Twenty years ago, as the world entered a new millennium, people around the globe grew increasingly concerned about the effects of environmental disasters and climate change. Available information grew exponentially. Consumers and governments began demanding more environmental responsibility from corporations, and investors began demanding more honest assessments of risk associated with environmental, social, and governance issues.
As investors reward companies asserting green products and practices, “sustainability” is becoming a market force. Organizations are increasingly pressed to focus on the “triple bottom line”: boosting shareholder value, reducing environmental impacts, and investing in society. The subsequent, broader concepts of “social license” and “corporate responsibility” pushed businesses to do even more: improve worker safety; take action against harassment and discrimination; and increase diversity, especially in companies’ upper echelons.
The framework of the environmental, social, and governance (ESG) movement, which incorporates all the preceding efforts into one all-encompassing concept, depends on scores assigned by rating organizations to anchor companies’ claims in truth. The system is still evolving, and scores can fluctuate significantly depending on which organizations calculate them and what data sources they’re able to review.
Studies show that making ESG a strategic priority—developing metrics, tracking performance, and reporting results—improves long-term customer loyalty, financial and operational performance, and shareholder value. It can also give companies an edge in attracting and retaining employees.
Barr helps clients develop overall ESG frameworks but focuses mostly on the environmental aspects—everything from reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, water use and conservation and toxic-chemical exposure to setting renewable-energy targets, designing risk mitigations, and promoting biodiversity. Interested in learning more about Barr's ESG services. Contact our team.
About the author
Todd Fasking has nearly three decades of experience with multimedia compliance and permitting projects. His recent work includes overseeing large, complex environmental review, permitting, and environmental management projects for numerous mining and fuels clients. Some of the more challenging aspects he has worked to overcome in these recent projects have been the changing permitting landscape, including changes to GHG BACT, NAAQS, and modeling requirements.