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Making a Difference: Implementing ESG in Local Government Organisations

Making a Difference: Implementing ESG in Local Government Organisations

by OneAdvanced PR, Author

Reaching Net Zero

In late 2021, central government set out a commitment to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Since then, the path towards net zero has been an uneven one, with targets pushed back for phasing out petrol and diesel cars, and promises broken for tackling nature depletion.

However, there remains a concerted push towards greater sustainability. The government released its Green Finance strategy in 2023, a paper outlining the need for private investment in green infrastructure, and Powering Up Britain, a report that sets out how the government intends to increase energy security in the UK and reach net zero targets by 2050.

There has been some guidance for local government organisations. The Local Government Association published the Green Finance Guide in 2022, with information on UKIB and other lenders, while pointing out some common barriers to funding, including amount of funding available, accessibility of funding, lack of workforce capacity, and internal skills and expertise.

Setting Objectives

Of course, in order for central government to complete its objectives, local government bodies will need to be on board. Objectives will need to be closely aligned on any number of green measures, including sustainable procurement practices, emissions reduction, waste reduction, and energy efficient housing.

Yet without sufficient funding, some, or many, of these objectives may be difficult or impossible to achieve – at least within the given timeframes. However, local government organisations can begin by looking in-house – are there any ESG measures that can be implemented at little to no cost? Are there any departments that could trial new ESG measures, with a view to wider implementation in the future?

New Ways of Working

For senior leaders carrying out an ESG audit of their organisation, there are many areas to consider. A good place to start is the working patterns of employees – a move towards hybrid or remote working, for example, can lower overall carbon footprint and reduce the need for IT resources.

Shifting towards hybrid and remote work also brings cost savings in most cases, particularly if using a cloud-based virtual desktop service such as AVD. By giving employees only the applications they need, virtual desktops offer a pared-down, scalable solution, with new software added when wanted. They also minimise environmental impact – a study by the Lawrence Berkely National Laboratory found that virtual desktops reduce energy use by 30-70%.

Cloud-based solutions normally bring greater energy efficiency than on-premise data centres, and there are likely numerous areas of your organisation which can benefit from being hosted in the cloud. From domiciliary and residential care to highway maintenance, the management of vital public services can be made more efficient – and cheaper – through cloud implementation.

Putting ESG First

Field Service Management is a good example of an area in which efficiencies are typically lost, through poor resource scheduling and low first-time access rates. When operatives are allocated to the wrong jobs, or resources are not optimised for work in the field, carbon footprint increases. Using software to optimise these workflows can significantly improve ESG measures by reducing unnecessary emissions.

Supplier management is another area that should form part of any ESG strategy. The right digital solution will provide the user with a clear overview of suppliers, with detailed information on regulatory compliance and structured assessment on how each supplier is adhering to their stated ESG goals. Supplier Management from Advanced gives your organisation a clear view on how your suppliers are living up to their ESG commitments, with the option to generate performance reports and category-based score cards for comparison. This allows you to choose suppliers based on their green credentials.

Risk management is a further area that should not be overlooked when it comes to ESG compliance. With Advanced’s Governance and Risk Management solution, decision makers can turn their ESG objectives into organisational goals, and integrate ESG policies into risk management strategies. This gives senior leaders the chance to put environmental measures at the heart of their operations.

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