozone opportunities on our doorstep and the benefits of accessing the biggest free trading area globally with little friction.


Irish businesses successfully trading in Germany

The market expert says virtual selling and digital networking are not going anywhere fast. So if you’re missing a virtual sales capability, you have a skills gap. But there are a number of Irish companies with very successful business relationships in Germany.

“Increased competition means that eCommerce retailers need to pay critical attention to every customer touchpoint and focus on excellence behind the scenes to stand out from the crowd,” she says. “So there is a clear demand for innovative solutions which help connect online retailers to their customers.

“Over the last year, we’ve really seen eCommerce and Retail Tech innovations out of Ireland grow their business in the DACH region, one example being Luzern – a leading eCommerce platform and related services provider, specialised in delivering innovative strategies for Amazon Marketplaces.

“Nowadays, up to 70% of product searches begin on Amazon, making it the largest search engine for eCommerce. Essentially, if you are a growing brand, Amazon is a must for getting discovered by new customers and this is where Luzern comes in – they help companies to reimagine their Amazon strategy and find new ways to protect their brand, while also increasing their online revenue.”

Opportunities for innovative Irish firms

According to O’Shea, Luzern isn’t the only Irish company making its presence felt in the German market.

ChannelSight is another great example and is one of the fastest growing Irish start-ups in 2021,” she says. “Their software is used by hundreds of brands across 65 countries, and they have experienced particularly rapid growth over the last year as the explosion of online retail has prompted brands to invest in eCommerce technology.

“In the DACH region, it works with multinational brands such as BSH, one of the global sector leaders in home appliances, and Tado, an emerging technology company and European leader in intelligent home climate management. So it is great to see German retailers embracing Irish solutions and seeing significant growth as a result – and these are just two companies of many. For any other businesses wishing to avail of eCommerce opportunities in the Eurozone region, Enterprise Ireland can support them in accessing the market.

“And in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, there are distinct pros for Irish companies looking to export as Irish SMEs are tech savvy, and digitisation is on top of the political agenda in German-speaking markets. As well as that, Irish companies react fast, deliver on time and are quick to pivot when hardship strikes – this reactivity and reliability goes a long way when doing business in the DACH region.”


Research is vital

But despite the fact that there is an Irish advantage in the region, the market executive says that buyers have high standards and Irish companies need to be able to show their commitment to the market and come prepared if they are to win business.

“The value proposition needs to be clear, well-defined, and specific in order to make an impression,” she advises. “And as a Market Executive in Enterprise Ireland’s Düsseldorf office, my role involves supporting Irish client companies to access market opportunities in the DACH region – so market research, buyer introductions and in-market connections are all areas that we can assist with across the whole Eurozone – even in the virtual environment, securing some face time with the right decision maker can go a long way.

“This is why we built a virtual 1:1 networking into our digital Consumer-Centric eCommerce event which took place on June 10th. The event was all about the German perspective on the eCommerce market right now, looking at the trends, pain points and opportunities the future will bring in this area. It’s an exciting time to be selling online and it’s going to ignite some big conversations and we wanted to accommodate that.”

Enterprise Ireland’s Market Research Centre offers world class market research reports to help inform market strategy. To find out more about doing business in Germany, visit our German Market page.

Out of their comfort zone and into the Eurozone

Industry across every sector of the country has been affected in some way or other by Brexit. But Ireland is still very much a part of the Eurozone and Anne Lanigan, Regional Director of the Eurozone for Enterprise Ireland, says it is vital that businesses in this country realise how valuable the European market is.

To validate this, Enterprise Ireland and the IIEA (Institute of International and European Affairs) have come together to deliver a series of three events entitled ‘Europe is our Future’, aiming to change how Irish business views the EU.

“The EU represents the biggest free trading area in the world, giving Ireland full access to this large marketplace and the three events, the first of which took on May 28th – with the second and third coming in July and September – aim to draw attention to this,” she says.

