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Hazel Bedson, Marketing Director at SWG, is featured in FMJ to discuss the significance of ESG commitments for organisations, highlighting the pivotal role of FM in leveraging technologies like Building Information Modelling (BIM) to address challenges such as data inconsistency, enable informed decision-making, and drive sustainability across the building lifecycle.

Organisations are ramping up their commitment to ESG as part of a collective movement toward net zero and because the business case is becoming extremely difficult to ignore. Strong reporting in areas such as carbon emissions can make all the difference, especially in the context of more stringent regulatory compliance and increasingly demanding customers and investors.

The primary challenge for many is that the data crucial to supporting these efforts is often out of date, patchy or plain lacking. A recent survey by BNP Paribas found that nearly three- quarters of investors reported “inconsistent and incomplete” data as the biggest barrier to ESG investing. The lack of robust data also makes the malpractice such as greenwashing more likely.

This represents both a threat and an opportunity for the facilities management industry. FM has a pivotal role to play in ESG initiatives considering its influence across the built environment and other key business functions. To really lead, however, we need to take full advantage of all the technologies within our reach.

One key aim should be to have as much robust building lifecycle data as possible. Having visibility over the whole lifecycle, from design to operation through to disposal or refurbishment, would help organisations reduce carbon emissions, manage energy performance, and identify the impact of the materials used over the long term. In addition, it allows facilities managers to better understand their risk profile, gather the evidence for more accurate investment decisions in the future, and provide transparency for all stakeholders, including investors, tenants, communities, and regulators.

As such, facilities managers must consider the benefits of building information modelling (BIM). A collaborative way to share an uninterrupted flow of information across the building lifecycle, BIM serves as a digitised bank of highly valuable data that can support FMs in their ESG efforts. When combined with sensors that capture different factors such as occupancy and asset condition it becomes a single source of truth in real-time. As the World Economic Forum has written: “Organisations must ensure their data reflects real- time risks and regulatory developments. ESG data should remain relevant and timely and, ideally, should update automatically.”

The result is a smart building, which represents the pinnacle of building management efficiency by providing FMs with the accurate, timely information they need to make better decisions around many key aspects of facilities management. What’s more, visibility uncovered by data is essential to FMs being able to perform their role as champions of ESG within the built environment, and the likes of BIM hold keys to unlocking the transformative potential of that information.