Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Strategy and Reporting

From customers to investors, stakeholders across the board are putting growing pressure on organisations to engage in ethical and sustainable business practices. This makes it more important than ever to consider environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors when establishing your business strategy.

What is ESG?

ESG is a collective term which stands for Economic, Social and Governance. It is a framework used to measure how well a business integrates these three components into their operations and development, with a more financial context from the perspective of how the world impacts a company or investment. ESG at its core is both a corporate governance framework and an investment framework.

ESG reporting refers to the disclosure of data covering a company’s operations in the three areas of environmental, social and corporate governance. It provides a snapshot of the business’s impact in these three areas for investors, customers and wider stakeholders. The value of ESG reporting is that it ensures organisations consider their impacts on sustainability issues and enables them to be transparent about the risks and opportunities they face.

90% of the world’s economy is now signed up to net zero commitments, and as more countries continue to set ambitious net zero targets, organisations are being increasingly scrutinised for their contribution to the fight against climate change. 

ESG contributions have to be meaningful, and robust science-based action needs to be measured, evaluated and reported on to differentiate impactful change from mere greenwashing.

Why does my organisation need an ESG strategy?

Corporate sustainability efforts are fast transitioning from voluntary to mandatory and are now under even greater scrutiny. Companies are already experiencing the financial consequences of failing to act on sustainability as countries implement regulations such as carbon taxes, and the financial and banking sectors integrate ESG rules into their funding criteria.

An ESG strategy will help you to understand and respond to the risk and opportunities that will impact your company’s success and long-term value creation. Specifically, it enables your organisation to:

  • Protect its reputation
  • Differentiate from competitors
  • Reduce operational costs through greater resource efficiency
  • Prepare for future changes in legislation
  • Access greater funding opportunities
  • Create business value
  • Attract and retain the best talent
  • Differentiate from competitors

There is also growing evidence that sustainable business practices are linked to improved business performance. Aligning your corporate goals with ESG issues is no longer a nice-to-have, but is becoming a business imperative.

Full range of support for ESG

Knowing where to start or where to focus can be daunting. At Ricardo, our aim is to support your organisation’s long-term success and value creation by providing expertise to help you plan and implement a robust and credible ESG strategy.

Our deep technical knowledge and leading strategic thinking enables us to support our clients to develop progressive strategies, underpinned by effective implementation pathways. Drawing on our expertise, we can deliver a range of services to support your organisation:

Strategy and reporting
- ESG strategy development and stakeholder engagement
- Target setting and road mapping
- Reporting and compliance for ESG disclosures (e.g. TCFD)
- Materiality assessment
- Response identification and governance
Risk and vulnerability
- Risk identification and management
- Future scenario planning
- Climate change vulnerability
- Water stress

Business operations
- Assessment of regulation and policy
- Supply chain sustainability
- New business models

Resources and waste
- Circular economy
- Sustainable packaging 
- Sustainable procurement

- Renewable energy opportunities

Environmental impact
- Life Cycle Assessment
- Carbon emissions
- Natural capital and biodiversity net gain

Actions and implementation pathways

Maximising value for your organisation

Ricardo offers a wide range of services to enable progressive and ambitious organisations to maximise their value, using our expertise to develop robust, credible and sustainable roadmaps.

We help you go beyond minimum information disclosure requirements and regulatory compliance, and work with you to identify opportunities and support you with longer-term strategic thinking and value creation. Our wide range of services include:

Anticipating and managing a broad range of risks

  • Developing/reviewing the ESG strategy and prioritising actions for greater returns
  • Identifying key metrics and setting targets for improvement
  • Embedding effective management systems to create efficiencies
  • Providing training to raise awareness and buy-in throughout the organisation
  • Environmental due diligence to assess the risks from the impacts of climate change  within the organisation and its supply chain
  • Identifying actions to increase resilience and future-proof assets
  • Providing reporting and disclosures to manage reputation
  • Analysing activities from competitors and the wider market
  • Responding to competitors’ actions and trends in the market

Creating high value for maximum impact

  • Managing energy, carbon and greenhouse gas emissions through the organisation and the supply chain
  • Reviewing resource efficiency and assessing alternative technologies to support decarbonisation
  • Minimising the environmental impact of your products with comprehensive life cycle assessment
  • Designing and implementing new circular business models
  • Developing a robust strategy grounded on science-based targets towards net zero carbon
  • Establishing an environmentally sustainable value chain
  • Creating and maintaining a market-leading position through your competitive advantages (cost, branding, resilience)
  • Reporting and disclosures of your environmental ESG

Find out more

Get in touch with us using the form on this page to discuss your needs and discover how we can support you with your ESG strategy and reporting.

To find out more about the significance of ESG reporting from Jamie Pitcairn, Ricardo's Technical Director for Sustainability, read our blog: Why is environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) reporting important?