Untapped trade opportunities

“The webinars will highlight the unique trade opportunities for Irish business in Europe, particularly in relation to the single market and the single currency. They will also look at the untapped opportunities for Irish owned businesses in the EU and the strong reputation which Ireland, and indeed, Irish products and services, enjoy in Europe.

“It will also help to increase Irish business’ understanding of the EU and position the Eurozone as an extension of Ireland’s domestic market as well as highlighting the supports available to Enterprise Ireland clients.”

The single market was designed to enable frictionless trade between member states with no customs, tariffs or other barriers to trade and regulatory alignment across the region. With a population of over 440 million people this is the biggest free trading area in the world. And Lanigan says, this makes it a very big extension to our domestic market.

“There are so many benefits to trading in a single currency as it introduces transparency and removes costs related to foreign exchange and the associated risks,” she says. “And Ireland’s adoption of the Euro has given Irish business access to a huge single currency market and an economy with a combined GDP of $13tr.

“Of course, Europe is also a close neighbour and proximity has been proven to increase trade opportunities, while the increased direct maritime links to France, The Netherlands, Belgium, Spain and Portugal in recent months have brought us even closer.”

This closeness has never been more important as when Brexit finally happened in December, it highlighted the challenges which had arisen regarding trading with the UK in their new status outside the single market.

But, while Irish firms will continue to do business with the UK, there is no doubt that the benefits of the single market now make the EU very attractive, including the benefits of ongoing regulatory alignment. And Brexit or no Brexit, the Eurozone offers the cost and transparency benefits of a single currency as well as access to a very large market.


Exports to the Eurozone

“However, while the multinational sector in Ireland has reaped the benefits of the single market, Irish owned businesses have yet to take full advantage of what is the biggest free trading area in the world,” says Lanigan. “According to 2019 data, Enterprise Ireland client exports to the Eurozone (2019: €5.6bn) were equal to just 70% of the value of those to the UK (2019: €7.9bn). This is despite the fact that the Eurozone population and Eurozone GDP is 5 times that of the UK – this is an untapped and immediate opportunity. So, the Eurozone markets are now a key element of Enterprise Ireland’s strategy and in fact since the launch of our Eurozone strategy in 2017, exports to the Eurozone have increased by over 33% and growth in Enterprise Ireland client exports increased by 15% in 2019 alone. And exports to the Eurozone are steadily increasing as a percentage of over exports – in 2019 this was 22%, up from 20% in 2017.”

With this in mind, the Eurozone expert says Enterprise Ireland is uniquely positioned and financed to help Irish companies to both enter and scale in Eurozone markets by offering one-to-one support, through its world class market research centre, financial support and promotion of innovative Irish produce and services.


Enter the Eurozone

There is also a programme of events to introduce European buyers to the innovative capabilities of Irish companies in sectors such as internationally traded services, high-tech construction, engineering, ICT and life sciences. And the four-month Enterprise Ireland Enter the Eurozone training programme, now in its 3rd iteration, brings a group of 25 CEOs and their sales and marketing teams through the necessary steps in successfully entering a Eurozone market.

“In addition, the IIEA, which is Ireland’s leading international affairs think tank, aims to provide a forum for all those interested in EU and International Affairs to engage in debate and discussion, and to evaluate and share policy options,” adds Lanigan. “They celebrate their 30th anniversary this year and there is also a benefit for Irish companies to become members of the IIEA, so they can stay abreast of European affairs which may impact or present opportunities for their business in addition to networking with senior figures in business and government. “So, all in all, the future for Irish companies looking to do business in the Eurozone, is looking bright.”

Evolve UK – Guide to Social Value in Procurement

Social Value in UK Public Sector tenders

Social Value can be described as the additional value created in the delivery of a contract to a community, beyond the monetary value of the contract itself. While Social Value has been a feature of UK public procurement over the last decade, it has grown in prominence since introduction of the Procurement Policy Note (PPN) 06/20 in September 2020. This note requires councils to include a weighting of at least 10% to social value in tenders. Therefore, it is necessary for any Irish company dealing with the UK public sector to consider social value and how they can create value in a wider community.

