COMPANIES preparing sustainability reports suffer costs for not having professionals knowledgeable in environmental, social and governance (ESG) processes, said an official of a company with buildings awarded for their design excellence.

Raymond D. Rufino, chief executive officer of Neo Group, said doing sustainability reports and securing building certifications are inexpensive but companies need to allot resources for these.

“It’s not expensive but you need to have a budget, especially for people. These people put the data, they do the measures, there are people who will do the reporting,” Mr. Rufino said in an interview with BusinessWorld.

Companies can hire a third-party consultant who can check whether reports and measurements meet the required standards but they still need their own team to do the report, he said.

“If you don’t have the team to do the report, you can get consultants and this is where it becomes kind of costly,” he added.

Putting up a building can be costly for a company but it should also set aside a budget for human resources especially amid the low number of ESG professionals, according to Mr. Rufino.

Kaya sana ’yung schools magkaroon sila ng (I hope schools will start putting in) courses on ESG professionals. It should be a full course,” he said.

“In my view, it should be a degree course where you put together the different components of environmental science, a little bit of engineering, a bit of marketing. It has many aspects, so I think it is a four-year course,” Mr. Rufino added.

Neo Group is a unit under Sy-led SM Investments Corp. The company has seven buildings that have certifications from Building for Ecologically Responsive Design Excellence, Excellence in Design for Greater Efficiencies, WELL Building Standard, and Advancing Net Zero Philippines.

Its seven buildings are One/NEO, Two/NEO, Three/NEO, Four/NEO, Five/NEO, Six/NEO, and Seven/NEO, which are all at Bonifacio Global City in Taguig. — Justine Irish D. Tabile