The changing face of Sustainability
19 May 2020
Covid-19 has triggered many global environmental improvements – take air quality and the reported resurgence in wildlife as a result of the growing restrictions on the movement of people due to enforced lockdowns.
However, the impact of the pandemic on vulnerable populations who lack access to sufficient financial wealth, to food and medical services is becoming a real concern as we move through this scenario around the world.
Global markets and business operations themselves are being challenged in wholly new ways. As economies feel the full implications of the pandemic, for many businesses, the stability of supply chains, investors, clients and lenders may still be unclear.
All of this makes the future shape of sustainability hard to predict.
The aims of any global sustainable development goals in the aftermath of this pandemic are not yet fully visible. Yet it seems obvious that sustainability, in whatever form it may develop into, will feature on every corporate agenda.
To prepare for the ‘new world’, we recommend all parties to revisit their sustainability strategies, which could include;
- Non-financial reporting within annual financial statements such s a voluntary section on ESG/CSR.
- A review of the wider environmental impact assessment.
- Undertaking supply chain environmental and stainability assessments of the underlying investments and the environmental impact of service providers.
- Refreshing acquisition Due Diligence to give due attention to ESG and sustainability factors beyond financial impact, although financial will continue to be a driver.
Looking to obtain appropriate and genuine kite marks and branding such as TISE Green and Guernsey Green Funds.
Following Covid-19, once investors have had time to stabilise their own portfolios, it is likely that they will become even more focussed on the social impact of their investing activities. Consequently, investors may entertain a reduction in returns for increased social impact.
Many current best practices could become hygiene factors so the challenge is for funds and asset managers to be innovative and establish their own unique green and sustainable practices to make them stand out in what will most likely become a crowded market place in the aftermath of the pandemic.
HOW BDO CAN HELP
BDO offers a dedicated team of assurance professionals as well as access to a global team of experts who can support the development of your sustainability strategy. We offer expertise in fields such as low carbon building and transport, renewable energy (geothermal, solar, wind), bioenergy, water and land infrastructure, fisheries, agriculture and smart and sustainable cities.