John Laing and ESG: Using our influence and partnerships to create positive impact
2022 was an inflection point for ESG, accompanied by intense debate about what it means in practice for private market firms. Around the world, regulators are upping the ante on everything from greenwashed fund names to stricter climate target disclosures, while the very idea of ESG investing is increasingly politicised.
Despite this febrile backdrop, firms have continued to make progress, particularly when it comes to the collation of carbon metrics and setting targets. The end of 2021 and 2022 saw a rise in private market firms committing to net zero after the science-based target setting guidance for private equity was published. There are now 18 firms that have set or committed to set these targets and many more are working on their firm’s near-term climate commitments.
We’re also seeing more transparency around how private market firms approach climate, which will become ever more critical. Nevertheless, disclosures remain inconsistent across the sector. For example, opinions differ over who within firms should be responsible for overseeing and managing climate change risks and opportunities, and the methodology to assess the impact on valuations remains early stage.
Looking ahead, John Laing stands ready for the challenges and opportunities this context creates. We have several priorities for this year:
- Having run our first carbon footprint assessment and joined initiative Climate International in 2022, this year, we will focus on setting our near-term targets.
- Key initiatives include supporting our assets to set targets and decarbonise, developing our climate due diligence and mapping climate investment opportunities. We also want to assess how exposed our assets are to physical climate risks.
- Biodiversity also continues to be critical for us. For some of our projects in roads and wind power, biodiversity is already included in our action plan, and we’ll keep building on this.
As a business, we are acutely conscious that we have a wider responsibility to use our influence to minimise the environmental and social impacts of our projects, resource consumption and biodiversity loss. This remains a central priority for us.