Earth Day: Why ESG should start with your team

Stephanie Glover
DateApril 22, 2022

On this day fifty-two years ago, 20 million US citizens (10% of the population at the time) mobilized to call attention to the growing environmental crisis. This was the beginning of Earth Day, an annual event that celebrates the modern environmental movement. Today, Earth Day is observed by over a billion people worldwide with the aim of raising awareness, sharing knowledge and promoting environmental action

Since 1970, the environmental movement has changed drastically, from evolving legislations implemented by governments to protests and campaigns led by environmental groups and organisations. In recent years we have also seen ESG solidify its position within the financial sector as companies face increasing pressure to make more conscious decisions and demonstrate the impact of their activities  through transparent and reliable data. Sustainability is now being addressed at all levels of society, but at its core, environmentalism has always been driven by individuals, most importantly, individuals united by a shared purpose.

According to a 2021 study by The Health Foundation, 82% of the UK population is worried about climate change. This is a concern that needs to be addressed by all stakeholders including employers. We have seen with the recent release of the third IPCC report that urgent action is required to avoid climate disaster, and that this will only be made possible with a collaborative and collective effort from every sector of our society. This Earth day, we have interviewed Deepki Chief People & CSR Officer, Emmanuel Allanos, to find out why building ESG into your business starts with your team.

Why is Earth Day significant at Deepki? 

Every business begins with an ambition. Ours is to accelerate the environmental transition in the real estate industry. It is Earth Day every day at Deepki! But today is still a great opportunity to take stock and be reminded of why we are all here. The theme for Earth Day 2022 is ‘Invest in Our Planet’, and this is particularly relevant to our mission to help create a virtuous and sustainable real estate industry. Investing in our planet is investing in our future. Everybody is able to take part and everybody stands to benefit.

What does ESG mean to individuals at Deepki? 

ESG reporting is primarily performed by businesses to allow investors to make informed decisions based on extra-financial values. To individuals, this can seem more abstract but in reality, ESG exists because all stakeholders including citizens, employees and customers want businesses to be more responsible about the impacts of their activities. 

Deepki was founded because real estate accounts for nearly 40% of global CO₂ emissions. So far, the work we have done with our customers on ESG reporting, strategy and compliance has resulted in 180k+ teqCO₂ savings detected in 38 countries. ESG to individuals at Deepki means being able to have an impact. Not everybody in our team works specifically on ESG, but we are all passionate about sustainability and eager to contribute to the green transition.

Being able to demonstrate this impact to your employees is vital. This shows that ESG is not just seen as a box to tick. It’s about creating value for your customers as well as for your team.

How is ESG promoted internally at Deepki? 

Cultivating ESG values within a business begins with balancing purpose and profit. At Deepki, becoming a B Corporation was essential to demonstrating our commitment to these values and to continuous improvement. This demanding certification focuses on employee wellbeing, environmental impact, governance, customer satisfaction, and community involvement. We viewed this exercise as a guarantee of trust, responsibility and transparency to all of our stakeholders.

Diversity and inclusion, for example, has been a primary focus for establishing trust within our team and developing a positive work environment. This has allowed us to achieve 49% female employment, 40% female leadership, and employees representing 12 nationalities. We want our team to feel represented, empowered and valued.  Because people who feel valued create value.

Finally, an authentic commitment to ESG values requires purpose driven leadership. We have seen a large shift in priorities recently where people want to feel good about what they do and know that their work has meaning. Building a culture of value creation enables employees to genuinely connect with your company’s goals and bring their inspiration into all the projects they conduct.

How can Deepki use individual perspectives and values to achieve its goals? 

At Deepki, we are passionate about building a team with a shared vision. But we believe that individuality is equally important when addressing complex issues like sustainability. Our team is our greatest asset, so we need to learn to support individuality in order to unlock each other’s full potential.

Defining a powerful vision for people to rally behind is the first step. This shows employees the reason behind their work and helps prospective candidates identify whether a company is a good fit for them. But it needs to be accompanied with constructive collaboration and leadership to have the desired effect. Our CSR committee, which includes 10% of our team and counting, was formed to create opportunities for employee-led action and encourage greater involvement in our company’s ESG initiatives. Not only does this provide greater exposure to different opinions and perspectives, it also works to create stronger engagement within our team.

If the majority of individuals are worried about climate change then it is also the responsibility of businesses to provide opportunities for action. Building a successful ESG strategy is a daunting task, but the simple, underlying goal is to have a positive impact. In order to maximise this impact and drive innovation, businesses need to create a framework that inspires and elevates its team individually and collectively. Genuinely connecting your employees through a shared mission and purposeful leadership is the key to creating conscious and sustainable commercial success.

Deepki #Impact Forward.