60% of the UK’s carbon emissions are from non-domestic sources. The private and public sectors therefore have a key role in reducing these emissions through their own operations, but they can also play a key role in supporting consumers in addressing the 40% of emissions from households. Diligent corporate sustainability, however, goes far beyond an organisation’s direct carbon emissions or those associated with the use of its products and services, it must encompass much more to attract both investment and talent.
Corporate reporting and sustainable investment funds already require large companies to disclose both the effects of environmental and social factors on their business as well as the impacts, positive and negative, of their entire value chain on the environment and society. This includes climate change mitigation and adaptation, protection of water, marine resources and ecosystems, pollution control, modern slavery and wider impacts on society.
Employers should also recognise that current and future talent want to work for organisations that have a positive impact on society and the environment and lead in fighting climate change. Recent research found that 78% of UK adults believe it is important to play a part in achieving net zero. Moreover, a career in tackling climate change was the second most popular choice for young adults, with almost one in two wanting the company they work for to demonstrate a commitment to environmental and social responsibility.
Public sector procurement is also driving change in the private sector, with requirements for integration of social value into contracts, submission of supplier carbon reduction plans and a new framework for reducing modern slavery risks all being introduced in the last 2 years. The NHS, for example, has also committed to net zero target of 2045 for its entire value chain and will require its 80,000 suppliers to demonstrate progress against this target within the next 5 years.
The NHS has also recognised that investing in our planet is good for population health. Improving nutrition, increasing active travel and improving air quality all reduce environmental harm and improve health.
It is not surprising then that companies that are leading on climate action are more than twice as likely to exceed financial targets. At Gemserv we support Public Sector clients, such as the Department for Work and Pensions, and private sector clients, such as those in the NHS’ supply chain, to understand their impacts and invest in our planet to drive organisational value.
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