This Enterprise Ireland publication has been developed in collaboration with Steve Oldbury, Founder & Director, to help companies to meet the social value requirements of UK tenders and improve their capability to win business with UK public sector bodies.

This guide includes:

  • The Principles of Social Value

  • Why Social Value is so important to society

  • The importance of Social Value when tendering for work

  • Assessing Social Value and the National TOMs Framework

  • Examples of Social Value Questions

  • Actions required by companies to respond effectively to Social Value




Net Zero UK – Ready For a Green Future

The net zero challenge facing the UK will precipitate fundamental changes to the UK economy and to the ways in which business is done.

To help companies understand how these changes will affect their sector and their business, Enterprise Ireland UK has launched “Net Zero UK – Ready for a Green Future”, a new market intelligence initiative for Irish exporters to the UK.

The Enterprise Ireland UK office will be providing focused sectoral insights on the key UK net zero challenges, opportunities, and market developments. This will include analyses on products and services that are at risk of becoming obsolete and an examination of future net zero technology trends and demand areas. This market intelligence will help to inform your company’s strategic business planning and R&D efforts, helping to future-proof your activities in the UK market.

A series of webinars featuring sector-focused sustainability experts, corporate stakeholders and UK net zero policy specialists will take place daily between Tuesday 22nd and Friday 25th June.

Learn more and register below:


Webinar – Net Zero UK Overview, Why, When and How? 

Tuesday 22nd June, 15:00 to 16:00

The net zero challenge facing the UK will reform the ways in which business is done. To help Irish exporters understand how these changes will affect their sector and growth, Enterprise Ireland UK and UK net zero experts will host a market insights webinar to examine:

  • The major industry and policy drivers that will accelerate the UK economy towards net zero emissions

  • The impact of the UK’S Sixth Carbon Budget, Green Industrial Strategy and individual corporate net zero plans

  • Key sectoral updates

  • Enterprise Ireland’s organisational climate action strategy

  • Green initiatives such as the €10 million Climate Enterprise Action Fund

Register today


Net Zero UK webinar series

Net Zero UK Overview – Introductory Session   – 22nd June 15:00-16:00 

Getting to the start line of the race to Net Zero – Decarbonising the Construction Supply Chain  – 23rd June 10:00-11:30

The Role of the Energy Transition in UK Net Zero   – 23rd June 15:00-16:00

UK Local Authorities and Net Zero   – 24th June 15:00-16:00

UK Agriculture and Net Zero   – 25th June 10:00-11:00

The lion’s share of French business happening in Lyon

As the UK has left the European Union, France is now Ireland’s closest neighbour in the bloc and Claire Tobin Mercier, Senior Market Advisor at Enterprise Ireland, Lyon, says the strong trading history and good relationship between our two countries makes France an ideal environment for Irish investors.

“France boasts the presence of large indigenous companies across multiple sectors along with a high number of decision centres for multinational companies, which are very much aligned with Irish capabilities,” she says.

“For the second consecutive year, France is Europe’s number one destination for foreign direct investment with 23 important new projects announced weekly throughout 2020. These opportunities add to the huge €100bn investment envelope made available by the French government for post-Covid economic recovery to be spent in areas such as sustainability, infrastructure and digital transformation.”


Looking to Lyon

Tobin Mercier, who joined Enterprise Ireland in 2019, having originally moved to Lyon to establish the subsidiary of an Irish medical diagnostics company, went on to develop her own consulting business helping foreign companies get a foothold in the French market. So, she has a deep understanding of the capabilities for Irish industry within the region and says there is much scope for business development.

“France represents a big and vibrant market on our doorstep and our relationship with the French has always been healthy and filled with mutual respect,” she says. “However, people often think of Paris when they consider doing business in France, but Lyon is regarded as the most ‘business-friendly’ city here. It has a fantastic geographical position, being bordered by both Switzerland and Italy, and is serviced with a highly developed infrastructure for air, rail, road, and river transport. In addition, the region has many similarities with Ireland, including its size, industrial ecosystem and many SMEs are also family-owned businesses.

