Insight 5 October 2022

Environmental Roadshow: Helping Businesses to Develop Better ESG Strategies

Increasingly, businesses are expected to be more aware and accountable about the impacts they have on biodiversity and the environment, and the subject has found its way into the boardroom. Business leaders want to know how they can operate in a more environmentally responsible way while fulfilling their strategic objectives.

With that in mind, Mitie Landscapes hosted an environmental roadshow to address some of the questions that businesses have around Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) strategies, conservation planning and biodiversity.

The first event, held in London on 8 September 2022, focused on how well-managed landscaping is helping businesses adapt in ways that allows nature to thrive and positively impacts people. It was the first of two and, for those who couldn’t make it, here’s a quick summary of what you missed.

Butterfly on a wildflower in a meadow

How managed landscapes benefit biodiversity and businesses

The first event was held at the London Wildlife Trust’s Camley Street Nature Park, with guest speakers from Plantlife and The Bumblebee Conservation Trust. It was clear from the level of attendance just how much business priorities have changed. Senior leaders are keen to improve impacts, not just for their own business but also for the environment and the communities they operate in.

Tim Howell, Managing Director at Mitie Landscapes, set the scene by giving a quick overview of how things have changed in the world of landscaping over the years. It was enlightening to hear how the focus has gone from developing landscapes to meet planning requirements, to landscaping for people, and on to the current view of managing landscapes for nature.

Tim was followed by Jon Mantle, Corporate Partnerships Manager at Plantlife, who provided an engaging discussion on the development of ESG pressures. He put things in context with a brief history of ecology in managed landscapes and where a strategic approach to biodiversity lay within the ESG approach. Jon developed the theme with case studies for natural capital accounting and increasing biodiversity, which included a major UK project delivered by Mitie Landscapes. A discussion then followed on the importance of grasslands, both as a habitat with huge potential for increasing biodiversity and its potential for significant carbon sequestration. The cross-sector benefits would be huge given the volume of grasslands under management every day so it was a particularly interesting debate.

Gill Perkins, CEO at The Bumblebee Conservation Trust, was up next. She gave us an insight into the importance of bees, and other pollinating species, not only for the economy but also for our health and wellbeing. She outlined some of the threats faced by bee populations and steps we could take to mitigate or avoid the threats. Using case studies, Gill showed how managed landscapes are being successfully created that allow bees and other species to thrive, while fulfilling the core purpose of each landscape.

Finally, Don Holmes, Head of Natural Environment at Mitie Landscapes, presented a case study on behalf of one of our customers, Karen Barton, Performance and Compliance Manager at Heathrow IRC. Don explained how we have been working closely with Heathrow IRC to help them achieve Biodiversity Net Gain (BNG) on a property in a highly urbanised area. Don explained how the team provided Karen with the insights she needed to make key funding decisions on habitat enhancements and future management needs. As a result, she can make strategic decisions, with a view to increasing biodiversity in a targeted and planned way, with clear projected outcomes for nature for the next 30 years.

A very successful event was rounded off with a lively Q&A session which continued to explore some key discussions from the day and included insightful questions from the audience.

There is a clear and growing interest in Natural Capital and Biodiversity Net Gain. Mitie Landscapes will be holding a live follow up event in 2023, complimented by quarterly webinars, to explore this fast-developing area. The delegates and speakers, at this first event, left with a more rounded perspective of the challenges faced and the solutions available, and we are looking forward to the insights from future events.

Contact the Mitie Landscapes team to find out more about future environmental roadshows, and how we can help your business with its ESG strategy.

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