Ireland’s Net Zero Ambitions: New Report Projects Positive Economic and Social Impacts

New research published today by the International Sustainable Finance Centre of Excellence (ISFCOE) forecasts positive social and economic impacts for Ireland’s net zero journey, including increased Gross Domestic Product (GDP) activity and reduced energy costs.

The much-anticipated Net Zero Study 2023, titled Redefining Ireland's Financial Landscape: Assessing the Gaps, Risks, and Potential in the Transition to Net Zero, was commissioned by the ISFCOE and authored by Davy Horizons.

Supported by Skillnet Ireland, the ISFCOE is an output of Ireland’s first national Sustainable Finance Roadmap with members across the Irish and global financial services sector. Through knowledge sharing, training, and research activities, the Centre seeks to accelerate the mobilisation of capital and financing in support of Ireland’s net zero, nature positive and just economic transition. 

The Net Zero report highlights the crucial role of the financial sector in guiding the transition to a low-carbon economy, underlining its responsibility in shaping sustainable practices.

The study includes a number of key recommendations, including the alignment of financial flows with climate objectives and integrating Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) factors into decision-making processes. It advocates for improved data availability and quality, emphasising the importance of reliable information for effective decision-making. The financial sector's widespread adoption of digital tools to boost credibility in reporting, declarations, and publications is also recommended, to ensure alignment with global standards and exceeds consumer expectations.

The report acknowledges the evolving financial landscape and suggests the adoption of transformative technologies like big data, analytics, AI, and blockchain to support operational efficiency and value creation for stakeholders.

Consideration of how Irish financial services could explore the EU Green Bond Standard to secure capital for environmentally beneficial projects, thereby aligning with global efforts to support eco-friendly initiatives, is also called for.

Meanwhile the findings also support a swift shift from fossil fuels to renewable sources, particularly wind and solar, as a crucial step toward sustainable practices.

Stephen Nolan, CEO of ISFCOE, welcomed the publication of the report and underscored its significance: "This study is a pivotal contribution to Irish financial services, presenting not only risks but also opportunities and actionable initiatives that will help guide us to fulfil our net zero ambitions."

Dr Helen Kavanagh, Senior Sustainability Manager and project lead from Davy Horizons, Davy Group, said: "The Net Zero Study 2023 provides valuable insights on what the net zero transition and decarbonisation mean for Irish financial services. Managing the risks and opportunities across the sustainable market transition underway is crucial for the sector's resilience and relevance in the evolving financial landscape."

ISFCOE invites stakeholders, financial professionals, and the wider public to explore the insights of this comprehensive report. With a focus on sustainability and innovation, the Net Zero Study 2023 is poised to be a strategic guide, reshaping the Irish financial landscape for a resilient and responsible future.