Opportunity in crisis: Businesses proactive on energy efficiency in face of rising prices

Cork Chamber, the voice of business in Cork, has published its latest Economic Trends, proudly supported by Permanent TSB. Cork Chamber members shared their experiences through the most recent business quarter Q3 2022, their outlook for the fourth quarter 2022 and views on the impact of inflation, rising energy prices and measures to combat current challenges.
The Q3 2022 survey found:

  1. 92% of businesses are concerned or very concerned about the impact of rising energy cost
  2. 24% have identified energy efficiency as a priority business action to combat rising prices, while 20% will prioritise reducing overheads
  3. 85% of businesses reported confidence in their individual business
  4. 51% of businesses are now not confident in the Irish economy heading into Q4 2022
  5. 31% cite inflation as the number one reason for diminishing confidence in Irish economy

Despite the impact of rising energy prices on their operations, only 9% of businesses plan to cut staff in response to the energy crisis. In terms of priority actions to combat rising prices most are focused on increasing their energy efficiency (24%), cutting overheads (20%) or improving productivity (18%) with only 5% citing a reduction in headcount as a priority according to the Q3 2022 survey.
However, inflation and the energy crisis are impacting confidence in the Irish economy with a marked fall in confidence - for the first time in 2022 a majority of businesses are now not confident in the Irish economy (51%).
Commenting on the findings, Ronan Murray, President of Cork Chamber stated that: "There is still a high level of business confidence among the Cork business community (at 85%) despite the fall in confidence in the wider economy. Changing consumer spending, the rising cost of energy and raw materials and competitiveness have now become the top threats to business growth. The fact that businesses are looking to drive efficiencies and higher productivity rather than reduce headcount is encouraging.”
Anna Buckley, Business Banking Manager at Permanent TSB commented, ‘’The third quarter shows that the employment outlook and turnover are stable, but that net profit is down slightly on previous quarters from 42% in Q2 to 37% in Q3.”
“It has been a challenging year for many. We remain committed to actively supporting our business customers every day, through working with them, listening to them, and lending to them as we continue to respond to their ever-evolving needs.’’
President of Cork Chamber Ronan Murray concluded, ‘’This quarter’s findings share a picture of member companies’ resilience, with companies adapting to the new environment and taking balanced actions to combat the real challenges they are facing. Almost a quarter of those surveyed report energy efficiency measures as a priority action to combat rising prices. This makes good business sense across the board - cost savings were the main motivating factor for companies, but closely followed by climate and sustainability impact."

View the full results of the Q3 2022 Economic Trends here: https://www.corkchamber.ie/quarterly-economic-trends