When first introduced into the business world, many considered ESG (environmental, social and governance) practices to be merely a box-checking exercise when it came to regulations and standards. More and more, however, the construction industry and consumers alike are realizing the value of working with and investing in companies with a robust ESG strategy and procedures.
How Can an ESG Strategy Impact Consumer Investment?
A strong ESG policy does more than appeal to the masses. Social responsibility is increasingly important with consumers, as Forbes reports that 66% of consumers want the businesses they invest in to commit to enacting positive change.
ESG is about more than that, though, and businesses also benefit from minimized risks, sustainable practices and increased profitability. When ESG goals are set and met in a timely manner, there are major benefits to businesses in every industry, including construction.
Why Does ESG Matter in Construction?
Through the years, the construction sector has faced increased pressure to reduce its carbon footprint. The industry itself is responsible for a large part of global water usage, greenhouse gas emissions and global energy consumption, according to the United Nations Environment Program.
Many buildings that are already constructed without thought to ESG principles will still be around for decades to come. This makes it increasingly important that construction companies improve current practices to make an impact as quickly as possible. Fortunately, good ESG practices can also help reduce building disruption, improve construction methods, simplify waste management and provide a framework by which buildings are more resilient.
How Does an ESG Strategy Work in Practice?
Contractors balance a long list of tasks every day as they work through construction sites, but few have the time to invest in learning more about how to make the building process more environmentally responsible. While the Environmental Protection Agency provides a checklist and guidebook to clear up confusion, construction companies may benefit from working with an ESG consulting firm to set up a solid plan they know is reliable.
Application of ESG policies is necessary before writing a bid, before construction and during construction. While the changes may seem tedious and difficult, the long-term benefits of applying them are clear when presented appropriately.
Immediate positive, proactive environmental policies include:
- Temperature control and management
- Emissions tracking of transportation vehicles
- Solar energy generation
How Does Improved ESG Affect the Bottom Line and Prevent Building Disruption?
Even businesses that are extremely invested in the ESG rating of their company may not know how to practically apply these policies and ideas to affect the bottom line. Social responsibility is important, and a positive reputation can build growth, but at the end of the day, companies also want to consider how these practices will save them time, money and energy.
When it comes to construction, one of the most positive changes in ESG matters is the improved safety of working conditions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the construction industry is responsible for most on-the-job accidents, injuries and deaths.
Improving environmental policies also means fewer injuries and less disruption to projects. Safe environmental practices ensure that employees are working in humidity and temperature levels that are safe and that construction companies are complying with OSHA regulations.
For companies who build in cold weather, it is possible to control temperature and humidity in a way that protects against frozen pipes and the destruction they cause. The time to do this is before the freezing occurs, by monitoring the water temperature and heating pipes.
On the opposite end, extremely high temperatures can warp building materials and lead to additional delays and costs. The end result is often damage to mill work, wood cabinets, wood floorboards or wood molding.
Construction workers are often in enclosed, tight spaces for long periods of time. When carbon dioxide levels rise too high, the crew is at risk. Controlling carbon dioxide levels on construction sites through strong ESG policies protects employees and minimizes the risk of injury.
Materials and supplies often get damaged during the building process. This can be extremely costly for the construction company. Companies with responsible environmental policies can store and use supplies in the most cost-effective manner.
Worth the Wait
For many companies, investing in environmentally responsible policies just seems like additional work. The truth is that companies may still face delays and problems. The difference is that these delays and problems come in the form of proactive methods rather than reactive. Rather than fixing a problem, companies can avoid them altogether.
To create a business that will last, companies must have a strong ESG strategy. To learn more about our services and how we can improve the building process and your bottom line, contact us today.