Position Green: Chasing ESG
6 October 2023
Environment. Social. Governance. The use of these three words has skyrocketed in the last few years, and today most businesses have strategies devoted entirely to them. But how do you measure ESG and how do you put it into practice? The Link spoke with Håkon Dammen, UK Managing Director at SCC member and ESG powerhouse Position Green, about the importance of ESG and what it means for business success.
The interest in so called ESG has grown rapidly within the last few years, not least in the UK. Short for “Environmental, Social, Governance”, it is a way of assessing business performance, looking at how well it aligns with a company’s ethical aims. Fuelled by demands coming from lawmakers, investors, and clients, many businesses are setting up ambitious ESG goals, looking for new ways to turn promise into practice.
“All over Europe, the demand for ESG guidance is growing. Most businesses have both the willingness and the funds to make the necessary changes, but they lack the knowledge of how to do it. And compared to Scandinavia, ESG measuring is still a new thing here in the UK, so there aren’t many examples of how to do it successfully.”
Historically viewed as more of a goodwill gesture than a business strategy, today, prioritising ESG is strongly linked with profitability. From cost reduction and energy saving, to increased productivity and happier employees, studies made on the area all point in the same direction. Meanwhile, more and more countries are putting pressure on businesses to act responsibly.
“There are various drivers; the UK government’s ‘Net Zero by 2050’ pledge is of course an important incentive, but far from the only one. We see a lot of businesses setting their own targets, aiming higher than required and wanting to do more than the bare minimum.”
As the largest independent ESG consultancy in the Nordics, many businesses turn to Position Green for advice. Håkon believes that the company’s Swedish roots are an advantage, as the Scandinavian countries were early adopters when it comes to measuring ESG.
“Businesses in Scandinavia started looking into their ESG values way earlier than the rest of Europe, and they have way more experience when it comes to these transitions. When Position Green was founded eight years ago, it was due to the already growing interest in ESG within the Swedish business community.”
Founded in Malmö in 2015, Position Green started as a pure software company, collecting data for businesses who wanted to measure their ESG value.
“Founders Joachim Nahem and Daniel Gadd noticed the growing interest in sustainability at the time, and the need for a way to measure it. They realised that if businesses wanted to try to improve within the ESG and sustainability space, they would need good quality data to build their strategies on.”
Initially focusing exclusively on data collection, the business grew organically within Sweden. Five years later, the company had 40 employees and a continuously growing client base. But looking at the product offering, the team realised that the software could create even more value if it included an advisory service.
“At this point, we would only tell our clients what their situation looked like, not what to do about it, meaning they would have to look for an advisory firm to help them improve. So, we thought that we could keep the clients with us and, hence, boost the business by adding that service to our own product.”
Supported by Norwegian VC, Norvestor, the company decided to turn the software into a platform, with various features that could be used to improve ESG values. Today, users can both collect, analyse and report sustainability data, as well as access advisory services and e-learning academies.
“We wanted to support our clients through the whole journey – from inventory to policymaking. Using an investment we got from Norvestor, we acquired a Norwegian company called the Governance Group, mainly focusing on the ‘G’ in ESG, but also offering advisory services. This was the first step in the direction of where we are today.”
Earlier this year, Position Green entered the UK, and Håkon says that the response from the market has been outstanding. Currently working with entertainment business Abba Voyage, Position Green has already gained the confidence of some prominent brands.
“We had 10-12 customers in the UK before we decided to set up a branch here, so we knew the demand existed. And since then, growth has actually come easier than we expected.”
As demand keeps growing, so does the platform. Håkon mentions several projects coming up later this year, both in terms of the product itself, and its client base.
“We will keep expanding our offering. Our next addition is a service that will help businesses implement the necessary changes themselves, without having to seek help externally,” Håkon says and adds: “When it comes to collaborations, we are about to start working with a very large entertainment business, with operations in 36 different countries, which will be a major milestone for our UK branch. I really can’t wait to see what this year has in store.”