The abbreviation ESG has become a buzzword in the in-board rooms and investor conferences today, but its prevalence extends far beyond advertising appeal. A term that relates to sustainable businesses practices, ESG stands for three sustainability criteria and responsibilities for companies, namely, Environmental, Social and Governance.
The ESG revolution will run in parallel with the Digital Transformation that we are witnessing across the globe. Governments and investors are now tracking ESG performance metrics closely. Around the world, awareness is growing amongst consumers as well. As companies are being made report ESG metrics, management teams have begun taking strategic initiatives to solve for and better the ESG metrics that they now regularly report to boards and investors. As a result of these initiatives, ESG adherence will begin to play a larger role in the way business operations are carried out.
The COVID-19 crisis has highlighted the environmental factor of ESG. The pandemic has led to a more widespread acceptance and adoption of ESG standards across Real Estate as an asset class.
Not long ago, real estate was synonymous with the tenets of capitalism. However, recent years have seen the trend skewered in the opposite direction. The inclusion and application of ESG standards in the world of real estate will only help move the trend in the right direction.
People are beginning to realize that way real estate is planned, developed, and operated post development, can have a significant impact on the environment and the society. From the rehabilitation of public spaces that indirectly attribute value to existing real estate; to affordable social housing and care centres; and an increased environmental focus in investment on new types of eco-friendly or green buildings that are trying to move towards ‘net zero’, this new trend has proven that sustainability has become increasingly vital.
Let us break down the of ESG in the Real Estate and Real Estate Services a bit more –
In the Real Estate Sector, the design guidelines, and operating processes before, during and post construction are being revaluated. Air quality, energy usage, carbon emissions, water conservation, radiation management, waste management, surface hygiene (ATP), environmentally friendly procurement of material & equipment, biodiversity, waste management and afforestation are topics that developers and service providers are trying to address.
The social aspect of ESG relates topics such as gender, diversity, inclusion, organisational culture, and employee welfare. In the real estate sector, social guidelines may refer to such criteria as job creation, gender diversity, the hiring of differently abled staff members, employee health and safety, learning and development programs, procurement from NGOs, employee welfare and engagement, and community welfare.
Governance in ESG refers specifically to corporate governance. ESG investors place value in the knowledge that management is conducted fairly and in the interest of all the stakeholders, and not just themselves. ESG guidelines for real estate include policies related to environmental, as well as financial discipline and compliance.
At SILA Group, we believe the global trend of sustainability in real estate and facility management is the need of the hour and must be encouraged. As part of our commitment to environmental and social sustainability, we are actively investing in building teams to meet our ESG goals, envisioning and enforcing compliance procedures and up-skilling our on-ground resources towards achieving a more sustainable corporate ecosystem.