Environmental, Social, Governance and Helping Businesses Walk the Talk
Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) has become a hot talking point with businesses quick to shout about their intentions around climate change and social justice, amidst pressure from investors, supply chain and customers.
It’s certainly exciting to think about opportunities beyond making short term profits, and many are questioning – is profit a measure of wealth, when that profit may contribute towards climate change, pollution, and the loss of natural resources? The momentum of the B-Corp movement, and climate negotiations at COP 28 have made businesses consider other indicators of true wealth such as health and wellbeing, sustainability and supporting our local communities. It’s no wonder that ESG is soaring up the agenda.
Google Cloud’s Global Sustainability Survey conducted in 2021 collated insights from 1500 professionals from 16 EMEA countries and across a wide range of sectors. Findings showed that 90% of organisations now see improving their achievements across ESG factors as their top priority. Nearly three quarters attended at least 4 meetings each quarter related to sustainability, and almost two thirds stated they are willing to risk less short-term profit to prioritise sustainable progress in the long term.
But worryingly, many organisations are falling short when it comes to following up on their claims. To back up their assertions, businesses need to commit to investing in ESG ambitions and actions, and to educating, motivating, and empowering the wider business. However, costs and education seem to be the biggest barriers organisations are facing when committing fully to an ESG roadmap. Of those 90% listing ESG as a top priority, only 9% of their annual budgets were allocated to ESG projects, and 40% had no plans to increase this this year.
Many businesses are also now facing mandatory sustainability disclosures. In the UK, many businesses must report on their energy consumption and emissions under Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) and Streamlined Energy and Carbon Reporting (SECR). These legal requirements make accurate reporting on sustainability factors crucial, but only one third of the surveyed businesses had a methodology for measuring progress to targets and comparing year on year improvements.
In a world still reeling from the coronavirus pandemic, a cost-of-living crisis and the Russian invasion of Ukraine, it's no wonder challenges are mounting up for sustainability ambassadors. But there are opportunities for proactive businesses. Companies can save money by improving energy efficiency, deliver long term stability by preparing for inevitable mandatory sustainability reporting and improve brand reputation with more environmentally enlightened customers and stakeholders.
If the main challenges businesses are facing are costs and educating others, Beyondly, as a bespoke environmental partner to businesses, have evolved an ESG consultancy offering to tackle these hurdles. We allow you to create your own bespoke timeline, cherry-picking elements of the assessment that are most relevant to your business to spread the cost over a period of time. We can create a cost proposal at each stage, rather than one encompassing cost upfront, with a modulated approach and fees that reflect only the areas material to your business. This fully flexible approach allows you to prioritise what is important to you and spread the cost.
Similarly, if as a sustainability trailblazer, you feel you stand alone and struggle getting the wider business involved, we offer both onsite and virtual workshops aimed at motivating and empowering; offering opportunities for networking and sharing. Challenges can always lead to new opportunities and as part of our journey towards B-Corp certification we aim to harness the power of the businesses we proudly work with to contribute to a more sustainable planet. We would love the opportunity to partner with you in working towards meaningful ESG actions, in a sea of ESG words.