Become a member
Accessibility tool

07 Jun 2022

East Midlands Chamber partners with RSM UK to help small businesses embark on their ESG journey

Businesses in the region can take the first steps on their sustainability journey using a new support package offered by East Midlands Chamber and RSM UK.

The suite of tools, which includes a self-assessment questionnaire, training videos and best practice guidance, helps SMEs and larger firms to determine which elements of the environmental, social and governance (ESG) agenda matter most to their organisation and stakeholders.

They then have the option of establishing an action plan based on the results by undergoing a one-to-one consultation with an expert at audit, tax and consulting services firm RSM UK – which has entered into a strategic partnership focusing on ESG with the chamber of commerce for Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Leicestershire.

The new support offer was unveiled at the Chamber’s Corporate Social Responsibility Summit, titled From CSR to ESG: Delivering social responsibilities with impact, today (7 June) at the University of Derby Enterprise Centre.

East Midlands Chamber chief executive Scott Knowles said: “There’s no doubt that ESG is rapidly moving up the agenda for businesses as it permeates every aspect of an organisation’s priorities – from employee recruitment and retention, to winning new business and compliance with regulation.

“It takes various guises – whether it’s sustainability, environmental efficiency or corporate social responsibility – and features so many different elements, but in essence this is all about being a responsible business.

“Many businesses have already started on their journey but perhaps haven’t identified the great work they are doing within a formalised ESG strategy, so we’re delighted to offer them the tools that enable them to create a framework that recognises these activities.

“Putting the East Midlands at the forefront of the ESG agenda and tracking our performance can have a far-reaching impact. We know it has a growing emphasis for financial markets and supply chains, so by showcasing how we are a great place to come and do business it will position us well to win potential future funding opportunities and investment – ultimately creating new jobs and wealth locally.”

What does East Midlands Chamber’s ESG self-assessment involve?

The ESG self-assessment suite, which is free to the 4,000-plus members of East Midlands Chamber, has been developed to give companies a starting point in developing an ESG action plan.

It involves two questionnaires that help to find out which issues under the headings of the environment, social and governance matter to their business, as well as investors, suppliers, customers, business partners and employees.

A scorecard is also applied to understand the level of material risk regarding each of these issues, which could include natural resources, waste, product safety, supply chain labour standards, workplace diversity and inclusion, and GDPR.

Participants can view their ESG priorities in a set of results, created using RSM’s risk and compliance management software Insight4GRC, giving them a base from which to take actions if required.

They will also have follow-up consultation package options, starting from one hour with a member of RSM’s ESG team, to help build and monitor an action plan.

Paul Callum, associate director in the ESG consultancy team at RSM UK, which has offices in Leicester and Nottingham, said: “The ESG programme is a fantastic free resource for businesses to use in order to understand, prioritise and monitor their ESG risks.

“For many companies, this will be the beginning of their ESG journey and we’re looking forward to using our expertise to support them, ranging from a simple self-assessment through to consultancy services and more comprehensive software packages.

“The importance of being engaged with this subject is becoming increasingly clear. Showcasing ESG credentials is now a key part of many public sector tenders require, corporates are bearing down on their supply chains and regulation is tightening, while internally it has a growing role in the successes of employee recruitment and retention.”

For more information about the ESG programme and self-assessment tool, click here.