How Universities Use ESG Data

Lily Ruaah, 15 January 2024

There’s increasing pressure for universities to uphold ESG values, and as we move towards a greener economy, this pressure will only escalate.

Gen Z has been called the “sustainability generation”. A recent report, Gen Z Shoppers Demand Sustainable Retail, revealed that a significant majority of Generation Z consumers show a strong preference for purchasing from sustainable brands. This demographic is notably willing to pay a premium, often up to 10%, for products that are environmentally friendly and sustainable.

The report also highlights that both Gen Z and Millennials are the demographic groups most inclined to base their buying decisions on a set of values and principles. These include personal ethics, social responsibility, and environmental considerations, indicating a shift towards more value-driven consumerism.

This trend doesn’t just stop at the shops—the younger generations want better sustainability and a push towards a greener lifestyle overall—and this includes their choice for education.

As an educator, you’re saying something to your students, and need to be seen to be following through with that, one example of that is the businesses you’re supporting. Universities are trending towards a similar attitude with the businesses they are both creating (startups and spinouts), and contracting with—they want to work with businesses that uphold similar ESG-related values. It’s important to them, and to their students and faculty. 

This is why we’ve put together a “how to” for universities to understand how our new ESG signals can help them to identify “green” opportunities.

What is ESG data?

ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance. It refers to a set of values upheld by a business to support these issues. Investors use ESG data to assess the ethical impact and sustainability practices of a company, which can influence investment decisions. Companies with strong ESG profiles may be seen as less risky and more sustainable in the long term.

Find out more by reading our ESG Q&A.

Why do universities use ESG data?

Universities can use ESG data for a variety of reasons.

Our ESG data can help universities to:

How Councils Use Beauhurst

Find out more about how councils in the UK can use the BeauhurstImpact platform to support and grow businesses in their area.

Unis and ESG data: How can universities use Beauhurst’s ESG data?

It’s very simple to search with our new ESG signals. From our advanced search, you can find our signals under Add Company Criteria.

Screenshot of Beauhurst search platform.

From here, you can select which signal you’d like.

How can this help you find the companies you’d like to find? Let’s look at an example.

Imagine you’re a university worker searching for companies that offer Gender Pay Equality to come and talk to students at an open day.

00:00: Discover how to effectively use ESG data in universities with Beauhurst. 00:06: From the advanced search page, click add company criteria. 00:10: From here you can access the signals feature. 00:13: Select the gender pay equality criteria. 00:16: And select okay. 00:19: Now you can add more company criteria to narrow down your search. 00:24: Choose location. 00:27: Type in your university's area. 00:30: And select the right location from the suggestions. 00:34: You can add even more criteria. 00:37: For example, to find active companies, narrow down by current stage of evolution. 00:43: From here you can select seed, venture, growth and established stages of evolution and press okay. 00:50: You might want to find companies in specific industries. 00:54: You can do that by selecting what the company does. 00:58: Then choose the sectors section. 01:01: Now you can choose a specific sector. In this example we've chosen media. 01:07: You can choose multiple sectors, and once you are done, press okay. 01:12: Now you can search for companies. 01:15: To find out more on how to use ESG signals, contact us or book a demo.

How to:

You can also search via sectors. In the video above, we’ve looked at the Media industry—this means if you’re running open days or workshops, you can really narrow down who you’re looking for.

Case studies

The University of Manchester effectively utilises its 20-user subscription to actively engage with high-growth SMEs. This engagement ranges from knowledge exchange initiatives to boosting the university’s influence and interaction with businesses at both local and national levels.

They use Beauhurst to:

Learn how the University of Manchester uses Beauhurst to engage with fast-growing SMEs.


BeauhurstImpact can help you find the right businesses you should be partnering with—businesses that share your values. With BeauhurstImpact, you can find companies in your local area that strive towards sustainability, and that will really resonate with students and faculty alike.

Beauhurst allows you to make informed decisions about potential partnerships based on how well they align with your university’s commitment to social responsibility and environmental stewardship.

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