How local government can meet ESG demands
As leaders within their communities and significant employers, local authorities have a prominent role to play in supporting the fight against climate change. Not only can they make a major contribution to more sustainable operations themselves, but they can also lead by example and encourage the public they serve to live greener lives.
This is underlined by the scale of influence that local authorities can have on emissions in their local areas. While they’re only directly responsible for between 2% and 5% of emissions, their leadership and functions can influence around a third of the total indirectly.
Given that emissions across local authority areas come from a variety of sources – transport, domestic, industry, agriculture and commercial – it’s clear that there is plenty of potential for new initiatives and efficiencies to be explored.
Why ESG targets are important for local government
For local authorities to make a meaningful contribution towards sustainability, they need to align their strategies closely with the objectives that central government is working towards. These objectives are set out in the Greening Government policy paper, and encompass areas such as procuring sustainable products and services, reducing emissions of transport and travel, minimising waste and promoting resource efficiency.
Local authorities have direct influence on many of the public services provided and used on a daily basis, such as housing and public transport. Therefore, setting and working towards sustainability targets is critical to the success of Britain’s Net Zero ambitions as a whole.
Using sustainable processes to improve efficiency in local government
When looking for more sustainable operations, technology should be one of the first ports of call for local authorities. This is because they can not only make certain services more energy-efficient, and reduce the amount of resources required, but because they can also help uncover areas where further improvements can be made through data and analytics.
Two leading examples of how technology supports a sustainable local government are:
- Consumption monitoring: user-friendly monitoring platforms and dashboarding can be used to quantify the performance and environmental impact of public services. This allows authorities to measure the implications of changes over time, and easily identify areas for improvement in areas such as school energy consumption or waste disposal
- On-site scanning: many functions and processes still rely on paper copies, which come with a substantial environmental impact. This is not only through the resources needed to make the paper, or the energy needed to transport and distribute it, but also the power required to print documents and to run a document storage facility. Digitising documents such as planning applications through an on-site scanning service can reduce burdens in all of those areas, making it easier to update information as required
How local government can benefit from sustainable IT
With these two solutions and other similar innovations in place, local authorities can achieve more sustainable IT, enabling greener public services and operations in other areas. With these implemented correctly, the benefits can spread much further and wider than a more environmentally friendly local area:
- Minimising waste: by identifying inefficiencies, wasted energy can be reduced, which can help authorities lower their costs, improve their processes and achieve more with limited budgets
- Strengthening communities: a more sustainable local authority will help foster a more sustainable community. This can improve resident perception of their local government as their cost of living will reduce, and their health will benefit from lower pollution and cleaner environments
- Contributing to national sustainability aims: while local authorities may only influence the environment in their own area, many authorities doing the same will have a major positive impact on the overall sustainability objectives of the country
Partnering with SCC gives you access to a comprehensive suite of Document Services, developed through years of supporting local authorities with their IT requirements.
Speak to our experts about our range of sustainable IT solutions and how we can support your ESG strategy.