ESG stands for Environmental, Social and Governance. From financial year 2022-2023, the top 1,000 listed companies in India (by market capitalisation) will need to prepare a ‘business responsibility and sustainability report’ (or BRSR), containing detailed ESG disclosures. The BRSR has to be a part of the annual report, which gets notified to the stock exchanges, published on official company websites and separately provided to shareholders. Before the BRSR became mandatory, the top 1,000 listed companies in India (by market capitalisation) had to publish a relatively shorter ‘business responsibility report’.
In the current environment, health, safety and governance could be parameters of the measure of social aspects of the ESG agenda and will remain a high priority for the engineering and construction (E&C) industry. Governance will be a sensitive issue given the size and complexity of contracts, competitive bidding processes and the need to engage with both public and private stakeholders and to prevent bribery, corruption and anticompetitive behaviour. The building and construction sector is responsible for 39 per cent of carbon emissions globally, according to the World Green Building Council, and hence has to work hard to match the goals and commitments. Therefore, carbon reduction and environmental initiatives are a business imperative for contractors in the days ahead.
India ranks a lowly 120 among 165 countries in its progress towards achieving all 17 SDGs (sustainable development goals), lower than Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh. Reliance Industries Ltd (RIL), Vedanta Ltd, JSW Energy and HDFC Bank have planned to go carbon neutral in the next few decades. Good ESG scores are helping companies tap into newer pools of capital and build valuations to attract investors in these reorganised entities, while enhancing shareholder value.
Vedanta is restructuring its operations and may demerge and list its aluminium, iron and steel, and oil and gas businesses as standalone entities. Restructuring a mammoth like RIL means transferring its gasification assets to a wholly owned unit, which will help it produce hydrogen to establish a hydrogen ecosystem while JSW Energy is…