Cloud Sustainability April Newsletter: The increasing prominence of Sustainability and Environmental Social Governance (ESG)
Spring appears to have officially arrived and with it our 'extended' Cloud Sustainability newsletter - #3. In this months issue we hear from our friend James Holley of KPMG on the rise and increasing prominence of Environmental Social Governance (ESG) and what it means to business, investors and supply chains. We also feature a few interesting projects we are working on as well as give a general run down of what we have been up to, what we like the look of and where we will be over the next couple of months.
ESG – A new sustainability focus for investors and business
James Holley, Associate Director, UK Head of Responsible Investment/ESG
Over the past 30 years, the interest in company non-financial performance has grown significantly. The predominant focus on the environmental impact and performance of the largest listed global firms in polluting industries (such as oil and gas) has grown far beyond this scope.
Today, whatever their sector, most companies are having to grapple with
an ever-growing list of issues that cover the three pillars of sustainability - social, environmental and economic. With this explosion in interest, there has also been a growth in the terms used to describe these issues, including sustainability and corporate social responsibility, often with subtle differences depending on who the user is.
Investors have increasingly been getting to grips with evaluating a company not just based on the financial performance. ESG is the term that has emerged globally to describe the environmental, social and corporate governance issues that investors are considering in the context of corporate behaviour. The investment industry is now recognising that ESG is not simply a matter of ‘tick box’ compliance, but that is makes good business sense and that managing ESG actively can deliver shareholder value.
A key aspect of ESG is effective communication with investors and other
stakeholders for both listed, and increasingly unlisted companies. Companies are being asked about their management of ESG issues as part of the due diligence process, whether this is acquiring a new business, selling a property, or refinancing. Having robust ESG management processes in place, and effectively reporting performance, is becoming a business as usual expectation.
As with the initial scrutiny of environmental issues, compliance with
legislation is still a focus with ESG. There is however interest in companies compliance with broader sustainability issues. In the UK, one example is the recent Modern Slavery Act 2015, which places an obligation on both listed and unlisted businesses to report on whether there is a risk of either modern slavery or human trafficking involved in their supply chain.
How important is ESG to your organisation or in your day to day work and would you like to see a 20-30 minute eLearning module on the subject?
St Joseph's Catholic College
"The College has looked at its waste & energy costs and the
awareness of its students and staff. The suggestions made by ‘Cloud Sustainability’ as well as the elearning programme for all, we believe will be informative and useful in the short term and save money in the longer term."
Howard Moscrop, Assistant Director of Finance and Operations, St.
Joseph's Catholic College.
We are really excited to be working with the forward-thinking St
Joseph’s catholic college in Swindon who have spotted the multiple benefits of increasing resource awareness among their students, teaching and support staff and of more closely monitoring energy and water use and waste to drive improvement.
Academically the staff and students will benefit from accredited
sustainability education and operationally the FM staff will be better informed, both in terms of actual ‘live’ usage data as well as increasing their resource efficiency knowledge.
Teaching staff, students and support staff will therefore all be
empowered to take actions to improve. In addition, Cloud Sustainability is using it’s unique approach and tools to track learning outcomes and sustainability metrics simultaneously to report on the multiple benefits of the St Joseph’s resource efficiency programme.
This integrated approach is set to deliver significant financial and environmental improvement as well as enhancing St Joseph’s reputation as a progressive and sustainable educator.
Our work is pretty diverse at Cloud, and so are our customers. Here are
just two examples of interesting projects we are currently working on…
We are currently working with Marks & Spencer to deliver an EU wide
eLearning programme to their technologists and wider teams on REACH.
REACH is a European Union regulation concerning the Registration,
Evaluation, Authorisation and restriction of CHemicals. This regulation impacts Marks and Spencer and a number of products and product imports they bring to market.
eLearning is an obvious choice for "compliance" related
content and we are thrilled to be working with M&S to develop an interactive twenty minute module to ensure appropriate information and knowledge relating to REACH is disseminated across the globe.’
Nick Garrod, Head of Learning and Development, Cloud Sustainability.
DS Smith is working with Cloud Sustainability who are providing a number
of eLearning modules and Workshops as part of a learning academy roll-out which has also been developed by them.
We were delighted to "kick-off" our first industry specific
workshop with Steve Lee, the CEO of The Chartered Institution of Wastes Management (CIWM) who provided a fascinating insight to all of our Key Account Managers on the waste industry, the circular economy and how well Leicester City are performing this year in the Premiership!
We are delighted to be working with Cloud Sustainability on what we see
as an exciting learning opportunity at DS Smith
Customer Journey Manager, DS Smith
The DS Smith Academy is an innovate way to access not only online
eLearning modules 24/7; but a full learning portal that can manage classroom courses, learning plans, competencies, as well as organisational and personal objectives.
Contact us if you are interested in how our "academies" can be
used in your organisation.
And what else have we been up to?
Richard Hilson, Associate Director, Cloud Sustainability.
We had a busy three days at the Resource conference at the ExCel in
early March and were proud to support the event and promote the circular economy.
As well as lots of interest from public and private sector organisations
in Cloud Sustainability’s innovative training and awareness programmes and in our resource data and reporting hub ‘Waste Expert’, we are happy to share the following take-aways with you (in true circular economy spirit feel free to send us your views in return!):
* The event is useful to gauge the stage of people’s thinking on circular economy although one can come away with the impression the construction sector are leaders in the use of materials and responsible sourcing. This is more likely because the event is co-marketed with EcoBuild!
* Our theory is, however, that more generally there is very little action on circular economy outside of the largest manufacturers and the smallest innovators. The average organization seems to be looking for a strategy on what circular economy is and means to us.
* The ** BSI circular economy standard BS 8001 (http://www.bsigroup.com/en-GB/standards/benefits-of-using-standards/becoming-more-sustainable-with-standards/Waste-Prevention-and-Circular-Economy-Project/) is due in the spring of 2017 – we are hopeful this will be a meaningful framework for businesses.Publishing of a new standard in a new area with a concept that is not already in action is actually fairly revolutionary.
* One of the most Interesting presentations was from the Dutch organisation ** Circle Economy (http://www.circleeconomy.com/?gclid=CjwKEAjw55K4BRC53L6x9pyDzl4SJAD_21V1w3IBs8kzQ20eqNj8uhvmi7P60dDu8XlT-9EN1dzqVxoC93Xw_wcB)
Who have developed sustainability metabolism maps for cities, with initial clients including Glasgow and Amsterdam. The maps can potentially capture all elements of circularity – jobs, materials, energy, waste - all aspects of sustainability, allowing cities to have a dashboard and benchmark of their level of circularity.
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