Supports for businesses going green

Introduction

Ireland has a target to reduce carbon emissions (greenhouse gas emissions) by 51% by 2030, and to achieve a climate neutral economy by 2050. In order to do this, businesses are encouraged to invest in a greener future, through sustainable products, services and business models.

Whether your business is big or small, it is important to reduce emissions and promote sustainability in how you work.

This page includes a number of training, mentoring and financial supports for companies trying to reduce their carbon footprint (total carbon emissions).

You can also read about climate change and the Government’s Climate Action and Low Carbon Development (Amendment) Bill 2021.

See an easy-to-read A-Z guide of climate action words (pdf) in the Climate Jargon Buster booklet.

Financial supports for businesses going green

Investing in sustainable business models can be expensive, but there are financial supports available. The Government has made grants available to support businesses become more “resource efficient”. We have summarised the main financial supports below but you can check the SEAI and Enterprise Ireland websites for full details.

Climate Enterprise Action Fund

The Climate Enterprise Action Fund, administered by Enterprise Ireland, provides a range of financial supports to businesses going green. These include:

Climate Action voucher Eligible companies can get a Climate Action voucher to the value of €1,800 to cover either technical or advisory services relating to the operations of the business.

The aim is to help you plan for a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy.

GreenStart grant Apply for a GreenStart grant of up to €5,000 to help cover the costs of hiring a ‘green consultant’ or trainer.

The consultant will introduce environmental best practice systems and structures, cost reduction targets and a foundation for future environmental improvement projects.

GreenPlus grant If eligible, you can apply for the GreenPlus grant to fund up to 50% of your climate change and sustainability plan.

You can also use the grant to partially cover the salaries of up to 10 ‘green project’ team members.

You can see a list of case studies of companies of different sizes and sectors that have received support from Enterprise Ireland.

EXEED grant scheme

Excellence in Energy Efficiency Design (EXEED) is an incentive program to promote energy efficiency in business. Successful applicants can get grant support of up to €1,000,000 per project.

The EXEED grant scheme can help you fund the energy-efficient design of heating, cooling, refrigeration, compressed air and business processes. Examples include:

  • Improving insulation
  • Installing air handling units with heat recovery
  • Installing electric vehicle chargers
  • Installing energy-efficient heating and cooling equipment

The scheme is open to any sector, any organisation and any project. Your project can be of any scale or complexity.

Read about the EXEED Certified Program and how to apply for an EXEED Certified Grant on the SEAI website.

Green Enterprise

The Environmental Protection Agency has an annual grant-aid funding call, named Green Enterprise: Innovation for a Circular Economy. The initiative supports businesses to develop and demonstrate innovative practical applications and solutions that prevent waste and stimulate the circular economy. A circular economy is where no resources are wasted and the value of materials are kept in the economy as long as possible, through reuse, repair, and recycling.

The fund is open to projects linked to:

  • Plastics
  • Construction and demolition
  • Food
  • Resources and raw materials (electrical and electronic equipment, textiles, furniture)

The maximum amount of funding available is €100,000 per grant award. Grant aid is provided on a shared cost contribution basis. You can get from 25% up to 95% of the total eligible project costs incurred, depending on the type of organisation applying.

You can learn more about Green Enterprise at EPA.ie

Accelerated Capital Allowance

Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA) is a tax incentive scheme. It allows a sole trader, farmer or company that pays corporation tax in Ireland to deduct the full cost of energy-efficient equipment from their profits in the year of purchase.

You must buy the new equipment for use in your trade. You cannot lease, let or hire the equipment to anyone else.

In order to qualify for this scheme, you must make sure the equipment you buy is included in the SEAI’s list of energy-efficient equipment.

Read more about the Accelerated Capital Allowance.

Support Scheme for Renewable Heat

The Support Scheme for Renewable Heat can help your business adopt renewable heating systems by providing a grant for:

  • Air source heat pumps
  • Ground source heat pumps
  • Water source heat pumps

The scheme is open to commercial, industrial, agricultural, district heating, public sector and other non-domestic heat users.

