Gallagher shares benefits for SMEs adopting sustainability values

Gallagher shares benefits for SMEs adopting sustainability values | Insurance Business Australia

Gallagher shares benefits for SMEs adopting sustainability values

As Australia continues to take a hit from the impacts of climate change, businesses across the country have started prioritising sustainability. In a recent blog, Gallagher has identified three pillars of sustainable practice and the benefits of adopting sustainability values.

With businesses now expected to take an environmental sustainability and governance (ESG) approach to their operations, Gallagher explained that small and mid-size enterprises (SMEs) are well-positioned at a grassroots level to grow their connections by adopting ESG values in their practices, employment policies, partnerships, and community engagement – all without pressure from shareholders or the need to dismantle existing large-scale corporate models.

We all know adopting sustainability values can help address the impacts of climate change, but what are its specific business benefits? According to Gallagher, adopting ESG values can achieve savings through energy and water use savings and opting for solar power, low-energy lighting, and electric vehicles to reduce carbon footprint and running costs. It can also build the business's brand and customer base among those who share the same principles and want to contribute via their purchasing decisions.

Adopting ESG values also enables businesses to attract quality talent as company values become an important differentiator in employer preferences, mainly because the impacts of climate change aren't something that should taken lightly.

Read more: How can insurers use data ethically and responsibly?

Gallagher identified three pillars of sustainable practice to help SMEs focus when taking an ESG approach to their business operations:

  • Environmental stability: It is concerned with the business's carbon footprint. It applies to actions reducing carbon emissions and waste in energy, materials, and water and seeking more energy-efficient solutions to business functions and packaging.
  • Social sustainability centres on the human factors in the business and its partners, particularly regarding modern slavery and human trafficking.
  • For SMEs, governance or economic sustainability means supporting local communities through employment, partnering with other businesses in local procurements, and engaging in charitable activities.

From an internal management point of view, Gallagher claimed it is helpful to have sustainability advocates involved in guiding the decision-making process, for example, an ethics officer. Outside the company, SMEs can utilise government and peak resources.