Speaking at the recent Business in the Community Ireland Environment event, Mr John Gormley, Minister for the Environment, Heritage and Local Government, said that businesses who addressed environmental concerns often found that their costs also fell.

However, he added: “Business needs to step up to the challenge and move beyond the bottom line to look at the whole issue of corporate responsibility and how it can contribute to society, community and the local environment.”

Minister Gormley said that there had been a shift in recent years, and that businesses were beginning to see that their goals and environmental protection efforts do not have to be in conflict.

During his speech, the minister outlined a number of specific key areas where business could have a positive input into environmentally sustainable practices. These included sustainable consumption and production, climate change mitigating practices, water conservation, waste prevention, more efficient use of energy and litter prevention.

He concluded by telling business leaders that consumers were increasingly expecting companies to actively look at how they can help the environment.

A recent study found that the Irish city of Dublin had a persistent litter problem which was putting businesses off operating in the capital.

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