Whether you are just starting your ESG journey, or already have an established strategy, it’s essential that you have the right advice, take the necessary actions and meet all the legal and ESG regulation requirements.

We know that there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach, so our ESG solutions are tailored to your industry and to the size and shape of your business.

Each aspect of ESG has its own specific focus, but it’s also important to approach ESG as a whole concept. That’s what we do, as it protects your business, fully integrates new practices, and satisfies stakeholder demand.

  • ESG maturity assessment
  • Assurance and reporting
  • Governance and compliance
  • Sustainability strategy
  • Diversity and inclusion

ESG maturity assessment

A key part of the ESG journey is establishing your organisation’s priorities. This should include an evaluation of the positions of important stakeholder groups (such as customers, suppliers, regulators and employees) and assessing the progress that your peers are making towards achieving their own stated ESG goals.

RSM’s ESG maturity assessment uses four key areas to evaluate where an organisation is on its way to reaching its ESG aims:

  1. Awareness – the organisation has identified what matters to it and its stakeholders, and understands how it compares to its industry peers;
  2. Defining and reporting – the organisation has defined ESG values, and has a clear approach to upholding and reporting those values;
  3. Managing – ESG is built into the organisation’s business processes to the extent that the organisation’s culture is changing as a direct result of its ESG strategy;
  4. Maturity – ESG is fully embedded into every aspect of the business. ESG considerations influence and support business decisions, and ESG is not so much a strategy as it is part of the workforce’s shared values.

RSM’s ESG maturity assessment will help you to:

  • Assess where you are in your ESG journey in terms of strategy, articulated objectives and reporting measures;
  • Track achievements and outcomes across the individual elements of environmental, social and governance, and identify areas for improvement;
  • Understand what matters to your stakeholders and how they view your ESG activities and programmes; and
  • Demonstrate commitment to corporate responsibility and continuous improvement.

Assurance and reporting

ESG reporting and preparation of responsible business/sustainability reports

The importance of ESG reporting is growing, whether in the form of a compliance disclosure in annual reports, or a dedicated sustainability report.

Investors and other stakeholders are growing increasingly aware of ESG issues and want companies to be more transparent in their reporting. Stakeholders are using this information to compare competitors with each other, so a firm’s reporting has to tell a compelling story in addition to being accurate.

Some investors prefer that material ESG risks and opportunities are disclosed in the annual report, sustainability reports have a major part to play in cultivating public trust. They remain an effective way for companies to answer in a single document the many questions that stakeholders have.

Creating a standalone ESG report or enhancing the ESG content of your annual report and accounts can be challenging, however. Consideration must be given to the stakeholders’ requirements, the reporting methodology and the frameworks that have to be used.

At RSM, we can help you to establish compliant, compelling, and credible ESG reporting that’s delivered in the right format for you and follows ESG reporting standards.

Third-party assurance reporting

Independent third party assurance can enhance the credibility of reported non-financial data and will reassure management and shareholders that they have a complete picture of an organisation’s performance.

A growing number of stakeholder groups, particularly among lenders and investors, want third-party assurance regarding a firm’s actual performance. The firm is evaluated against ESG metrics linked to certain products, such as green loans.

Stakeholders that look beyond traditional financial information in order to make decisions through non-financial reporting. will gather data and information from multiple sources that are credible and impartial.

Boards are not able to control all the information that circulates about their company. But they do retain the responsibility for all the information they provide to their stakeholders, especially as it relates to their businesses’ main risks. This reporting must be accurate and reliable – and therefore trustworthy.

Third-party assurance can also:

  • Reduce legal risk
  • Ensure compliance with international standards
  • Help to attract investment
  • Identify weaknesses in the reporting process and the approach to controls and data.

ESG due diligence

ESG plays an increasingly important part in mergers and acquisitions – not only in terms of successfully completing transactions, but also in a business’s valuation and its perceived long-term potential.

Robust ESG due diligence is now a fundamental part of the deal process, and the risk management approach of private equity funds or potential acquirers. Similarly, to protect your future wealth and ensure that you receive the best price for your business, you will want to be able to provide the necessary information at the earliest opportunity.

Our ESG specialists and our transactions team can assist before and during the transaction process by:

  • providing reports on your organisation’s ESG performance;
  • producing benchmarking information on policies and processes across each element of ESG;
  • giving insight into the evolution of ESG trends that are likely to affect your business’s operations and value; and
  • working with you to decide on the best valuation of your business.
  • If you are considering a transaction, get in touch with our specialist teams. They can provide the support you need.

Governance and compliance

Governance reviews

As part of long-term sustainability, it’s important to ensure that your ESG governance practices are regularly reviewed. This will give your stakeholders confidence in your business and ensure that your long-term aspirations are supported by consistent ESG policies.

We split our ESG Governance reviews into three phases:

  1. Assessment – this stage would include a review of the board, observation of the board and a review of current documentation.
  2. Triangulation – here we would identify a number of key themes that can be explored in one-to-one appraisals.
  3. ESG Reporting – finally, we would then present our recommendations for the review of external statutory reporting, ensuring that ESG and equality, diversity and inclusion policies are appropriately communicated.

