26 September 2023

GLOBAL GOVERNMENT FORUM: Public sectors lagging on ECG goals

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In a paper for the Global Government Forum, sustainability Advisor, Nina Johansson said public sectors throughout the world were lagging behind on their reporting of environmental, social and governance (ECG) goals.

While she noted that as in so many chapters in human history, it takes war to facilitate lasting change, with events in Ukraine pushing Western nations to reassess their dependence on hydrocarbons “it’s not just about fossil fuels or solar panels”.

“Visibility and transparency is a critical part of the wider sustainability movement —it’s difficult to know where you need to go if you don’t know where you are right now,” Ms Johansson said.

“In most countries, the public sector is the largest economic sector, which means it has a big impact on the environment,” she said.

“It has a dual role as a provider of essential services…but it is also a regulator and standard-setter.”

Ms Johansson said this meant the public sector, not just private sector companies, would be instrumental in meeting net-zero targets.

The Advisor said nearly a quarter of the organisations surveyed that do currently produce a sustainability report had communicated that a lack of quality data was a major challenge.

This was followed by a lack of political will and agreed frameworks.

“A lack of specialised climate and ESG experience in organisations can prove to be problematic,” Ms Johansson said.

“Of the organisations who said they already produce reports, only 37 per cent said that they felt they had sufficient skills to do so, while just 34 per cent said they had the staffing capacity to deliver one.”

She said sustainability reporting helps people to understand the public sector’s environmental impact and hold it to account.

“As events in Eastern Europe accelerate our plans to ditch fossil fuels, having as much data as possible will help the public sector make informed and transparent decisions in its shift to a greener future — which may be coming sooner than we thought,” Ms Johansson said.

London, 21 April 2022

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