Professional Comment

Green Later Living: Why Does ESG Matter In A Care Home Environment?

By Matthew Taylor, Alternative Markets Lead at Utopi (

The care sector has tackled unique challenges in the past few years alone. The COVID-19 pandemic and its repercussions continue to be felt across this industry. According to new research, the £2.1 billion of governmental financial support to the care sector in 2020 has only postponed – rather than prevented – a financial crisis for the sector. Along with workforce shortages, inflation, and soaring energy costs, 2023 has been no easier for the industry.

Amidst these issues, there are increasing conversations around ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) in the care home sector. So why – whilst there are so many other obstacles to overcome – does ESG matter in healthcare?

ESG factors have become increasingly important for companies across the health and social care industry. As organisations strive to align their operations with sustainable practices and meet the expectations of stakeholders, the availability and utilisation of accurate ESG data have emerged as critical drivers of change. Institutions within the industry must understand that ESG data can not only foster meaningful transformation but also propel the industry towards stability and long-term success.

From improving resident well-being, staffing issues, and asset value to helping the industry reduce energy costs and raise funding, ESG can play a vital role in helping the care sector overcome its unique challenges.
Cost-saving in an energy crisis

With today’s challenging economic climate, care homes face the dual pressures of rising energy prices and the need to drive cost savings. As energy costs continue to escalate, it becomes crucial for care home operators to explore innovative strategies that can help mitigate these financial burdens. One of the most effective strategies could be to reduce energy wastage. Organisations need real-time data on where their energy is consumed to do this. This real-time information can further enable them to analyse and cut any unnecessary energy consumption – such as in communal areas.

With the advent of real-time data reporting, care homes now have the opportunity to gain increased visibility into their energy usage patterns and make informed decisions to reduce energy waste.

To effectively manage these aspects, it is crucial to have access to accurate and comprehensive ESG data. By bringing together ESG data, care homes are provided with easy-to-use reports that can help boost their Care Quality Commission (CQC) ratings and enable them to monitor their ongoing environmental performance.

Giving back control over resident wellbeing
In the ever-evolving landscape of care homes, incorporating the latest innovations is essential to ensuring the safety and well-being of residents. With the introduction of real-time alert systems, care homes can proactively safeguard against avoidable harm and respond swiftly to any potential risks.

By leveraging the latest solutions, care home operators can track and control various aspects including temperature, air quality, and humidity levels of individual rooms as well as communal spaces. This control then allows for the regulation of heating in individual rooms, turning it off when the temperature is too hot and increasing it when the temperature is too cold. By effectively controlling room temperature within a permissible range, you gain significant improvements to resident well-being. Without this technology in place, residents often resort to opening windows to cool down the temperature, which not only has adverse effects but also results in heating systems running around the clock, leading to unnecessary energy waste.

Crucially, the ability of residents and operators to monitor and manage various aspects of a room raises both their comfort and CQC ratings. By harnessing these cutting-edge technologies, care homes can elevate their standards of care and provide a secure and nurturing environment for their residents.

Funding, investment, and asset value
According to Forbes, investors acknowledge the significance of investing in socially responsible companies, including those in the social care sector. Embracing sustainability and incorporating ESG principles can not only attract investments but also assist in achieving long-term financial stability.

By incorporating ESG factors into business practices, care homes can gain access to funding and investment opportunities that align with sustainable and responsible principles. Moreover, by improving their ESG performance, care homes can directly increase the value of their assets. This not only allows them to act financially conscious but also contributes to reducing the environmental impact of their real estate holdings.

Investors are increasingly seeking ways to demonstrate their commitment to responsible resource management. One powerful tool that has emerged is the use of comprehensive data sets, which provide evidence and impact measurement. By leveraging these real-time data sets, investors can showcase their value and progress in understanding the responsible use of resources. This contributes to combating climate change and leads to tangible benefits such as reduced operating costs and optimised resource allocation.

The demand for talent
The issue of staffing in care homes has become a pressing concern in recent years. According to the Skills for Care 2022 report, there are now 165,000 vacancies in the adult social care industry, a remarkable 52% rise over the previous year. As the demand for quality care services continues to rise, care homes are faced with the challenge of attracting and retaining talented professionals.

In today’s rapidly changing world, sustainability has become a top priority for individuals and organisations alike. This shift in mindset has extended to the job market, where a new generation of talent is increasingly placing importance on environmentally conscious practices. Indeed, a recent study found that “by 2029, the Millennial and Gen Z generations will make up 72 percent of the world’s workforce, compared to 52 percent in 2019. These generations place greater importance on environmental and social concerns than their predecessors do – and will expect more from employers on these issues.”

Care homes, being an integral part of our society, have the opportunity to attract this passionate and forward-thinking talent by driving ESG initiatives within their operations.

By implementing cutting-edge smart technology that exemplifies ESG practices, care facilities can not only contribute to a brighter future but also show a dedication to environmental sustainability. They may also be seen as desirable employers by workers who place a premium on sustainability in their professions.

The social care industry plays a crucial role in the well-being and support of individuals in society. As we navigate through an era of rapid technological advancements and increasing awareness about ESG issues, this industry must acknowledge the significance of sustainability and ESG principles. By proactively integrating these principles into their operations along with innovative technology, social care organisations can pave the way towards a brighter, more inclusive, and more socially responsible future for all.