During January 2023, BLG carried out a pilot Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) survey to a number of our developer clients, and the results were both informative and consistent from an ESG perspective.
The initial conclusions were:
• More than 70% of respondents plan to have improved or enhanced energy efficient features in their developments. Features mentioned included air source heat pumps, increased insulation, triple glazing, and solar panels.
• More than 80% of respondents believe that homebuyers are enthusiastic about energy efficient or low carbon features. However, comments submitted included: houses need to be competitively priced; certain customers are looking for EPC A or B rating; higher buyer energy specifications required at higher house price points; and initiatives tend to follow and be guided by building regs.
• More than 90% of respondents actually did not have plans to measure the carbon footprint of their business.
Perhaps on the last point, we could speculate that the process of doing so isn’t yet widely understood, so in January, BLG looked in to this further, and for the first time set about to calculate our carbon footprint. This showed that as a company of 26 employees, we generated 18,000 kgs carbon emission per year, primarily through the staff use of vehicles. Surprisingly though, the process to do this calculation was actually far simpler than we had expected and proved to be an interesting learning exercise for the team.
Our overall conclusions from this recent BLG client pilot survey are that there is clear customer demand at the right price, for energy efficient houses, as well as a willingness from developers to improve energy efficiency in their products. However, given the low level of plans for measuring carbon footprints, coupled with a widespread lack of guidance in measuring carbon footprints across the UK as a whole, we believe there is a fundamental education gap in an understanding of how carbon emission is generated and measured.
Thus, our key challenge for improving ESG in 2023 within our business sector will be ‘how to improve the awareness of how carbon emission is generated and can be saved or offset’, and BLG will be taking the necessary steps to reduce its carbon footprint and strive to be a carbon zero company in the future.
BLG’s pilot ESG survey was conducted with 13 of our developer clients, and having seen the value of information in all of the responses received, we are now planning to roll out a more comprehensive ESG questionnaire later this month to our wider client base. We hope that you will all be involved, and the results of which will be published with you all to help build a shared understanding of ESG knowledge.