Over 90% of small and medium sized businesses in Ireland plan to maintain or increase their investment in sustainability practices over the next year.
The SME sustainability sentiment survey conducted by Behaviour and Attitudes for Uisce Éireann reveals that 73% of companies plan to maintain their current level of investment, while 20% expect to increase their spend.
More than half of the businesses surveyed said they believe operating a sustainable business attracts more customers.
However, 72% said rising costs were the top barrier to investing more in sustainability practices.
Others cited a lack of information on sustainability practices and a lack of Government support as problematic barriers.
"The Behaviour and Attitudes research shows Irish SMEs fully realise the importance of offering sustainable products and services to their customers, with the vast majority planning to continue investing to introduce sustainable practices and solutions," said Geoffrey Bourke, Business Operations Manager at Uisce Éireann.
"However, the survey also found they feel there is a lack of guidance for businesses around sustainability, with nearly seven out of ten not aware or not sure where to access supports," he added.
Uisce Éireann offers a number of free initiatives to help SMEs reduce costs and become more sustainable when it comes to their use of water.
These include its Water Stewardship Programme and Annual Certification Scheme.
"Uisce Éireann understands the concerns and challenges facing SMEs and this summer we commenced writing to all our 180,000 commercial customers, detailing their projected water costs and advising how they can achieve savings while also conserving water and becoming more sustainable," said Mr Bourke.
"There is growing awareness among SMEs about the value of water to their business and the potential savings that can be made to their bottom line by becoming more water-aware," he added.