The last two years have seen a shift from the general concept of sustainable development to the more specific term “ESG” (Environmental, Social and Governance). At the same time, there is a need around the world to adopt ESG criteria and set relevant measurable targets and performance indicators. This new trend is due to the growing interest of investors, institutions, consumers, as well as the adoption of government policies aimed at reducing the risks of climate change.
In this new context, at Grant Thornton we recognize the importance of Sustainability and ESG criteria in developing a strong business strategy, taking a global leading role in understanding and implementing it.
Through our global network and through important international partnerships and initiatives, such as GRI, Accountability and the International Council of Sustainable Development (WBCSD), we closely monitor European and international trend and directly adapt our solutions and services, aiming at effectively guiding our customers.
At a local level, we work closely with the Greek Network for Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR Hellas), while we are founding members of the Hellenic United Nations Global Compact Network (Global Compact Network Hellas), utilizing the principles and practical applications of responsible entrepreneurship.
Businesses committed to sustainability principles and strategies:
Sustainability changes the way businesses define and achieve their goals. Planning Sustainable Development strategy through the creation of appropriate goals and programs ensures a future of growth and profitability which will produce value not only in the company itself, but at the same time its activities will contribute to all three pillars of ESG.
Grant Thornton executives support companies that are taking their first steps in designing their ESG strategy, as well as the companies that have already set their goals in recent years and want to take the next step.
Indicatively, the services we provide cover:
- Assessing ESG maturity and identifying stakeholder expectations
- Support in the formulation of the Sustainable Development Strategy in accordance with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the international framework of social responsibility guidelines ISO 26000
- Preparation of a strategic action plan in depth of 3 years / 5 years
- Coordination and management services of the implementation of the strategic plan (PMO)
- Conducting a market study and comparative analysis with competitors in terms of sustainable development
- Determining the appropriate indicators for monitoring each company's performance
- Development of an internal and external communication plan for a strategic sustainable development plan
- Review and proposals for improvement in corporate policies & procedures
- Support in the preparation of meeting the conditions for inclusion of the company in an index (eg ATHEX ESG ratio)
- Support in selecting the appropriate solutions for supply chain management
Over the last five years, international landmark agreements have been reached to adopt the 2030 UN Agenda and both the Sustainable Development and the Paris Climate Agreement goals. The Paris Climate Agreement includes, in particular, a commitment to align financial flows with a path towards the development of a low-carbon economy. As Europe strongly supports the transition to a zero-carbon economy by 2050, as well as responsible investment, at Grant Thornton we are able to support our customers, to understand, but also to comply with:
- The new CSRD, published on 21/4/2021 (Non-Financial Reporting Directive (NFRD), according to which large European companies (listed and unlisted) must publish Sustainable Development Reports (Non-financial data) based on international reporting standards.
- The EU Taxonomy Regulation, for the development of a common language between companies and investors, for the identification of economic activities that are considered environmentally sustainable, the measurement of the required indicators under the Regulation and the preparation of the necessary disclosures to investors, but also any other stakeholeder.
- Regulation 2019/2088, on Financial Aid Sustainability Disclosures (SFDR), with the aim of greater transparency regarding the degree of viability of financial products and the establishment of uniform rules for informing investors about the integration of risks into financial security environment (creation of Sustainable Finance Framework of companies in relation to the criteria for selecting sustainable investments).
- The EU Green Bond Standard, a financial instrument to ensure that investments meet Europe's climate and other long-term environmental objectives (developing a Green Bond Framework - based on the Green Bond Framework - and ensuring an ISAE - based Green Bond Framework 3000).
At Grant Thornton we provide consulting support ensuring high quality in the preparation of Sustainability Report regarding all the business industries. Over the past decade, our team of experts has prepared over 200 Sustainability Reports, in line with international standards and guidelines such as GRI, AA1000, EU Non-financial Reporting Directive, UN Global Compact, SASB, Greek sustainability Code, and ISO 26000.
The Sustainability or Corporate Responsibility Reports we prepare are:
- Sustainable Development Report (annual / biennial) based on international standards, such as GRI Standards, AA1000, SASB & based on the Global Sustainable Development Goals - SDGs)
- Progress Report on the UN Global Compact (Communication on Progress Report UN Global Compact)
- Unified Report (Integrated Reporting, based on Integrated Reporting Framework)
- Statement of non-financial information based on requirements of the applicable regulatory framework.
The fact that the procedures, applied under the preparation of a Report - as well as its content - are certified by an independent auditor, significantly increases the reliability of such a Report. Grant Thornton certified auditors examine the extent to which the presentation of corporate performance is well balanced and meets the reporting requirements, carefully evaluating validity and documentation of the data included in the Report. Sustainability assurance services are implemented in a transparent and systematic manner, following the procedures defined in international standards (ISAE 3000, AA1000 AS etc.). Our services include:
- Independent Non-Financial Information Assurance Report under ISAE 3000
- Proposals for improvement to the Management, for further improvement of the content of the Report.
- Independent Limited Assurance Report (ISAE 3000) on Bond Framework or sustainability indicators based on ICMA principles
Evaluating the substantial issues of a business is the basis of Sustainability Reports and a valuable tool in setting out business strategy. Grant Thornton has developed its own methodology and materiality analysis tool, assisting companies to identify all the significant issues related to their operations - issues that may significantly affect not only their economic, environmental and social performance, but their corporate reputation just as well. Our services include:
- Implementation / coordination of materiality workshops
- Benchmarking and competition analysis
- Preparation of materiality matrix
- Implementation of online stakeholder’s surveys
- Dialogue and two-way communication with stakeholders - consultations (electronic research, multi stakeholder forums, targeted stakeholder forums, one-on-one meetings / interviews)
- Overall evaluation of significant issues and linking them to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and their targets
Businesses are constantly called upon to evaluate and manage their environmental impact. In addition, any non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations puts them at additional risk. Grant Thornton executives understand environmental, business, financial and technical issues and help you identify and comprehend the new demanding environmental protection framework. Our services include:
- Evaluation of typical investments or bonds in order to integrate them in the context of green transition, green financing or principles of Green / Sustainable Bonds
- Climate change risk analysis (based on TCFD)
- Carbon dioxide footprint recording
- Preparation of energy studies and analysis of energy consumption
- Preparation of an energy efficiency improvement plan
- Carbon neutrality plan preparation
- Support in preparing for harmonization with recognized environmental quality management frameworks
Social impact assessment is becoming more and more popular, proving in a measurable way both the financial and the social footprint of a company. Applying our methodology and tools, we are in position to indicate how effectively a Company can use its funds and resources in order to create value for society or depict the essential value of the social actions that a company develops. Our services include:
- Social Return on Investment (SROI) Report
- CSR Social Impact Report
- Socio-economic impact of businesses
We support companies in comprehending the broader context of sustainability, international reporting frameworks and best practices, through workshops and personalized training programs or presentations to Senior Management. During the trainings, all members of the participating team are actively involved, aiming at maximum understanding and active participation in sustainability issues. The training programs we offer include:
- Corporate Social Responsibility and Sustainable Development
- Integrated Reporting
- Environmental Awareness and Protection
- Health and Safety at Work
- Human and Labor Rights
- Responsible Supply Chain Management
- Good Corporate Governance
- Transparency and combating corruption
- Certificate of attendance issued by Grant Thornton and / or Certification issued by an international organization