“The fact that several Irish companies have already set up businesses in this area is indicative of the potential the region represents – and some of the Irish players who have substantial presence include Life Scientific, Amarenco, Kingspan, Icon, Smurfit Kappa, Grant Engineering and Tricel.”

Lyon is the capital of the Auvergne Rhône Alpes region, which is the second strongest economic region in the country. It is the birthplace of life sciences in France and is home to many big names in the industry, including Sanofi Pasteur, Boehringer Ingleheim, Medtronic and BioMérieux, which helps to drive the local economy.


Sectoral expertise across life sciences and clean technology

“It is also the top vaccine production centre in the world and recognised as a benchmark region on immunology, infectious diseases, diagnostics and veterinary health,” says the market expert. “In addition, it is one of Europe’s most important clean technology development regions and on this basis, allocates more money to renewable energy than any other region of France, making it a place of great business opportunity for testing innovative environmental solutions in energy transition and efficiency, mobility of the future and circular economy.”

The area is also the second most important digital hub in France and the top industrial region, with a dense network of industrial corporations, SMEs, and innovative start-ups. And due to its strategic location, the logistics and transport sector is also particularly strong.


Covid-19 impact

Of course, the pandemic has had an impact, which can be seen in the dramatic drop in GDP of 8.3%, the largest ever measured here. But while 320,000 jobs have been lost, this figure is considerably lower than the 600,000 job losses which were predicted last year and is a result of the massive take-up of the partial unemployment measures put in place and also the much stronger performance of the economy in the last quarter of 2020.

“Overall, French purchasing power did not suffer from the pandemic and in fact, the French people have saved an extra €111bn in comparison to 2019,” says Tobin Mercier. “So, there is hope on the horizon and I would encourage Irish companies to seriously look at the French market as a territory offering great opportunities for those who want to grow their export sales.

“The ‘Irish friendly’ environment which is very prevalent here should be taken advantage of and if you are thinking of doing business in France, invest some time in research as the French market requires some investment at the start, and it can take some time to get a foothold, but once in, you will find a favourable and loyal business environment.”

For more information on doing business in France, visit Enterprise Ireland’s French market page.

The Climate Enterprise Action Fund: helping firms to boost low-carbon agendas

The Climate Enterprise Action Fund is a new initiative that was recently launched by Tánaiste Leo Varadkar and Minister Eamon Ryan with an initial allocation of €10m. The fund, which will be administered by Enterprise Ireland, is designed to help businesses take action to drive down their emissions and embed sustainability in how they work.

Aidan McKenna, manager of the Climate Enterprise Action Fund at Enterprise Ireland, says the fund is one of a number of actions underway to ensure that Ireland reaches its ambition of reducing emissions by 51% by the end of this decade.

“The fund builds on work Enterprise Ireland is already carrying out with companies throughout Ireland,” says Aidan. “We know the initiatives that work well and embed change in companies.”


Low-carbon future

Reducing emissions will contribute to a more sustainable future for us all. However, along with the moral and political imperative, there is a very strong business case for Irish companies to adopt a low-carbon, sustainable agenda. One of the most important emerging market demands today is the need for companies to demonstrate their commitment to low-carbon production and sustainable business processes. It is vital that these companies are responsive to emerging market conditions.”

“Many Irish companies sell products and services to larger, international companies at home and abroad. Increasingly, these companies are requiring suppliers to have sustainability at the core of their operations. A failure to show real progress can lock you out of the market.

“Likewise, many consumers are placing environmental standards at a premium when making purchasing decisions. Issues such as using recyclable packaging, adhering to international sustainability standards and having transparent supply chains are now important factors for more and more consumers. Those that don’t change will miss out on the significant opportunities emerging from the low-carbon transition and risk being left behind.”

