Architects have a vital role in global sustainability, not only as businesses that trade and employing thousands of people, but because they design the buildings and areas we will be using in the future.
ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance. It is a framework for evaluating the sustainability and ethical impact of an organisation. Architects who incorporate ESG principles into their work can help to create a more sustainable and equitable future. By designing buildings that are environmentally friendly and socially responsible, architects can make a positive impact on the planet and the people who live and work in their buildings.
Most architects will already be doing these on current projects –
- Using sustainable materials and construction practices
- Designing buildings that are energy-efficient and use renewable energy sources
- Building in a way that minimises environmental impact
Those that are more progressive will also be looking at –
- Promoting social equity and inclusion
- Creating spaces that are healthy and comfortable for occupants
- Designing buildings that reflect the culture and identity of the community.
- Engaging with the community throughout the design process.
However, what is becoming more of a risk is inaction within. The SME market is currently unregulated when it comes to ESG but frameworks are expected to come down the line as soon as 2025. Therefore, the main thing is to start and not get caught out. Voluntary frameworks such as BCorp are becoming more popular and currently there are 53 Architects accredited in the UK, with many more likely going through the process.
As a start, it is important for MDs to think about whether they can answer these questions in your business?
- What ESG information do you currently receive? What are you measuring?
- Are you aware of the impact ESG pressures are having on your business?
- Have you considered the internal & external pressures, threats and opportunities?
- What is the long-term goal for your business and how can ESG help?
- How would you define your purpose, values, culture & strategy?
It has been proven many times, that ESG is firmly linked to the following benefits –
Improved Financial Performance
A focus on ESG can help win tenders or make products more attractive to socially / environmentally conscious consumers, whether B2B or B2C. It can also result in cost savings, especially in buildings or offices. Don’t forget, there are favourable tax allowances aimed at innovation and installing/ purchasing environmentally friendly equipment.
A strong ESG strategy can help companies build a positive reputation with customers, employees, and other stakeholders. This can lead to increased loyalty, brand awareness, and market share. Depending on what your competitors are doing, this may be the differentiator for your business in the market.
A strong ESG strategy can drive innovation and help companies identify new business opportunities. For example, by developing more sustainable products and processes, companies can create new markets and differentiate themselves from competitors.
Improved Employee Engagement
Companies with strong ESG strategies are more likely to attract and retain top talent, as employees increasingly value socially responsible and sustainable workplaces. Additionally, employees who feel that their company is making a positive impact are more likely to be engaged and motivated at work, resulting in a productivity uplift.
Measurement of key metrics will help the business understand what the starting point is and will provide insight into drivers needed to achieve goals.
Positive Impact on society and the environment
Ultimately, a strong ESG strategy can help companies make a positive impact on society and the environment. By prioritising sustainability, ethics, and transparency, companies can contribute to a more equitable and sustainable future.
By focusing on environmental, social, and governance issues, companies can identify and mitigate risks associated with issues such as climate change, regulatory fines, labour practices, and supply chain management.
Meeting customer expectations
Consumers are increasingly demanding that the companies they do business with act responsibly and sustainably. By prioritising ESG, a small company can meet these expectations and build stronger customer loyalty. Companies should consider the supply chain that they are in and what the larger companies will be looking for.
Attracting and retaining employees
Employees are increasingly looking to work for companies that align with their personal values and demonstrate a commitment to social responsibility. By prioritising ESG, a small company can attract and retain top talent.
Ultimately, it comes down to a de-risking and ‘future-proofing’ strategy that will make businesses more valuable and provide opportunities for growth. Whether you are aware of the pressures yet or not, acting now is your best option.
Let us, as experts in Business, guide you through a process to understand your options and give you a clear vision for your short-term and long-term strategy. We want to help you align your business plans and goals to a robust ESG strategy. Contact us below via the contact form for more information: