The Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) approach has become increasingly important for businesses and their reputation.

Environmental

With COP26 taking place in Glasgow this week, the emphasis has been on collaboration and how we can work together to deliver what’s needed. It is vital that every business contributes to the reduction of carbon emissions, as it’s something we cannot do alone.

With the built environment contributing significantly to carbon emissions, our industry has a big role to play in mitigating carbon emissions. Innovation plays an important role in ensuring companies can select materials and construction methods that reduce their impact on the environment. For example, modern methods of construction (MMC) have seen a significant rise in the last few years, which is part of the Government’s Construction 2025 plan to lower emissions. The Construction Playbook also makes suggestions on how MMC should be considered to create wider value, such as social value and the drive to net zero.

Social

How a company manages its relationships with its people, clients, supply chain, and key stakeholders is crucial. The pandemic has changed the way we work. Health and wellbeing, collaboration and engagement are at the forefront of decision making, and it’s great to see how the design of workplaces and offices are adapting to suit our changing needs. Integrating hybrid and agile working policies can bring many benefits for staff and employers, such as a better work-life balance, as well as improving employee retention and reducing business costs.

The social element in ESG also has an important role to play within our industry. We help shape the built environment, helping to create lasting social value which generates real value to communities where projects are delivered. We believe that by investing in communities we can have a wider impact, such as, reducing our environmental impact, supporting SMEs through the supply chain and increasing skills and workforce development through sharing of expertise, STEM work and youth and unemployed support.

Governance

Having a good understanding and knowledge of governance risks and opportunities is essential. The company’s purpose, organisation structure and how performance is measured is at the heart of their operations. It facilitates benchmarking and best practice to ensure that policies and procedures are relevant and consistent. Ensuring that they comply with policies, rules and procedures is critical and failure to do so, can cause lasting damage to their brand, reputation, and finances.

Summary

It is great to see that the ESG criteria is helping to embed sustainability within businesses strategy and decision making. It is measures such as these, that will help organisations to become more aware of their carbon footprint and look to ways in which they can lower their emissions.