Aidan McKenna says another important factor is that investors and capital funds – which are critical to start-up and growing companies – increasingly factor in environmental impact into their investment decisions.  “What is termed ‘green finance’ is now a reality and will shape investment decisions into the future,” explains Aidan.


Climate Enterprise Action Fund

Enterprise Ireland’s new Climate Enterprise Action Fund is designed to assist companies at various stages of engagement with this agenda. It comprises of three main offers:

  • Climate Action Voucher – a €1,800 grant to engage consultants to develop plans in areas such as resource efficiency and renewable energy.
  • GreenStart – up to €5,000 to measure carbon footprint and identify ways to reduce emissions and operate more sustainably.
  • GreenPlus – a fund of up to 50% to develop a multi-annual climate change plan aligned to international standards and frameworks.

“The first two offers are driven by the principle of ‘what gets measured gets done’,” explains Aidan. “Establishing a baseline of current resource consumption and emissions profile is essential to begin a change process. These offers will be particularly attractive to companies beginning their low-carbon journey. The third offer, Green Plus, is aimed at companies further along the journey align to international standards and frameworks.”

The Local Enterprise Offices (LEO) network has also recently launched a new scheme, called Green For Micro, designed to help smaller companies prepare for a low-carbon, sustainable future. With the help of a Green Consultant, small businesses with up to ten employees can get free advice and technical support on resource efficiency, how to better understand their carbon footprint and how to implement an environmental management system to reduce costs and lower greenhouse gas emissions.


Driving change

“We are acutely aware of the pressure that companies have been under facing up to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic and our fundamentally changed trading relationship with the UK. While companies see the value in adopting more sustainable processes in principle, finding the time and resources to dedicate to that mission can be difficult. That is why our new initiative is designed to provide companies with tangible baseline information and a route map of what a low-carbon, sustainable future looks like for them. Having the low-carbon concept broken down into achievable actions makes the journey all that more realistic and the business wins all that more attainable.”

“The global trading environment is tough and competitive,” says Aidan. “To succeed, companies need to think not just about the next order, but about how their sector will develop in the next five to ten years. Environmental sustainability and responsible production will be key drivers of business success into the future. Now is the time for all Irish businesses to prepare for that future.”

To get your business ready for a green future visit Climate Enterprise Action Fund or contact the Climate Action Team


Scale 21 – Helping businesses to get established in the UK

The UK has always been and remains Irelands largest single trading partner with a wealth of opportunities for Irish companies.

To support Irish companies to establish themselves in the UK, Enterprise Ireland has run the Scale UK mentoring programme since 2012.

This year’s Scale 21 invites companies to advance their businesses by finessing their strategies, developing their UK messaging, analysing their sales channels and becoming pitch ready with inputs from our experienced mentors.

Download more information on Scale 21 or watch our programme overview below.

Gain insights from a previous participant and mentor who discuss their experiences with Scale UK.

Gillian Doyle, CEO Cerebreon discusses her experience of participating on Scale UK and gives her advice for companies applying for next year’s programme.

Carol Ward, President at Man GLG and Scale UK mentor shares her experience of Scale UK, working with fellow mentors and Irish diaspora and the importance of supporting companies with growth ambition for the UK.


To learn more about the Scale 21 programme download our guide.

2021 virtual trade mission – Reaching a global audience

In the not-too-distant past, companies wishing to establish a successful business relationship with firms overseas, would have relied heavily on international travel and perhaps an office or ‘boots-on-the-ground’ in the country in question.

But these days, there is also another option as there are many international companies located across Ireland who are more than willing to do business with local businesses – and Gerard, Fenner, Senior Executive of Global Sourcing for Enterprise Ireland, says his team can help to bring Irish SMEs and multinational firms together.

“The combination of modern technology and accessible travel has made the world a much smaller place and opened up a myriad of global opportunities for Irish businesses,” he says.


Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland collaboration

“But travelling to or even selling out of this country isn’t the only means for companies at home to expand into the international market as there are hundreds of multinationals right here in Ireland, which are willing and able to engage with indigenous firms. Since its formation in 2012, the Enterprise Ireland Global Sourcing team has been working with colleagues in IDA Ireland to introduce Irish owned businesses to international firms to respond to their specific requirements.

