A Guide For SME Developers Around ESG

It is widely reported that the construction and development sector has one of the largest business footprints. Construction building is accountable for around 40% of all global energy consumption. In addition to 23% of air pollution, 40% of drinking water pollution, and 50% of landfill waste. Cement alone is a high contributor, accounting for around 8% of global carbon emissions. Every construction step has an impact on the environment. From the materials and technology used as well as the construction sites built. As a result, many experts are calling for the construction sector to act and move towards an ESG framework.

What Is ESG?

ESG is a collective term made up of three components: environmental, social, and governance. All of which measure a business’ impact on society, and the environment, and how transparent and accountable they are. In addition to how robust and transparent its governance is – this is in terms of company leadership, executive pay, audits, internal controls, and shareholder rights.

What Does This Mean For The Construction & Development Industry?

Within the construction industry and for SME developers there are key considerations that need to be looked at under an ESG framework:

Many current ESG requirements are outlined within Building Control requirements.

Why Implement ESG Principles?

According to CBI the UK’s premier business organisation, two-thirds of investors consider ESG factors when investing in a company. Thus, they are looking at not only the growth of the business but also the impact on the environment and community. Additionally, PwC reported that over two-thirds of customers would buy from companies that support ESG initiatives with customers more willing to pay more for greener products. Lastly, research conducted by LinkedIn found that 71% of professionals would be willing to take a pay cut in order to work with a company that shares their values. In addition, 39% would leave their current role if their employer were to ask them to do something that was against their morals. Therefore, even for SME developers, companies who adopt an ESG framework can benefit greatly. Including reducing risks, securing investments, lowering costs, and increasing reputation leading to more new customers.

How To Implement ESG For SME Developers

Implementing ESG as an SME builder comprises a three part process:

  1. Firstly, a business has to measure and understand its current impacts such as carbon emissions. British Business Bank has summarised some steps on how to measure ESG. These include deciding what to measure, gathering the information, and including stakeholders.
  2. Based on this analysis, a business then has to outline goals and ways in which to improve these. Such as reducing energy use or improving employee well-being.
  3. The next step is to roll out the ESG program to your company to improve the overall baseline and impacts.

Although every business is unique in the way it operates and is set up, there are some core principles that can be followed. British Business Bank has outlined them here. These include creating a team, investment, measuring, and communication.

One important factor to consider is that ESG is here to stay and many lenders will start having ESG criteria and metrics for their borrowers.


“We have used BLG for development finance for over 8 years. During that time we have found their knowledge and expertise in the property development industry to be second to none. Their loan process, pragmatic and flexible approach to lending and flexibility when required has supported our business needs throughout the period and provided us with support to deliver new homes in Bristol and the surrounding areas.”

“As property developers you never know the curve balls that you may get and a project that is great on paper may prove a bit more tricky.  This happened to us on a project that BLG have funded and throughout they have supported us.  Our business likes to be collaborative and when we hit those tough moments it really felt like we were working as a team with BLG.  If you have a decent project you can get it funded, but what you really need is a business that is there to support and advise you as well.  For us on this project it was BLG.”

“I approached BLG Development finance with an opportunity I had in Chesham, Buckinghamshire, to build 5 new build houses in 2021. My main contact was Anil Bains who is a Director covering Asset Management. Within very quick timescales, BLG provided me with indicative quotes in regards the finance levels they could offer me. Having considered those levels, I requested a valuation to be carried out which again was dealt with swiftly. We proceeded to completion. The build went very smoothly with monthly monitoring being carried out by BLG and monthly drawdown requests dealt with in a very timely manner. Due to a difficult time generally in the market in regards selling, I was in need of a six-month extension to the loan which again was appraised very quickly and granted. Having dealt with numerous funders over the last 20 years, I can only speak highly of my personal experience with BLG and would very confidently work with them again on any future projects. “

"From our side it has also been a pleasure working with BLG and the team there. We have found you easy to deal with, proactive in resolving any minor issues that have arisen through the project and shown great flexibility in working with us as a partner. We will certainly like to work with you on future partners."

“I really appreciate your hard work. We really like the way you communicate & I must say I haven't seen many people who are that approachable.”

“A very efficient processing team, dealing with the DD once deal credit approved, through to completion”

“Many thanks for your efforts on this one and getting it approved and sorted so swiftly, very much appreciated. I am sure I will be speaking to your over the coming months.”

“We had other funding options, but chose to use BLG again, as we work well with the team, who always provide very clear information and advice with a friendly approach throughout the funding process. Very efficient and always very helpful.”

“Many thanks Anil, it’s been a real pleasure working with BLG so far.  We’re lining up the next project too”

“We would recommend all staff we have dealt with at BLG, as we are very satisfied with the team and the initial offer/terms presented, then you and the funding team, through to the draw down team at valuation stage.”

“All documents are clear and the way you keep clients informed, all the way along the funding process, is refreshing for us”

“With regard to what should be improved at BLG, we work with many lenders in our business and we do not get the help and response we have had on the two projects with all at BLG on our funding for our developments.”

“We would particularly mention Dave Edwards and Tom Pitts as being central to having a smooth working relationship and being positive and helpful at all times. Their guidance in helping us navigate the project from inception to completion was invaluable. As was their patience, particularly at the beginning. We look forward to many future projects with the BLG team.”

“We would like to express our appreciation for your support on our development in Bristol. We were very pleased that, from the outset, you shared our vision of the project to convert a dated but classical building, that had outlived its usefulness as a school, into unique luxury apartments with views overlooking the city. We found our dealings practical and streamlined. Monthly payments were processed in an efficient and timely manner.”

“BLG are very good at communicating with clients and all documents are very clear and all at BLG are always happy to help.”

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