Navigating the ESG Landscape: A Practical Perspective on Standardisation and Unification16 November 2023
IMPACT Magazine recently headlined an article from our Chief Executive Officer Phil Rozier, exploring the challenges and pitfalls of ESG consultancy in the environmental industry. Phil advocated for practical, contextualised solutions and industry-wide standards to drive meaningful sustainability and future-proofing efforts.
Responding to this recent insight, Lucion’s Sustainability and ESG Unit Director Rob Molyneux responded by providing insight into our ESG offering, our approach to unification, and what, from Rob’s perspective, ESG currently means for our clients.
ESG Standardisation: A Practitioner’s View
Two and a half years ago I presented to colleagues at the virtual Inogen Alliance conference on the development of our new approach to evaluation of ESG performance of real estate assets. Something we had worked to develop over the previous 6-9 months during which our teams had read and digested what felt like a new standard or framework every other week. I presented that - at the time - there existed over 600 of these standards, frameworks, and disclosures, varying across industry sectors, geographies or focus areas.
The whole point of our approach (which went on to be nominated for the ESG Innovation Award by Environment Analyst) was attempting to bring together consensus and consistency in a world of rapid evolution and change. Reflecting the “key” elements of ESG from this wide, variety of credible sources, to present a single benchmark against which we could measure and benchmark performance, from which to build improvement.
This was well timed, and well received, and has been helpful to our clients both in the real estate sector as well as our corporate clients.
In real estate, our Clients continue to value our ability to benchmark overall ESG performance as part of the Due Diligence process, but many have also gone on to clarify their priority focus in specific areas such as Net Zero Carbon and Physical Climate Risk - with the development of key service offerings in these areas complementing our more holistic ESG benchmark assessments.
Our corporate clients are coming to us for support around ESG from different places. For many, “getting ESG right” is about incorporating key issues into the growth and maturity of their business, and a similar “benchmark” of the current position is a key part of developing ESG roadmaps and strategy, linked to materiality against their key core business focuses.
For others, our ESG advice and support is about future-proofing - horizon scanning against the regulated disclosure and reporting obligations those businesses are set to face in the future, and as part of their planned growth ambitions.
From where we were those two and a half years ago, talking about those 600+ standards a lot has changed. While ESG remains complicated and continues to have overlapping frameworks and numerous badges we can also see the smoke beginning to clear and clearer pictures beginning to emerge.
Global standards for business reporting and disclosure, particularly in sustainability and climate-related matters, are undergoing significant developments. Regulatory bodies like the SEC and FCA are aligning with established frameworks such as TCFD and emerging standards proposed by ISSB. The EU's CSRD and regional initiatives complement these efforts. This convergence reflects a broader push for standardised reporting, encouraging businesses to adopt common frameworks, and ensuring transparency and comparability in climate and sustainability disclosures.
The journey from a multitude of standards to a more cohesive approach reflects the industry's commitment to transparency and comparability. As global standards align and regulatory bodies embrace established frameworks, businesses can now focus on their sustainability journey with a clearer roadmap.
The call for unification is not just a regulatory requirement; it's a practical tool empowering organisations to meaningfully contribute to a sustainable future And, pleasingly, one we can realistically see beginning to develop. For our clients, without exception, they want to get on with ‘the doing’ in their sustainability efforts. Unification of ‘the reporting’ gives greater scope to do just that.
About The Author
Rob Molyneux CEnv
Sustainability Unit Director
With 18 years of operational experience in the energy and sustainability field, primarily in energy and carbon for the built environment and corporate sustainability.
With clear challenges in front of business concerning climate change, carbon emissions and sustainability, it is an exciting time to be in this sector with the ability to help organisations understand and mitigate the risks – and grasp the opportunities – we face as a result of climate change impacts on our businesses.
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