Business Banking, ESG

Certification: Getting Recognized For Doing Good

In a 2020 survey by global consultant KPMG, 98% of companies surveyed in the U.S. confirmed issuing sustainability reports on their businesses.*

This nearly universal recognition of the importance of sustainability is being driven by a deepening understanding of how ESG issues impact financial performance and corporate value. Going “green” is proving to contribute to a company’s profitability in a variety of ways, from saving on energy to improving worker productivity and retention.

However, becoming a sustainable enterprise can be a challenge and necessitate upfront investment. It often requires significant changes across most business operations, including facilities design, energy use, and workplace quality. And it is a work in progress, since as technology advances, sustainability goals, as well as the paths to realize them, can shift.

Luckily, there are several organizations created to set sustainability standards and help businesses meet them. These organizations also provide public certification to companies that succeed in their sustainability efforts, which can have a positive influence on current and potential customers, employees, suppliers, and investors. Four of the more widely recognized of these organizations include:

  • LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design): an international certification that gives a framework for healthy, efficient, and cost-saving green buildings. It covers new and existing buildings and sets standards for building sites, water and energy efficiency, materials and resources, and indoor environmental quality.
  • BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment): an international certification that provides standards for commercial and industrial buildings that are in use, in line for renovation, or proposed as new construction. Standards cover emissions, health and social impact, resilience, and impact on the surrounding natural environment.
  • International Well Building Institute: The Well Building Standard examines how design, operations, and behavior within a business project can be optimized for human health and well-being.
  • Living Building Challenge: an international performance standard that seeks to create projects and spaces that create a positive impact on both the humans and natural systems with which they interact.

Sustainability has become an important goal for businesses both large and small and a significant point of differentiation in a marketplace increasingly concerned with ESG issues. If you are considering improving your sustainability stance, Washington Trust is here to help you.

*The time has come, The KPMG Survey of Sustainability Reporting 2020, KPMG Impact, December 2020.

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