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Startups: How to introduce ESG criteria – Access to finance

Featured Startups: How to introduce ESG criteria – Access to finance

The goal is that by 2029, all European businesses, regardless of their size and origin, will be checked for their effects on the environment and people, but also to ensure the correct use of their financial resources, in order to respond to any risks that the climate change. This was stated by the general director of Global Sustain, Maria Tsiadi, speaking at an informative event organized by the "Archimedes" Innovation and Entrepreneurship Center and the Faculty of Economics & Political Sciences of Athens University (EKPA) in collaboration with the Global Sustain Sustainable Development Consultants Company and with the support of Elevate Greece.

As Mrs. Tsiadi pointed out, in Europe, starting in 2024, large and listed companies will be required to officially submit their data regarding their environmental footprint, their human capital management and the functioning of their government.

It is recalled that in 2020 the EU went ahead with the initiative to commit to becoming the first Climate Neutral Continent by 2050, stipulating that it will allocate more than one (1) trillion euros to support businesses defined as green based on the EU Taxonomy Regulation, in financing of innovation, which includes start-up entrepreneurship, the development of new skills for Europe's working population.

In this context, financial institutions have adopted procedures and required such to ensure that the money allocated to loans and other financial products ensures that the transition to a green economy using fewer resources, adoption of circular economy practices, use of renewable energy sources is strengthened , but also that this transition will be centered on people.

Startup entrepreneurship and ESG

Startup entrepreneurship (which was also the subject of the informative event) will be asked to face, in addition to the challenges of competitiveness and the legislative obligation in criteria concerning the Environment, Society and Governance (ESG) but also the exposure to increasingly large regulatory compliances regarding their operation.

ESG strategy creation model presentation

In order for a company to adequately respond to the new market data, it is necessary to adapt its business model by including, in addition to its profitability, its environmental and social action. In particular, as Ms. Tsiadi mentioned, in order for a company to prepare a strategy model based on ESG criteria, it needs to follow the following steps:

- To recognize its interested parties, i.e. the public, those who influence and are affected by its operation.

- To define those important issues that may either burden its activity, or be burdened by its operation.

– To define the goals and the actions it will adopt to achieve them, in order to effectively deal with any possible negative effects but also to find ways to improve its performance, offering more to the environment and society.

Several companies are also proceeding to record the results of this strategy, preparing Sustainable Development Reports, descriptive or quite extensive. This has created an expectation from financiers to be able to easily find this information on the companies' official websites. And this is increasingly true for start-ups as well, added the CEO of Global Sustain.