We recently sat down with Chloe Kuder, Newable’s ESG and Sustainability Manager, to discuss how she plans to lead and manage our sustainability and environmental programme and support our wider ESG agenda.
What are the biggest challenges facing our ESG strategy?
The number and the variety of businesses we have within Newable are the main challenges we face in implementing our ESG Strategy and we have to take a flexible approach to address them. Some of our subsidiaries, for example, have a naturally higher environmental impact than others, and they may need to tackle this in phases to maintain operations and carefully manage any impact on customers and stakeholders. We need to accept that the progress made by individual businesses may not always be in line with the ambitious objectives set across Newable as a whole. Having said that, one thing that remains consistent across the group is that we are all very motivated and there is a strong desire to make meaningful progress.
Where have we made the most progress in the last 12 months?
We have come a very long way across the three streams, particularly on the environment. From understanding the basics with the help of partners and consultants, many of whom helped us formulate our strategy, to building our own carbon reporting tool. The Net Zero target is ambitious, and we had to do a lot of research and educate ourselves on the whys and wherefores of it. However, we now have a very good understanding of where we are, what our measurable emissions are, and where they come from.
Based on your experience, what are the effective strategies for raising awareness on ESG within the wider organisation?
The management team is well aware of ESG matters, but it is true that this might not necessarily be the case for all our staff. This is why we need to deliver clear, regular, and concise communication and provide an open forum for ongoing discussions. We also wanted to go the extra mile, so we created the Environmental Team and the Social Values Team, which act as bottom-up communications channels. These two teams are open to all employees and allow them to come together and debate issues, share ideas, raise awareness, suggest improvements and, most importantly, challenge views!
What do businesses and advisers need to get right in order to further the ESG agenda?
I would say the main thing is to realise, accept and welcome the fact that ESG is an active function that needs to be embedded within the business. For example, where you could previously satisfy a social commitment by just having a policy published online, now this policy needs to be brought to life through a working process with reportable outcomes. It is right that the bar has been raised so that those who fail to do this score badly on any reputable ESG accreditation or benchmark. For example, a well-articulated fair pay policy is not sufficient if you still have major ethnic or gender pay gaps which you are not actively addressing.
How is Newable doing on the roadmap to achieve the ESG goals set?
I would say we are doing all right! It is inevitable that our strategy and our tactics will need minor adjustments from time to time because we are on a journey of learning and discovery. However, we are ticking off a lot of the targets we have set for ourselves, such as the Green Mark accreditation. Our progress is being monitored very carefully by the Environment and Social Impact (ESI) Committee, which is a formal body appointed by the Board and led by a non-executive director.
What is next for Newable’s commitment to ESG?
Quite simply, we want to keep up the good work and ensure that everyone remains actively engaged. We accept and acknowledge that we are on a long journey and some issues around E, S, and G will take time to resolve because they require a cultural change across our business and beyond. However, it is precisely because we are taking the time to understand where each stakeholder stands, where their strengths and weaknesses lie, and how we can support them on their own journey, that ESG will undoubtedly become a success story for Newable.
Find out more about our ESG strategy and commitments >> here