Successful applicants can get an installation grant of up to 30% of eligible costs, as well as ongoing operational support for up to 15 years.

Check if you are eligible for the Support Scheme for Renewable Heat.

Green Vehicle Loan (‘eSPSV Business Loan’)

If you own a Small Public Service Vehicle (SPSV), such as a taxi, hackney, or limousine, you may be eligible for the Green Vehicle Loan (also called ‘eSPSV business loan’).

Successful applicants will get a loan between €5,000 and €25,000, to help replace their vehicle with an electric or hybrid model.

Check the eligibility criteria, including the terms and conditions of the loan, on the Microfinance Ireland website.

Financial supports for sustainable farming

In Ireland, agriculture accounts for 32% of all greenhouse gas emissions into the air. To encourage more sustainable farming, the Government introduced financial incentives. The main supports are summarised below.

REAP

The Results Based Environment Agri Pilot Programme (REAP) pays farmers to maintain and improve the environmental conditions of their land. The programme aims to improve existing farm features and habitats, rather than create new ones.

Successful applicants can get:

  • A €1,200 participation payment
  • An environmental results-based payment up to €4,000, depending on their environmental score
  • A payment of up to €1,200 for the planting of trees, hedgerows and for hedgerow infilling.

REAP is a pilot project and will run until the end of 2022.

You can learn more about REAP on gov.ie.

Woodland Support Fund

Farmers and other landowners can apply for funding to help cover the cost of forestry projects. The Woodland Support Fund, is for projects that support and highlight:

  • The environmental benefits of woodlands
  • The benefits of woodlands, focussing on farmers, community engagement and general wellness
  • Productive forestry and timber products, in the context of climate action and the bioeconomy
  • Sustainable forest management among forest owners

Successful applicants must deliver their projects by the end of 2022.

Find more information on the Woodland Support Fund on gov.ie.

GLAS

The Green, Low-Carbon, Agri-Environment Scheme (GLAS) helps farmers to become environmentally friendly by providing funding for:

  • Tackling climate change
  • Preserving biodiversity
  • Protecting habitats

GLAS closed to new entrants in 2016, but payments continue in 2021 for existing participants (as part of a 5-year contract).

Read more about GLAS.

Organic farming scheme

The Organic Farming Scheme provides financial support to farmers to encourage production of organic foods.

Successful applicants can get up to €300 per hectare of land, depending on the type of farm they have and its organic status (for example, whether it is fully organic or mid-conversion to organic).

Check the eligibility criteria and how to apply for the Organic farming scheme on gov.ie. You can also find information on organic farming on the Teagasc website.

Smart Farming

Smart Farming is a voluntary resource-efficiency programme for the farming sector, delivered by the Irish Farmers’ Association in partnership with the Environmental Protection Agency.

By taking practical actions on their farms (covering grassland management, soil fertility, energy, water and inputs), farmers can reduce costs and have positive impacts on the environment, including the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

You can register your interest in the Smart Farming challenge, a free resource-efficiency assessment of your farm, on smartfarming.ie.

Sustainability training and mentoring

There are training and mentoring supports to help you develop better sustainability awareness and practices in your business. We have summarised the main supports below, but check with your local enterprise office for a full list.

Green for Micro

Green for Micro is a free training programme for small businesses with 10 (or fewer) employees. Training is provided in two stages:

  1. A webinar, covering examples of green initiatives and their benefits
  2. Two days of mentoring with a ‘green consultant’ or trainer, including specific recommendations for your business

Read more about the Green for Micro programme from the Local Enterprise Offices.

Climate Ready

Skillnet Ireland has launched Climate Ready, a 5-year national climate initiative. Programmes are fully-funded or offered at a subsidised cost for Irish businesses and employees in the private sector.

The Climate Ready Academy offers specialised training for businesses in:

  • Climate action
  • Sustainability
  • Corporate social responsibility

You can also develop sustainability awareness and learn about best practices using the Climate Ready online learning platform. Or, you can register for a free 12-week online workshop about reducing energy waste, delivering cost savings, and protecting the environment.