“Working with companies across every sector, including pharma, medtech, ICT, engineering, financial services and energy, our team helps to develop relationships between Irish companies who are seeking to sell their product or service and multinational firms who wish to purchase same – so our particular focus is on providing sales opportunities and partnerships between Enterprise Ireland client companies and Ireland-based multinationals, predominantly IDA firms.”

According to Fenner, there are many benefits to both the seller and the buyer in these business relationships and apart from supporting industry at home, it can also lead to opportunities in export markets – and winning a contract with a multinational gives a scaling Irish company a valuable reference site for its move into export markets.

“We have found that one of the most productive means of securing relationships between Irish firms and multinationals based here is by means of events where introductions can be made, and sellers can have pre-arranged face to face meetings with potential buyers,” he says.


Developing international relationships

“In 2014 we organised the first Trade Mission in Ireland. The event was minister led and took place in various regional locations across the country over the course of a couple of days – and since then, it has taken place every year, apart from 2020, due to lockdown restrictions. It has always garnered a lot of interest and helped to develop contracts and future relationships.”

So it seems that trade missions have long been an effective means of introducing businesses to prospective clients, but since the onset of the pandemic, industry across every sector has had to pivot online and learn how to do business in a virtual world.


Online introductions and meetings

As current guidelines continue to prevent physical events of this nature taking place, this year, on May 12th, the first ever virtual Global Sourcing Trade Mission became the alternative.

Launched by the Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar, the event proved as popular as ever with 65 multinationals and 240 Irish companies registered with over 350 meetings. And according to Gerard Fenner, the online system was popular with both the variety of different international firms and indigenous companies looking to set up new business relationships.

“When the Enterprise Ireland companies registered on the event platform, they provided some company information about what they do and what their offer is, and this allowed suppliers to search through this information and put in a request for a meeting,” says the international trade expert. “Similarly, the supplier was also able to request a meeting with a buyer in order to pitch a product or service.

“Although these 15-minute meeting slots were different to how things normally work at a physical trade mission, it proved to be very successful with feedback from both sides indicating their positivity – and early signs show the possibility of new business relationships and further revenue to add to the €32 million in contracts which have been secured from these trade missions.”

The Global Sourcing Team lead says there was also the added positive bonus of no travel, which meant that the multinational could bring in individuals from different areas of their business to meet potential suppliers – so rather than just one representative attending the event, firms could bring in someone from finance or with technical expertise to liaise directly with companies pitching a particular service.

“Overall it was a great success and we have run smaller online events similar to this over the past year and many multinational firms have come back to us to say they were impressed with the fact that they got to meet so many different businesses,” he says.

“So, the trade mission, whether it takes place at a venue or online, is an important platform for raising awareness about the capabilities of innovative Irish SMEs and helping them to establish future business relationships. And given the interest in this year’s event, despite the difficulties surrounding the current global situation, the future looks bright.”

Webinar Series: Free Trade Agreements

EU Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) with Canada, Japan, Mexico and South Korea enable Ireland to increase its trade, GDP and national income. The FTAs allow Irish exporters to explore new opportunities as market access increases and they benefit from competitive advantage in doing business in these countries.

Join Enterprise Ireland as it hosts a webinar series on Free Trade Agreements and doing business in these four export markets: Canada, Japan, Mexico and South Korea.

Each webinar will be opened by Robert Troy TD, Minister of State Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment with responsibility for Trade Promotion. The webinars feature contributions from market experts and guest speakers from Irish companies who will share their experiences on doing business in specific markets.

If you’re considering exporting to these markets, or scaling your existing export business, these webinars are for you.

Click on the links below to register for upcoming webinars.

Doing Business in Japan

Thursday, 17 June 2021, 9am BST

The EU Japan Economic Partnership Agreement provides a positive backdrop to Ireland Japan trading relations. This webinar will explore the experiences of key Irish business interests in Japan, and will outline the knowledge, networks and access supports available to capitalise on what is an increasingly important market for ambitious Irish exporters.

