Digital technologies could deliver up to 40% of Ireland’s 2030 carbon reduction targets, new Amárach research says


Thursday, November 25, 2021: Successfully deploying digital technologies could deliver up to 40% of the reduction in carbon emissions needed to meet Ireland’s 2030 targets, according to a new study by Amárach Research.

The report suggests the effective implementation of a digitally sustainable programme of transformation – through digital solutions in energy, manufacturing, agriculture, buildings and transportation - has the potential to reduce emissions as part of meeting the targets set out by the Climate Action Plan 2021. Using Digital Europe figures for digital’s potential role in CO2 emission reductions, Amárach Research calculated that digitalisation could deliver 9.9-13.1 MtCO2eq. in emission reductions towards Ireland’s 2030 target.

The new research has also found that 52% of senior decision-makers across the energy, agri-food and public sectors now see climate change as the most important business consideration – ahead even of labour/skills shortages – while 92% of leaders surveyed expect sustainable business operations to be important in saving money, driving overheads down and actually reducing costs. 

The new Amárach report, “Ireland’s Digital Path to Sustainability”, was commissioned by Huawei Ireland and launched today by Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, at a virtual event based in Dublin Castle to mark Huawei European Innovation Day 2021.

Gerard O’Neill, Chairman at Amárach Research, author of the report, presented the report at the Huawei Ireland Innovation Day 2021

The research found that 49% of Irish organisations think digital technologies will play an important role in achieving their sustainability goals over the next three years, with 43% also saying sustainability now aligns with their organisation’s values and aims.  Companies are now overwhelmingly seeing carbon reduction as fundamental to their business operations, according to the report, but with SMEs tending to be further behind on their journey towards sustainable business operations relative to larger firms.  When asked which technologies will be most important for their organisation’s sustainability objectives over the next three years, respondents had diverging views as to which technologies would be most relevant, with 5G, Cloud, Internet of things (IoT), Machine learning, Artificial intelligence (AI) and Virtual Reality (VR) all cited.

Minister for Housing, Local Government and Heritage, Darragh O’Brien TD, said: “Everything runs on energy, and to make our solutions sustainable, we need to innovate.  A significant amount of carbon emissions occur during the manufacturing and construction process, but innovation can play a key role to mitigate this, and is already doing so.  Industry 4.0 is making building and manufacturing processes more energy-efficient. The European Environment Information and Observation Network also pinpointed the role for the digital sector in contributing to the European Green Deal and reducing the manufacturing sector’s environmental impact in a report earlier this year.  I would like to thank Huawei and Dublin Chamber for their efforts in hosting this significant event today in this respect and I applaud this insightful thought-provoking new Amárach report, which will be an extremely valuable tool for policy-makers and innovators in reducing our carbon emissions.”

Commenting, Tony Yangxu, Chief Executive Officer, Huawei Ireland, said: “With Ireland already performing very well at integrating digital technology into the economy, and ranked 5th of the 27 EU countries in the 2021 edition of the Digital Economy and Society Index, we believe that Ireland has a great opportunity to accelerate the transition to clean energy and sustainable growth. This new research carried out by Amárach gives valuable insight into the evolving and increasingly prominent sustainability objectives of organisations and companies across Ireland.  It is clear innovative digital technologies will play a central role in tackling climate change, but it is only by working together that we can find and deploy the critical government, industry and society-wide digital solutions required for Ireland to meet its Climate Action Plan 2021 goals.”

Speaking on the launch of the report Mary Rose Burke, Chief Executive Officer, Dublin Chamber, said: “Dublin Chamber welcomes the launch of this report by Amárach and Huawei. The findings demonstrate that digital technologies will play a crucial role in achieving sustainability goals and reducing carbon emissions. We in Dublin Chamber see Irish companies responding to climate change in many cases ahead of what national government is doing. They are following the customer, following their staff, and following the investor in terms of their demands on business to be green. In order to meet these demands, it is clear from this report that digital solutions are the way forward.”

To read a full report please click here.

To watch a playback of Huawei Ireland Innovation Day please refer to the event website here.


Editor’s Note:

Report & Methodology

The Amárach report shines a light on the current sustainability journey of Irish businesses and organisations, the digital tools and technologies that businesses are using to reduce emissions and overall energy consumption, and looks directly at the link between digitalisation and CO2 emission reduction and its potential contribution by 2030.   The findings in the report are based on the results of a survey by Amárach Research of 300 senior decision-makers across the energy, agri-food and public sectors.  The poll was conducted in October/November 2021.  The report focuses on the common findings across the three sectors. 

The report took Digital Europe figures for digital’s potential role in CO2 emission reductions globally, then in Ireland’s context examined how the successful implementation of a digitally sustainable programme of transformation could deliver a major part of our 2030 target.

Applying the projected reduction in CO2 emissions through digital technology of 20% (i.e.: 40% (20/50) of targeted emissions reductions could be delivered by digital technologies) then digitalisation could deliver 9.9-13.1 MtCO2eq. of Ireland’s target (i.e.: a 50% reduction by 2030). (Page 15 in report)

About Huawei

Huawei is a leading global provider of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure and smart devices. With integrated solutions across four key domains – telecom networks, IT, smart devices, and cloud services – Huawei is committed to bringing digital to every person, home and organisation for a fully connected, intelligent world. Huawei employs over 194,000 people in 170 countries across the globe.  Huawei has been in Ireland since 2004, with its business now serving over 3 million people and supporting over 860 direct and indirect jobs.  Huawei’s business activities in Ireland continue to thrive.  Intelligent connectivity with fibre and 5G technologies has begun and will empower the market of mobile networks and broadband networks with AI and IOT technologies. Huawei Ireland is working very closely with local operators and partners, and is focused on nurturing future talent and highly-skilled professionals in these areas across the country.

About Dublin Chamber

Founded in 1783, Dublin Chamber is the largest and most influential B2B networking organisation in Dublin. Representing more than 1,300 businesses throughout the Greater Dublin region, which between them employ more than 300,000 staff.

About Amárach Research

Amárach is an independent research consultancy, measuring the business implications of consumer and business trends in Ireland and abroad.