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The tree has been unceremoniously dumped in the local park, the lights unwound and boxed away, and what remained of the tinsel hoovered up into oblivion.

Yes folks, another Christmas has ding-donged merrily on high – and in some cases down low – and we have once again been propelled forward into a New Year of resolutions (too eager), regrets (too many) and realism (one would have done).

Happy 2023!

Happy New Year to you and welcome to the pared-back, bauble-free world of January 2023, a time when plans are hatched, objectives agreed and forecasts prepped for the shiny new year ahead.

At CGBC HQ we are wading through the raft of aims and ideas pinned to our ISO mood board. And, taking centre stage this year are the twin trending standards – ISO 14001 and 27001. Yes indeed, 2023 will see all things Environmental and Digital Security top agendas across the business world, both at home and abroad.

As far as the Environment is concerned, we – businesses, individuals and governments – have continued to tick all the right boxes. But, as far as doing the do is concerned, we have failed quite abjectly. So, while Winter 2022 was very the much one of discontent as far as our failing commitments to global agreements was concerned, 2023 is looking decidedly brighter in its environmental aspect.

With 2022 ending on somewhat of a high resulting from the positive outputs of COP 15 Biodiversity, we move into 2023 with a clearer picture – so crystal clear it’s stark – of what we need to do to play our part in hindering the rapid progress of climate change and hopefully slowing if not braking the rise in average global temperatures.

So what now?

Top of the environmental priority list is working to an immoveable timeline to rid Ireland, and the world, of carbon-laden fossil fuels. As we hit the peak of planning season, businesses across Ireland should be researching, planning for and taking advantage of all grants, subsidies and tax-breaks on offer from a Green-driven government determined to crack the combined problems of ‘dirty energy’ and an ongoing energy crisis.

2022 saw national energy distributor, ESB Networks, add a record number of clean-energy generators to the National Grid. According to a spokesperson, it is expecting that number to be exceeded in 2023, with a growing number of Irish businesses prioritising green targets.

At the same time, large investors are shoring up new builds in the offshore wind space, bringing to realisation the hopes for many years, that Ireland can develop the infrastructure necessary to become both energy self-sufficient and a viable energy exporter.

When it comes to clean and green, nothing has said ‘we are eco-conscious’ more over the past decade than the switch to hybrid fleets. Multiple large businesses now run wholly green fleets, with An Post being the chief flag bearer for electric vehicles.

At a time when more Irish businesses are taking the plunge into pollution-free, the Irish government is, in parallel, aiming for the twin targets of reducing the number of cars on our roads by 20% by 2030 and growing the number of electric cars to 30% of the overall national number, both domestic and corporate.

2030 is only seven years away. Not a very long time in which to convert a fleet from fossil fuel to electric. Time is of the essence. The die has been cast!

But there is hope...

Elsewhere, An Bord Pleanala and An Taisce have come under growing pressure to review plans and permissions to construct potentially environmentally catastrophic builds including that of a waste treatment plant that would emit tonnes of animal waste into an area adjacent to a protected area (special area of conservation). In recent years, waste and water treatment have come under growing scrutiny. Expect that to intensify over the next twelve months.

While ISO 14001 may not provide the overall answer to problems and objectives such as these, the environmentally-focused requirements of the Environmental Management System Standard derived and designed by leading experts in the field, can both guide and support businesses to make the right, fact-based, commercially sound choices when it comes to developing environmental policies, protocols and processes.

Meanwhile, in the land of IT security, IT managers and business leaders are becoming increasingly concerned with the growing ease with which ‘career hackers’ are breaking into and taking over their systems.

And, while it’s wonderful that crimes such as money laundering and bank robberies have dramatically dropped in number since 2020, it should also be noted that instances of bank fraud and breaches of security of accounts in financial institutions has escalated beyond the most informed of forecasts.

Like trying to teach granny to suck eggs, we’re not going to lecture you on the reasons it is best business practice to implement robot IT security systems. Suffice it to say that experts are predicting another bumper year for cyber criminals and digital do-wrongers.

With personal and business confidential information, especially financial data, at a “hacker” premium, employing best of breed methodologies such as ISO 27001, the Information Security Management System Standard, to address digital security has become less luxury, more necessity.

No customer, existing or potential, wants their personal data being stored by an organisation whose security principles, processes and infrastructure aren’t of the highest (ISO) standard.

Our Predictions for 2023

Finally, it wouldn’t be a New Year if there weren’t a few predictions!

1.

Digital Transformation and the Climate Crisis will be the most pertinent factors effecting businesses in 2023, both in Ireland and globally.

2.

ESG Objectives will begin take precedence in a year that will see Ireland mark Earth Overshoot Day in April. From plastic packaging through LED lightbulbs to canteen cutlery, Irish businesses need to increase their sustainability goals whilst simultaneously reducing their carbon footprint.

3.

The Energy Crisis will drive the demand for cheaper and renewable energy solutions, boosting delivery of on and offshore wind energy infrastructure as well as an increase in solar panels in the design element of any large construction projects and large-scale residential developments.

4.

Drone Delivery will become a way of life, driving the need for increased IT security systems to prevent re-direction or airborne ‘hijacking’ of these airborne delivery vehicles. Add to that the growing number of data breach reviews subject to the Digital Services Act, 2023 should see a dramatic rise in the need for enhanced protection of IT systems and optimal data security.

How are you improving your business in 2023?

Here at CG Business Consulting we are focussed on one thing only, and that’s to add value to your business by leading you through the ISO certification process.

Whatever your business may be, holding an ISO certification can reduce overheads, improve productivity and heighten your businesses credability in your industry.

Check out our “ISO Basics” article to see why you should consider an ISO certification today.

Alternatively, book a free consultation with our team to discuss your needs.

David Whelan, Logistics / QEHS Manager Grundfos Ireland "We found the level of competency from the team to be of a very high level compared with other consultants. CGBC worked to get a very thorough understanding of our business, this made life easier for us and meant they could give us some very helpful advice."