For the full agenda and to register, click here.


Doing Business in Mexico

Tuesday, 22 June 2021, 3pm BST

With duty-free trade on most goods and a simplification of the customs procedures, the latest 2018 EU-Mexico trade agreement has improved the already positive and prosperous relationship between Ireland and Mexico. This webinar features two market experts who will highlight opportunities and explain business culture and processes, as well as providing practical guidance for market entry.

For the full agenda and to register, click here.


Doing Business in South Korea

Thursday, 24 June 2021, 9am BST

The EU-South Korea FTA can provide enhanced business opportunities for Irish businesses. This webinar brings together experts on the topic to provide knowledge and insights on key elements of the FTA, and to enable Irish businesses to make use of the FTA to its fullest in doing business in South Korea.

For the full agenda and to register, click here.

Doing Business in Canada

Tuesday, 25 May 2021, 3pm BST

Attendees will learn more about the opportunities available in the Greater Montreal region, the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA) between Canada and Europe, and what incentives are available to Irish companies looking to expand in North America.

Watch back on-demand, available here.

Wyeth Nutrition and Water – Achieving the Highest Standard in the World

As climate change exacerbates water challenges across the globe, the importance of water conservation and water stewardship has come to the fore now like never before.  In driving environmental efficiencies, it’s now essential that water in its wider context is now front and centre in the pursuit of sustainable corporate practices.

At Nestlé’s Wyeth Nutrition, there’s always been a pioneering and innovative spirit when it comes to pursuing progress.  Supported through GreenPlus, the factory has now become the first manufacturing site in Ireland to earn the global top standard of a Platinum certificate under the rigorous Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) standard.

While water is still taken for granted by many, it’s predicted that almost half the world’s population will be living in areas of high water stress by 2030.  Water use has been growing globally at more than twice the rate of population increase in the last century and climate change and bio-energy demands are also expected to amplify the already complex relationship between world development and water demand.

As part of Nestlé, the largest nutrition, health and wellness company in the world, Wyeth Nutrition supplies infant and maternal nutrition products to markets across the globe. The experienced workforce at the world-class factory at Askeaton, Co. Limerick are constantly aware of their responsibility to the current generation but also the generations to come.


Quality assurance

Gaining the top award from the Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS) has been a noteworthy achievement for the company.  “Fresh, clean water is essential for our production here and to ensure the highest quality product.  Our journey to safeguard and improve our water usage involved extensive engagement with stakeholders in our immediate water catchment area and across Ireland.” explains Ian Ryan, who headed up the project.

“GreenPlus helped us to achieve what is the highest possible standard and deliver what we wanted to ultimately achieve to be an exemplar in the area of water stewardship”,  says Ryan, Energy and Utilities Manager

“We are privileged in Ireland in relation to access to water, but around the world some of the statistics around water are of concern.  Goal 6 targets in the UN Sustainable Development Goals are clear in relation to water-use efficiency across all sectors by 2030 and everybody has to play their part.”

Wyeth Nutrition took a practical approach and their project objectives were to implement a water stewardship strategy, principles and procedures at the Askeaton site.  Their credentials are now clear and they have become elite performers. Having done a gap analysis report, new water stewardship practices and procedures have now been implemented, standardised and externally validated via the newly developed Site Water Stewardship Manual and the company has achieved the highly-covetable AWS standard.

“GreenPlus enabled this journey for us”

One of the most positive things about the process for Wyeth is that the company is now set to bring this information further out in to the community and get more and more people trained up with the aim of creating a vibrant, collaborative, stakeholder-inclusive process. “We had a very high level objective to achieve and we want to maintain it. GreenPlus enabled that journey for us. The application process was clear, the funding stream was there and we also gained access to the people that we needed. It gave us the framework to map out our tasks”.

“The task ahead of us all is still enormous and really the work is only starting”, points out Ian.  “We all need to work together to ensure the sustainability of this vital resource on which we all depend.”

