With net zero targets creeping closer and ESG embedding itself in corporate reporting 2024 is shaping up to be a pivotal year for responsible business delivery. Here are some of the key themes emerging with pointers to help keep your business ahead of the curve:

By 2025 around 49,000 companies will be required to report their ESG performance as part of the EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD). Although UK companies do not fall under the directive if you have significant operations in Europe, or clients that do, expect CSRD style reporting to trickle down to you. To get yourselves prepped and ready you will need to start thinking about materiality, setting targets, data assurance and reporting ESG through your management report. Click here for more on this.

Carbon literacy
Many businesses now have net zero and/or science based targets in place around emissions. Footprints are largely understood but businesses are uneasy about how to tackle carbon particularly in relation to Scope 3 supply chain. Having an environment manager or procurement manager focused on this task will not be enough, businesses will need to improve the carbon literacy of their wider workforce in order to affect the day-to-day decisions that directly impact carbon spend. Prepare to see more businesses undertaking carbon literacy training with their people, in order to develop this shift in understanding and behaviour.

Nature recovery
Alongside the climate crisis businesses are increasing their understanding of the biodiversity crisis and what they can tangibly do to contribute to solutions. Each region of England is currently developing a Local Nature Recovery Strategy. This should provide forward thinking businesses with an opportunity to invest in focused and targeted projects that deliver natural capital, If they don't have their own land or estates to focus on. Measurement of outcomes will be critical and smart businesses will link this work into their wellbeing and environmental strategies.