Sustainability Knowledge Group is a global Sustainability, ESG and CSR advisory firm, dedicated to creating value through strategic advisory and training solutions, coaching and meetups

In recent years, the term ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) has gained momentum globally, reshaping the business agenda in various markets. The pressing issues of economic crises, social inequality, and environmental degradation, have urged us to rethink the way we conduct business, and create value for stakeholders as well as our own values and purpose.

Integrating ESG criteria into business strategies, action plans and initiatives is a growing expectation from all internal and external stakeholders. Legislation is evolving and is now more geared towards addressing the environmental crisis and focuses on social justice, transparency, and accountability. An increasing body of research indicates a positive link between ESG performance and financial performance. According to a Bloomberg study, sustainable investing has now gone mainstream, with an estimated $37.8 trillion in assets under management in FY2022. According to the same study, global ESG assets are on track to exceed $53 trillion by FY2025.

As ESG and Sustainability discussions dominate global debates, there is confusion between the two terms and we run the risk of growing weary of them and becoming disillusioned regarding the right course of action to follow. There is also a common misconception that Sustainability and ESG are identical, which they aren’t. Companies, especially those in smaller countries and markets such as Cyprus, appear to be unsure about the benefits and requirements. They need to grasp the wider context, beyond just legislative requirements and put things into perspective, link Sustainability to their core business and build the necessary systems to ensure continuous access to reliable information, capacity building, and performance improvement.

aglaia ntili

Managing Director of Sustainability Knowledge Group, Aglaia Ntili

Within this context, the team at Sustainability Knowledge Group, believe that their role as global consultants and certified trainers is to guide companies and organisations through this process of integration. “We begin with clarifying the concepts and tools, and the risks of inaction, and then focus on materiality, building internal mechanism, long term strategy in order to thrive and create a positive impact in the coming years,” Managing Director of Sustainability Knowledge Group Aglaia Ntili, said.

“We work alongside organisations to develop, measure, manage and report effective Sustainability strategies and programmes. Our bespoke solutions tackle social, environmental and governance challenges, delivering tangible results and creating positive impacts at local, national, and global levels.

“We bring our collective knowledge and experience to the table, with over 50 years of exclusive practice in Sustainability, ESG, and CSR practice. Our team consists of professionals with diverse backgrounds ranging from Nuclear Energy Engineering to Sustainable Cities, Biomedical Engineering, CSR, Public Affairs, and Business Excellence.

“Our active presence spans across the EU, namely Greece, Cyprus, Romania, the UK, Spain, and Portugal as well as in the MENA region and the GCC countries (Egypt, Kuwait, Bahrain, UAE, Qatar, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Oman), Africa (Sierra Leone, Ghana) and the USA. Over the years, we have built a strong network of esteemed partners and valued employees stationed locally, enabling us to gain a deep understanding of local needs in a broad range of countries and serve diverse markets while remaining true to our vision and ethics, and honest in our work approach.”

“What makes us unique is not the reach of our company, but our ability to mobilise a diverse team of talented professionals in a modern, innovative way,” Senior Public Affairs Manager at Sustainability Knowledge Group Ioanna Fratzeskaki, said. “These individuals have the ability and desire to assist our clients in managing risks, identifying business opportunities linked to ESG and Sustainability, and enhancing their business offerings in the years to come, while making a difference.”

“Sometimes in our field, we need to demystify terms. For a start, there are many misconceptions regarding ESG and Sustainability. Professionals at all levels and from diverse backgrounds tend to confuse these terms. While Sustainability is a broader term that refers to the ability of all entities to maintain or support a holistic development process continuously over time, ESG is more closely linked to the Environmental, Social and Governance metrics that are used to assess a company’s exposure to a range of environmental, social and governance risks. In business and policy contexts, Sustainability aims to prevent the depletion of natural or physical resources and enable companies to grow within the planetary boundaries and consider all stakeholders.

“Moreover, people often believe that Sustainability and ESG concern primarily the environment, overlooking their interconnections with society, the workplace, governance, and marketplace aspects. Essentially, these concepts encompass everything around us.
“It’s therefore important to highlight that, as part of a comprehensive strategic approach, companies need to address a broad set of topics simultaneously.

Environmental criteria focus on how an organisation acts as a steward of the natural world. Areas of focus include climate change, carbon emissions, water, waste and energy management, air pollution, biodiversity etc.

Social criteria examine how an organisation integrates topics of human rights, diversity, inclusion, health and safety, community relations within its engagement models with employees, suppliers, customers, local community, and society at large.

Governance criteria emphasise an organisation’s leadership, ethics, corruption, compliance, executive pay, internal controls, Board independence, shareholder rights etc.

“Organisations committed to ESG and Sustainability, also commit to being accountable and transparent towards their stakeholders. ESG is action-oriented, and its success lies in introducing measurable KPIs and solid business systems. These enable organisations to identify areas of improvement, gain competitive advantage, increase their customer base, avoid risks, and become future-fit.

“Our major contribution in Cyprus is the launch, in partnership with the University of Limassol (UOL), of the UOL – Centre for ESG.

This innovative collaboration between academia and the private sector, namely the University of Limassol and the Sustainability Knowledge Group, leverages the strengths and knowledge of both these sectors for the benefit of the Cypriot society and market.

“The UOL – Centre for ESG was established with the goal of contributing positively to awareness around Environmental, Social, and Governance topics and their integration into organisational strategy and decision making. The Centre engages with private and public agents to enable them to lead in the post pandemic era, where Sustainable Development and ESG concepts dominate discussion around business resilience, impact, and value creation.

“This partnership introduces something that the Cypriot market was indeed lacking. It aspires to support organisations and businesses to understand and seize the opportunities presented by sustainable development, acquiring skills and tools that will not only help them adapt to new data and requirements but also benefit and enhance their business offerings.

“With in-depth knowledge and extensive experience of both the Cypriot and global market, the Centre for ESG offers a blend of advisory and training services, in order to meet the needs and expectations of today’s organisations, whether private, public or not-for-profit/3rd sector. As part of this partnership, we offer a wide array of training and advisory services for Cypriot companies focusing on ESG related topics. These services include certified training, Sustainability and materiality assessment, strategy formulation, Sustainability/ESG report development (e.g., GRI, SASB, ISO26000, ISSB), standards and framework integration (e.g., SDGs, GHG protocol), compliance with legislation, stakeholder engagement, impact measurement and CSR activities.

“Considering the ever-changing environment, we live in, ESG concepts are more relevant than ever. Organisations and businesses are in dire need of access to practical knowledge, tools, methodologies on how to integrate Sustainability both in their day-to-day operations and in their future strategy, to be able to compete effectively and coexist harmoniously with other organisations locally and internationally,” Executive Director of UOL Ioanna Papanagiotou, said.

“We invite all interested individuals and organisations to join us in our journey. Our purpose is to enable Cypriot organisations to thrive in a world where traditional approaches are becoming absolute, business models are stakeholder inclusive, and the boundaries of responsibility extend beyond financial obligations.” Aglaia Ntili added.