As the world’s largest food producer, Nestlé has committed to taking action to address water sustainability across its business:

  • In the period 2010-2019, Nestlé has reduced its direct water withdrawals globally by 31%, with a 37% reduction in the nutrition and healthcare category.
  • Nestlé has certified 32 of its factories worldwide to the AWS standard to date and with a commitment to certification of all Nestlé Waters plants by 2025.
  • On the wider issue of sustainability, Nestlé set out a detailed and time-bound plan to halve greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 and be net zero by 2050.


To get your business ready for a green future visit Climate Enterprise Action Fund or contact the Climate Action Team

Sustainability – Sisk Talks Success with GreenPlus

The relationship between the construction industry and the built environment and consumption of natural resources on the one hand and sustainable development on the other is both complex and significant.

Established back in 1859, John Sisk & Son – Building and Civil Engineering Design and Construction Services is one of Ireland’s most recognisable companies in the sector.  Headquartered in Ireland, with operations across the UK and Europe, the company places a strong emphasis on performance, quality, teamwork and a ‘hands-on’ management approach.

Sisk were the first contractors / builders in Ireland and the UK to achieve ISO 50001 certification in energy management. Their decision to become involved with the Enterprise Ireland GreenPlus scheme “really opened our eyes to the whole scope of energy management in our industry which until then had been very much overlooked,” explains Sisk Group Energy Manager, Ian O’Connor, who is recognised as an international leader in construction sustainability and was named ‘Private Sector Energy Manager 2020 at the EMA (Energy Managers Association) awards.


“It was very enlightening”

“It started with ISO 50001 but we took our initial learnings from this, developed them further and expanded our scope to take a more forensic approach to monitoring our energy use.  This identified areas of significant energy savings.  We started to measure but realised we needed to know more. We needed to analyse our energy use – when it was used, how much was being used and which processes were using the energy.  It was very enlightening”.


21 Targets Linked to the SDGs

Last year Sisk launched their 2030 Sustainability Roadmap ‘Building Today, Caring for Tomorrow’.  Within that there are 21 clear and ambitious targets linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals. “Industry collaboration is an important part of this. While we set these targets, we alone can’t achieve them.  We need the supply chain and our suppliers to come along on this journey with us. A rising tide lifts all boats and by doing this we hope to lead the way and we want people to join us on the journey.”

Ian O’Connor is adamant that visibility and clear messaging of the Sisk vision is the way forward.  “We are very keen to demonstrate to all stakeholders of our business – clients, our employees, subcontractors, communities – what we are going to do to care for the environment in which we work.  We plan to be fully carbon neutral by 2030. By 2024 50% of our fleet will be electric and by 2030 there will be no combustion engines within the fleet”.

The company also has some exciting and innovative ideas around digital technology, innovation and biodiversity.  In 2029 the business celebrates 170 years and to celebrate plans to plant a massive 1.7 million trees by 2030 in Ireland and the UK.  The first of those trees was planted in April this year.

Advising other companies of the benefits of getting involved with the Enterprise Ireland GreenPlus programme he states:

“I would say it’s really important to know where you are at the moment. Get a baseline and measure your impact on the environment, on energy use and on carbon emissions.  Set targets and then develop an action plan to start achieving those targets,” he recommends.

Ian O’Connor acknowledges that in addition to the help from Enterprise Ireland GreenPlus, the achievements to date wouldn’t have been possible without everybody at Sisk.  “We wouldn’t have had the launch of our roadmap if support hadn’t come from the very top – from our shareholders to our forward thinking management team and the ‘boots on the ground’ and staff in the office.  Ultimately, most of the people that work at Sisk are based on construction sites these are the people that will have a huge contribution to our efforts” he said.  “We know that our targets are ambitious but there is a climate emergency and we hope Sisk can play a significant part in overcoming this challenge.”


To get your business ready for a green future visit Climate Enterprise Action Fund or contact the Climate Action Team