How do you manage noise emissions from the largest rail project in Australia?
by Arvind Deivasigamani, Aaron McKenzie
Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) refers to a collective of business relevant factors relating to an organization's relationship with the natural and human environments. These factors, traditionally under-represented or not adequately contemplated by business, present significant risks and opportunities for our clients and their advisors.
The ESG landscape is continuously evolving, and it is increasingly difficult for organizations to keep pace. ESG performance is accepted by the investment community as a “proxy” for overall organizational and financial health. Strong ESG performance is the new business imperative, promoting an organization’s social license to operate and compliance with key requirements. It facilitates innovation and enables progressive relationships with stakeholders and rights holders and positions the business for long-term resilience. As scrutiny on the ESG performance and transparency of organizations continues to grow, we are seeing an inevitable increase in the demand for ESG advisory and consulting services.
We are well-positioned to assist our clients in the identification, prioritization, management, and communication of operational ESG risks and opportunities. Our ESG Performance & Assurance team in Canada is helping clients navigate the complex world of ESG and develop, implement, monitor, and improve the tools and systems needed to “future-proof” their businesses against ESG-related risk. We look at whether an organization considers itself to be “Future-Assured”—that is, what are the organization’s business imperatives for sustainability and resiliency? This is a question that many of our clients do not currently know the answer to.
The process of helping our clients become “Future-Assured” is based on the concept of assurance. More specifically, it seeks to help companies understand their current “gaps” (risks) as they relate to ESG against a desired or required state, as defined by the marketplace. Our services offered under the “Future-Assured” umbrella are diverse. This could be a standalone ESG solution, but also a service that can be bolted on to conventional consulting services, such as transactional due diligence.
The new marketplace is too sophisticated for “greenwashing”. Our clients can no longer assume that reporting good news, green accomplishments, or legal compliance statistics will suffice. Stakeholders are becoming increasingly sophisticated in their knowledge, understanding, and expectations regarding corporate performance around ESG factors. Disclosure needs to be appropriate, reliable, trusted, relevant, timely, and accessible. You only want to disclose what is important and relevant (i.e., material). Once information is in the public domain, you cannot take it back.
Leveraging our global capabilities, we are very well-positioned to support our clients in the development and implementation of the tools and systems needed to identify and prioritize ESG risk and opportunity, and track and report on ESG performance. Our collective credentials and capabilities cover everything from helping clients identify what ESG risks and opportunities are relevant and matter, to implementing the tools and systems required to manage those risks and opportunities. We can help our clients understand how they compare in performance to accepted industry standards and reporting frameworks, how they compare in performance to their industry peers, and how resilient they are to key risks factors such as climate, impacts to their supply chain, regulatory issues, or managing relationships with Indigenous and other rights holders.
First steps first. Most clients need help with an initial evaluation of ESG risk and opportunity—what is relevant and what matters, with reference to key stakeholder standards and expectations. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks and months about these services.
by Arvind Deivasigamani, Aaron McKenzie
by Emma Elbaum