Even if you’re not familiar with the acronym ESG, you’ll understand the importance of environmental, social, and governance issues.
While it’s easy to make claims that you’re doing the right thing in these areas, that’s no longer enough. Customers, investors, regulators, employees and others are demanding transparency and accountability around ESG goals, metrics and progress.
The UK Government is tackling environmental issues in public sector activities through what it calls Greening Government Commitments. These set out the actions government departments and their agencies should take to reduce their impact.
New commitments have been set out for the period from 2021 to 2025. They include targets to:
They also set out commitments for departments to:
The commitments apply to the office and non-office estate of central government departments and their Executive Agencies, Non-Ministerial Departments and executive Non-Departmental Public Bodies, unless specifically exempted.
Except for greenhouse gas emissions, the targets are aggregate central government targets. They are not minimum performance targets for individual departments. They do, nonetheless, act as a guide.
Sustainability reporting should provide transparency on performance in a public sector organisation year-on-year. Organisations are also encouraged to report beyond the minimum requirements, detailing their economic, social, and environmental impacts. This should include how these impacts are affected by their policies, procurement and operations.
Organisations are encouraged to show how sustainability is an essential characteristic within their strategic objectives, operations and policymaking.
It is also important to understand and manage the risks inherent in integrated reporting. Additional context must be given to explain areas of particular focus and those most material to the organisation.
HM Treasury has published guidance on reporting. It applies to all those bodies that fall within the scope of the Greening Government Commitments and which produce annual reports and accounts per HM Treasury's Government Financial Reporting Manual.
The guidance sets out minimum reporting requirements, offers best practice examples and details the principles to be adopted when preparing the information.
We’ve included the link if you want to view the full guidance here.
We can help you understand any part of the revised Greening Government Commitments and the sustainability reporting requirements.
If you’d like to learn more, just call us.