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ESG swings into sharp focus for business – IBEC
Danny McCoy of IBEC Pic: RollingNews.ie

15 Feb 2022 / business Print

ESG swings into sharp focus for business – IBEC

Research published by IBEC shows that employer priorities for the year ahead include:

  • Talent attraction and retention,
  • Business costs,
  • Supply chain issues,
  • Overall business environment, and
  • Employee wellbeing.

Almost three quarters of respondents (74%) view the current business environment as ‘very good’ or ‘good’ with chief executives giving a slightly more positive read of the business environment.

Issues such as international trade, climate change, supply chain management and recruitment are at the top of current agendas.

Pay pressures

Pay pressures, remote working and climate change will be a continuing focus for business throughout 2022 survey between December 2021 and January 2022.

And a full 60% of companies in Ireland have increased their attention on Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives in their organisation, compared with 12 months ago, the survey shows.  

IBEC boss Danny McCoy said that there has been a growing movement in business globally, to consider the impact of operations not just in terms of maximising returns, but in operating in a manner which balances economic, environmental, social and governance goals.

Work underway on the prioritisation of ESG is underway in 65% of firms, while 53% were engaged in preparing for ESG reporting and 53% in developing activities to manage energy use. 

“In addition, 47% of companies stated that employee health and wellbeing is fully embedded within their organisation,” McCoy added.

Communication on employer values to employees (39%), activities to support the local community (37%) and activities to support employee diversity and inclusion (35%) are other key areas.


Given the expected increase in employee numbers in the next year, the availability of specific skills and talent remains one of the key business challenges for organisations into 2022. The top five key challenges identified by CEOs were: 

  • Availability of specific skills/talent (60%),
  • Input cost inflation (56%),
  • Labour cost pressures (52%),
  • Maintaining profit margins (50%),
  • Supply chain disruption (39%).

The impact of COVID-19 on innovation and collaboration was identified in 56% of respondent organisations.

Almost nine out of ten (88%) respondents expect the cost of doing business to increase in 2022.

Three out of five expect an increase in demand for their goods or services, with a similar proportion (58%) expecting to increase employee numbers.

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