The Environmental Social Governance (ESG) criteria which replaces what most of us previously recognised as Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), is a significant revision and clarification of the principles by which businesses are being measured by consumers and society in general. They are also a valuable means by which a business can propound the values of their directors, employees and shareholders and, simply put, wear their hearts on their sleeves. More than ever, as the world navigates unsettling times, members of the public are looking to businesses to be a force for good and are increasingly making choices based on the policies, actions and behaviours demonstrated by a company.
Broadly speaking, ESG can be used as a tool to highlight a business’ positioning towards environmental, social and governance issues. Whilst Landed Estates are beginning to seriously address the first of these criteria with strides being taken towards implementing and applying good environmental practice, the question arises as to whether Landed Estates have yet started to grapple with the growing demand for excellent social and governance values.
‘Social’ and ‘Governance’ concepts may be more relatable to corporate bodies who are equipped with Human Resource departments and ‘Equality Diversity and Inclusion’ working groups but are perhaps not such familiar terms for those operating Landed Estates. In addition, Landed Estates have sometimes struggled in proving their relatability to members of the general public and may increasingly find themselves exposed to poor publicity in this area which might in turn undermine efforts to generate additional income streams through diversification.
We can help
Here at Muckle, we increasingly hear from clients and agents seeking a reference point for what amounts to good ESG within a business. Muckle is proud of being a market leader regarding all elements of its ESG strategy. Our core values of trust, teamwork, responsibility and care are demonstrably driven from the top down. As part of the Agriculture, Estates and Rural Property team, we can combine that corporate knowledge with a unique insight into how this might translate into the Landed Estate sector and welcome approaches from clients looking for strategic advice and inspiration in this area.
As consumer awareness and demand for upstanding business behaviors intensifies, the time to act on ESG is very much now. Leaving matters until the issue is forced may water down any true impact a properly formulated ESG strategy may otherwise have; those who lead and act on these issues now will garner the most credibility for having done so in the future.