Ireland’s Climate Action Plan and What it Means for Your Business

The Irish government has an ambitious plan to cut overall greenhouse gas emissions by 51% by 2030 (from a 2018 average), with an aim of becoming net zero by 2050. To achieve this, in 2019, a national Climate Action Plan (CAP) was released that set out a course of action.

In this blog, we will discuss the more recent update to CAP 2019 that was released at the end of 2022. CAP 2023 continues to act as a roadmap to help Ireland achieve their legally binding 2030 target. If we are able to reduce emissions by 51% by 2030, we will be on the right path to achieve net zero by 2050. 

Although this is a national plan, CAP 2023 is important to businesses of all sizes. While there are no legal requirements for SMEs as of yet, it is important to start taking action on sustainability. 

In this blog, we will review what CAP 2023 means for your business, including sectoral emissions ceilings, funding opportunities, and sustainability reporting. 

What is included in the national Climate Action Plan 2023?

Generally, the 2023 update of Ireland’s climate action plan sets out the ways in which the country needs to accelerate action to meet its emissions targets. The plan implements carbon budgets and sectoral emissions ceilings while aiming to put climate solutions at the centre of Ireland’s development, both social and economic. 

CAP 2023 identifies six high impact, priority sectors on which to focus emissions reduction efforts. These sectors are:

  • Electricity: By facilitating large-scale deployment of renewables, CAP 2023 aims for a 75% reduction in electricity generation related emissions by 2030. The expansion of renewable energy will also enable the electrification of other technologies.
  • Built Environment: CAP 2023 aims for a 45% reduction in emissions from commercial or public buildings and a 40% reduction in emissions from residential buildings by 2030. This will be achieved by increasing the efficiency of existing buildings, continuing to ramp up a retrofitting programme, and putting in place policies to deliver new builds with zero emissions.
  • Transport: To reduce transport emissions by 50% by 2030, CAP 2023 adopts an Avoid-Shift-Improve approach: avoid and reduce the need for travel, shift to public transport, walking, or cycling, and improve the energy efficiency of vehicles. 
  • Agriculture: By supporting farmers in their production of safe, world-class, and nutritious food while also helping them to diversify their income through tillage, energy generation, and forestry, CAP 2023 aims to achieve a 25% reduction in agricultural emissions by 2030.
  • Business and Industry: Changes in consumption, production, and design of goods and services are necessary to achieve the reduction goals of CAP 2023. In the business and industry sector, the plan aims for a 35% reduction in emissions. Breaking the link between fossil fuels and economic development is integral for the future success and competitiveness of Ireland’s economy.
  • Land Use: While there is no exact reduction target set for this sector as of yet, CAP 2023 aims to understand the current use of land in Ireland. This information will then be used to map how our land can be used more effectively to capture and store carbon and to produce better, greener food and energy. 

On top of these six priority sectors, CAP outlines specific actions in the areas of adaptation, research and innovation, citizen engagement, circular economy, and more. To learn about specific actions, check out the CAP 2023 summary published by the national government.  

What does the Climate Action Plan mean for your business?

Although there are no specific legal requirements for SMEs as of yet, CAP 2023 is an important piece of legislation that will have an impact on all of us. The targets set out in the plan are ambitious. This means that we will all have to work together to ensure that they are met and that the economy becomes more resilient to climate change.

Three specific ways in which your business can engage with CAP 2023 are through the sectoral emissions ceilings, funding opportunities, and monitoring and reporting accurate climate information. Your actions in these three areas can have a positive impact on both your business and Ireland’s climate goals. 

Sectoral Emissions Ceilings

The six primary, high impact sectors mentioned in the previous section each have specific emissions ceilings. What this means is that, to achieve a nationwide reduction of 51% by 2030, each sector has been allotted a maximum amount of emissions. These maximum amounts are calculated across five year periods, starting with 2021-2025 and followed by 2026-2030. You can see the specific emissions targets in this summary document released by the Irish government. 

If your business falls into one of these six sectors, any action you take to reduce emissions, whether big or small, will have a positive impact on the nationwide target. 

You are essentially part of a national sustainability team! 

Together, our reductions add up and bring us closer to achieving a 51% reduction by 2030 and net zero by 2050. 

CAP 2023, including the sectoral emissions ceilings, is an important part of Ireland’s overall sustainability strategy. 

At ENSO, we can help you put in place your own sustainability strategy and give you the tools to take meaningful action in order to make the biggest positive impact possible. 

Check out our blog on why your brand needs a sustainability strategy to learn more!

Sustainability Funding

CAP 2023 and the continued setting of ambitious goals by the Irish government shows their commitment to emissions reduction and climate action. Because of this, there are an increasing number of sustainability funding opportunities for businesses. 

We do our best at ENSO to keep track of grants and funding sources that we think will be useful to you as a business! Some examples of these are:

  • Accelerated Capital Allowance (ACA)
    • This initiative is a tax credit that encourages investment in energy saving technology. Business owners are able to deduct the entire cost of a new energy saving technology from their overall profits in the year of purchase. This technology must be purchased new and specifically for commercial use. 
  • Electric Vehicle Grants
    • A grant of a maximum of €3,800 is available to subsidise the purchase of an electric vehicle for commercial use. There is also a grant of a maximum of €7,600 for the purchase of a large panel van for commercial use. The vehicles must be purchased new and cost between €14,000 and €60,000. 
  • Support Scheme for Energy Audits
    • If you are interested in learning more about your energy usage and possible measures to increase efficiency and decrease overall usage, this grant can help fund a professional energy audit. The voucher for €2,000 usually covers the entire cost of a professional energy audit.
  • Non-Domestic Microgen Scheme
    • This grant helps fund solar projects for non-domestic entities, including businesses and farms. Through the list of registered solar PV companies, you can get a quote for up to 6 kWp (kilowatt peak) of solar panels. Depending on the capacity you install, this grant will fund up to €2,400.   
Monitoring and Reporting Accurate Climate and Sustainability Information

As stated before, there are currently no reporting requirements connected to CAP 2023. However, there are multiple directives and regulations that will be coming into effect through the EU. The information reported through these directives will be incredibly useful in keeping track of our progress towards the emissions goals set out by the Irish government. To learn more about the specifics of the EU directives, check out our blogs on the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive and the Green Claims Directive

Even if you are not currently required to report any of your sustainability data, starting to monitor and keep track of your actions and impacts can be really beneficial. As a business, you will have a clearer understanding of your current impacts and the outcome of any actions you’ve taken. 

Once you have this baseline information, you can use it to see progress in the future and engage stakeholders about your sustainability journey. Start tracking your data now, and you will be more prepared for any legal requirements or requests from, for example, retailers in the future. This will help you to communicate more effectively when asked about your sustainability strategy.


Ireland’s Climate Action Plan is a nationwide blueprint for achieving a 51% reduction in emissions by 2030, with an ambition to reach net zero by 2050. As a business, you are in a unique position to leverage additional sustainability funding to positively impact both your operations and the national targets.

The government releases quarterly updates on progress towards achieving their targets and it is important to keep up to date on any new developments. 

Want to learn more about how ENSO can help?

The ENSO Team will make sure to keep you informed about any new opportunities, successes, or changes to CAP 2023. 

Browse our solutions or get in contact with our team today!