Sustainability and the chain of responsibility
By Sandra Macleod
At a time when greenwashing is coming under greater regulatory scrutiny, and many companies are adopting ’greenhushing’ instead to avoid any uncomfortable limelight, how do we build a sustainable future where transparency and resiliency are key?
Our ‘Question Time’ panel facilitated by Echo’s Advisory Board sustainability expert, Professor Simon Pringle, at Arup’s London head office, explored the issues and lessons at stake.
While the science and measures may still be evolving, some core principles are universal in supporting everyone through this important journey.
Commenting on the group’s award as Britain’s Most Admired Company for 2021, Arup’s ESG & Sustainable Investment Advisory Leader Steven Lloyd said “Forward thinking Boards realise that ESG is number 1, 2 and 3 as a driver of reputation - not a separate thing to measure as it must be fully baked in to all parts of the organisation to be truly resilient.”
Based on the 2021 Most Admired survey across FTSE C-suite Directors and their financial analysts, Tarquin Henderson, Echo’s ESG Practice Director, said that 71% believe that ESG is about value creation and 58% also think it’s about managing risk.
In terms of lessons from the built environment, evidence is mounting in support of the growing optimism for both new infrastructure and retrofitting at serious scale: “There for the taking if we overcome fear and resistance by investing in new approaches, upskilling our people and suppliers, embracing full financial evaluation (including operational efficiencies and transition risk), and driving well-informed regulation,” highlighted Sam Stacey, CEO of Stacx International.
“We need a mindset to transparency, commitment to collaboration and common language to get there. To ensure real change, we need to address the full chain of responsibility from government, business, NGOs and citizens,” stressed Andrea Carpenter of the Urban Land Institute.