Creating a Strong Business and Building a Better World are not Conflicting Goals – They are both Essential Ingredients for Long-Term Success. - Bill Ford
The growing prominence of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) and Sustainability in India is revolutionising the entire corporate sector. Businesses are actively integrating ESG practices because it not only adds value to their portfolios but also creates a profound impact on sustainability. On the other hand, customers are becoming more conscious as they are now demanding that companies take responsibility for their social and environmental footprint. As we proceed, we will thoroughly discuss ESG and its impact on corporate values and growth. Along with this, we will also highlight the impact of flexible office spaces on successful ESG implementation.
“Ensuring ESG, Sustainability, and CSR for a Better Tomorrow”
Based on a theme called ‘Building a Sustainable Future’, Dun & Bradstreet India organised the inaugural edition of ‘ESG Leadership Summit 2023’ to highlight and acknowledge the significance of ESG. The summit was attended by several industry veterans including CSR Heads, CXOs, Sustainability Officers, and Tech & Finance Leaders. The summit also organised the presentation of ‘ESG Awards 2023’ where players like TCS, ICICI, Bharti Airtel, Tech Mahindra, Britannia, Schaeffler, and some others were honored based on their Environmental, Social, and Governance initiatives and efforts.
Despite the growing awareness among large enterprises, ESG remains the most concerning factor for authorities. In coming years, Indian companies might lose a huge amount of capital, if we do not build robust ESG frameworks on priority. Keeping that in mind, let's delve into ESG and understand why it needs to be integrated with corporate strategies and how one can accomplish it.
What Issues Are Covered Under ESG Practices?
As we know, the concept of ESG is the combination of three separate and imperative elements as each of them holds its significance in today's business and nature landscape. Being the foremost agenda among several corporates, ESG helps businesses to predict the risks in prior and take proactive measures. Coming back to the focal point, let’s understand what threatening elements are neutralised under ESG practices.
E – ENVIRONMENTAL: The environmental component includes concerns like climate risks, pollution, excessive use of natural resources, carbon emissions, energy efficiency, and biodiversity. To implement advanced environmental practices, businesses should keep on working and developing strategies including:
- Innovative Research & Development
- Change in Environmental Policies and Strategies
- Carbon Footprint Reduction
- Biodiversity Conservation
- Transparency & Reporting
S – SOCIAL: The social element is indeed a prominent pillar of ESG as it involves people who can collaboratively work on different initiatives. Social issues focus on human capital, labor regulations, diversity and inclusion in the workplace, human rights, community involvement and safety. Companies can improve their social practices through:
- Social Impact Initiatives
- Community Engagement through Diversity and Inclusion
- Fair Labor Practices
- Employee Well-being
- Privacy and Data Protection
To initiate and empower the social aspects of the business, many companies are looking towards flexible office space solutions. Flex is the future as these workspaces are equipped with the required facilities and provide the adequate environment to bring these notions into practice.
G – GOVERNANCE: The focal points under governance involve business ethics, remuneration policies, board diversity, bribery, corruption, and general risk tolerance. No matter how robust your environmental and social factors are, the concept of ESG remains ineffective without fair governance policies. To minimise governance breaches, businesses need to focus on:
- Board Structure and Committees
- Ethical and Compliance Policies
- Board Independence and Diversity
- Anti-Corruption and Anit-Bribery Measures
- Board Succession Planning
Hence, ESG is playing an imperative role in ensuring long-term sustainability for companies as it focuses on all the non-financial aspects, which either directly or indirectly impact the bottom line of the business. Apart from ESG, employee experience remains another foremost agenda in the post-pandemic period.
How Flexible Office Spaces are Contributing to Company’s ESG Agendas?
Post-pandemic, the concept of advanced, sustainable, and flexible office spaces has gained massive popularity among real estate operators. The need to provide sustainable solutions is now more than ever. Given the present deteriorating climate crisis, ESG, Sustainability, and CSR have become vital concerns for both; flex operators and occupiers. Considering the importance of ESG while keeping employee satisfaction in mind, companies are leasing flex spaces at prime business locations.
In recent times, we have been talking about the positive impact of flex spaces on the overall performance, productivity, and satisfaction of the workforce. But it’s high time to highlight and understand how these modern-day workspaces can practically contribute to ESG compliance.
1. Environmental Impact
Energy Efficiency: Flexible office spaces are designed with energy-efficient materials including LED lighting, smart temperature-controlling systems, and motion sensors to reduce needless energy consumption.
Tech-Enabled Electric Appliances in Meeting and Conference Rooms:
Tech-enabled Meeting and Conference Rooms help to minimise the efforts and energy required to access the amenities. This also allows occupiers to conduct flawless discussions without facing any technical hurdles.
Location & Accessibility: These enterprise office spaces are often located at prime commercial hubs and well-connected by public transportation, which allows more people to travel at once, restricting the use of private vehicles.
Hybrid Workplace Solution: By supporting flexible and hybrid work models, businesses can ensure daily commutation activities that lead to lower carbon emissions.
2. Social Impact:
Workplace Well-being: Flex workspaces are designed in such a way that it not only reflects the brand identity but ensures employee well-being at the same time. These spaces are packed with top-notch amenities including gaming & collaboration zones, snooze & medical rooms, and anger management rooms, promoting a healthier work environment.
Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace: ESG-compliant flex space operators allow businesses to work with other leading brands that focus on building a diverse team of talented personnel. This motivates other companies to foster a culture that promotes diversity and inclusion in the workplace.
Community Engagement: Flex space operators regularly organise cultural events that allow communities to come together and participate. This can also generate new ideas that motivate them to initiate cross-industry collaboration and partnerships.
3. Governance and Transparency:
Appropriate Operational Practices: ESG compliance entails responsible corporate governance and operational practices. Flexible office operators adhering to ESG principles are more likely to have robust governance frameworks. This creates a direct positive impact on the visitors, clients, and investors of the occupiers.
Organisations that stay ahead of the trends will not only attract investors but will also be able to uplift productivity and foster collaboration amongst their employees. In summary, flexible office spaces can positively contribute to ESG compliance by integrating sustainable practices, fostering employee well-being, promoting transparency, and engaging with their surrounding communities.
Businesses choosing flexible office spaces with strong ESG values align their operations with sustainable development goals and demonstrate a commitment to responsible business practices. We, as a leading managed workspace platform, ensure that our occupiers are moving into highly productive spaces backed by technology with ESG and sustainability at the core.