Within the summary report that we will prepare, we will use nine different assessments, ranging from code compliance and board reviews, through to workforce and stakeholder engagement, to ensure that you have the best advice that is tailored to your business.

Do you want a quality mark for governance?

The Governance Assessment Framework (GAF) service is designed for private and public sector organisations of all sizes. The GAF is accredited by the Chartered Governance Institute, the international qualifying and membership body for governance professionals.

The GAF combines self-assessment with expert independent facilitation and review. The aim is to help boards, and the governance professionals that support them, to ensure that their governance systems are effective. The service is unique because it focuses solely on governance and leadership. It examines how your organisation measures up in the areas of:

  • Compliance
  • Stakeholder review
  • Disclosure
  • Board effectiveness

Undertaking the assessment will give your board and its stakeholders the assurance that the right governance structures and processes are in place. The recommendations from the reviews reinforce the value of good governance in your organisation, and are a strong mandate for ongoing improvement.

Those that achieve or exceed the benchmark standards are awarded a quality mark. The quality mark indicates to internal and external stakeholders alike that the organisation takes governance seriously, and is prepared to invest in the skills and processes that deliver it.

RSM delivers a number of key ESG governance solutions, and we bring a wealth of expertise and experience to the assessment process.

Sustainability strategy

Taskforce on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures: Advisory and assurance

The Taskforce for Climate-Related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) released a set of recommendations in 2017 with the aim of standardising climate risk reporting.

The disclosure recommendations are structured around four themes:

  1. Governance
  2. Strategy
  3. Risk management
  4. Metrics and targets

What are the aims of the TCFD?

  • To increase the quantity and quality of climate-related financial information available to stakeholders.
  • To incorporate climate risks (and opportunities) into financial reporting and decision making.
  • To ensure that investments and capital expenditure are made in line with long-term sustainability and climate trends
  • To educate stakeholders about the impact of climate change, so they can make better business decisions and present more consistent reporting.

How can we help?

Large businesses that are currently required to produce a non-financial statement are now also required to include climate risks in their annual reporting, in line with TCFD.

Our specialist team has a wealth of experience to make TCFD come alive for your business. No matter what stage of reporting you’re at, we can help with:

  • TCFD training
  • Facilitating climate-related risk discussions
  • Scenario mapping

Diversity and inclusion

The RACE Equality Code

Designed to help organisation address racial inequality, both in the boardroom and senior leadership teams, the RACE equality code is a tested method that organisations can use to determine how effective their governance practices are.

The code has an ‘apply and explain’ approach, meaning organisations are able to describe how, based on their specific circumstances, they will achieve the code’s standards. Adopters are required to carry out a self-assessment against the code’s requirements, explaining in a robust, transparent manner the outcomes of their practise. Where a requirement has not been achieved, reasons for non-achievement should be given along with an action plan for meeting the requirement.

Following the self-assessment and pre-diagnostic desktop review, RSM will conduct an internal audit of key processes which will provide a full picture of your organisation’s compliance with the code. At this stage, a Race Action plan will be developed, and findings and advice presented to you.

This process is designed for organisations that want a comprehensive review of their EDI governance that, on completion, will provide them with a quality mark. To retain the quality mark, organisations are monitored annually with a full review after three years.

Anti-sexual harassment framework

Preventing sexual harassment and sexual misconduct is essential, but it’s a challenge for organisations like universities, night clubs and large employers.

RSM’s anti-sexual harassment framework was initially designed for universities. Our team of experts developed a continuous improvement framework using legislation, industry guidelines and our professional experience in public protection and safeguarding. It has been so successful that it is now used by a range of organisations in a variety of sectors.

How does it work?

The framework examines seven key areas:

  • Oversight and scrutiny
  • Policies and procedure
  • Risk assessment
  • Measurement
  • Education and best practice
  • Reporting and investigation
  • Continuous improvement

Our approach is designed to complement your current arrangements for combatting sexual harassment, while:

  • Formalising your commitment to effectively deal with sexual harassment
  • Aligning your organisation’s strategy and values
  • Defining your organisation’s current position and capabilities
  • Tracking performance and reporting
  • Identifying the specific path to improvement

Read our case studies for more details on how we helped our clients.

Modern slavery advisory and compliance

Extensive experience in law enforcement, slavery investigation and employment law, means our modern slavery team reaches beyond compliance.

We bring you practical and real-world experience to help identify and address modern slavery vulnerabilities in your organisation and your supply chain, whilst also ensuring your policy documentation meets the legislative requirements.

How we can support you

Documentation compliance
We can help you to ensure you are legally compliant with the Modern Slavery Act by carrying out a review of your modern slavery statement and aligned policies, including your supplier risk assessments and relevant clauses in your supply chain agreements, ensuring modern slavery compliance is met.

Risk management and maturity assessment
Our comprehensive assessment delivers actionable recommendations, giving you and your stakeholders confidence that your organisation is taking a robust approach to eliminating Modern Slavery.

Practical support
We can help you to deliver improvements in your working practices through:

  • Improvement action plans
  • Modern Slavery section (54) statement writing
  • Modern Slavery act management system development
  • Worker interviews and on-site assessments
  • Modern Slavery training
  • Supplier engagement / workshops / awareness days
  • Supply chain assessment tools

Get in touch for tailored ESG advice and support