If you want to further develop your knowledge of sustainability practices in the workplace, visit the Climate Ready Insights website by Skillnet Ireland.

Water Conservation for Business

Irish Water has an online information hub to help businesses conserve water. This includes videos, fact sheets and ‘how-to’ guides to help your business reduce water waste. The Water Conservation for Business hub also includes practical advice for specific sectors, including:

  • Hospitality
  • Agriculture
  • Manufacturing
  • Pharmaceutical

SEAI Energy Academy

The Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland (SEAI) offers an e-learning service called Energy Academy to:

  • Advise organisations how to meet energy efficiency goals
  • Show how energy efficiency practices can help reduce energy waste and lower your carbon footprint
  • Upskill staff on energy efficiency

SEAI Energy Show

The SEAI hosts an annual Energy Show, including free workshops, expert briefings, and best practice demonstrations. Businesses can learn how to save energy and costs, as well as new energy market developments.

Recycling business waste

You should handle and dispose of your company’s waste in line with waste management regulations and legislation.

Encourage employees to recycle paper, plastic, glass and tin in your workplace by downloading posters and ordering bin labels and checklists from MyWaste.ie.

Before you dispose of waste, check if it can be repaired. You can find local repair professionals on repairmystuff.ie.

You can also contact your local authority for advice.

Waste electronic equipment

You can recycle waste from electrical and electronic equipment (WEEE) for free.

Small electronic items, similar to household items

Bring small electronic items, such as computers, desktop printers and batteries (and other electrical items often found in a household) to your local civic amenity site. Here it will be collected for recycling instead of being sent to a landfill. Contact your local authority for more information, or find your nearest recycling point using the WEEE Ireland map.

You can also bring WEEE to a local electrical retailer. Retailers must take back your old electrical equipment, for free, on a one-for-one, like-for-like basis. This means the old product must be of the same type (or have the same purpose) as the new item purchased.

Larger electronic equipment

You can correctly dispose of larger electronic equipment, such as photocopiers, servers, cash registers or vending machines, by contacting your equipment supplier or a local licenced waste contractor.

Read more about recycling waste electrical and electronic equipment.

End-of-life company car or light commercial vehicle

If you have a company car or a light commercial vehicle (of less than 3.5 tonnes) that is due to be disposed of or scrapped, it is called an end-of-life vehicle (ELV).

You must dispose of an end-of-life vehicle using licensed authorised treatment facilities (ATFs, also called permitted scrapyards). This is because end of life vehicles contain hazardous materials that can damage the environment and pose a risk to public health if not disposed of safely. For example, vehicles contain lead acid batteries, lubricating oil, coolant, brake fluid, and catalytic convertors.

Read about how to dispose of an end-of-life vehicle.

Reduce your company’s carbon footprint

Before you can reduce your company’s carbon footprint, you must find out its current carbon emissions. Use the Tool for Resource Efficiency on the Environmental Protection Agency website to do a quick overview of your company’s resource efficiency relating to water, waste and energy and get an Action Plan for Resource Efficiency.

You can also use a Carbon Footprint Calculator, which is free for small businesses.

Carbon footprint calculators take all aspects of your business into account, including:

  • Heat consumption
  • Energy consumption
  • How employees get to work
  • The number of company cars you have (and how they are fuelled)
  • Volume of waste produced, and how it’s disposed of
  • Product packaging
  • How far products are shipped
  • Your use of local suppliers
  • The type of refrigeration, fire protection and air conditioning equipment you use

Learn more about greenhouse gas emissions by industry on the EPA website.

You can also read about Ireland’s CO2 emissions and energy consumption on the SEAI website.

The National Waste Prevention Programme, led by the Environmental Protection Agency, has developed resources to help ‘green your business’. It includes factsheets and case studies specific to the hospitality sector, and the construction and demolition sector.

You can also read about ‘greening your office’ and resource efficiency in the retail sector on the EPA website.

Page edited: 9 September 2021