The Top UK Regions for ESG Companies

 27 June 2024
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In the fourth quarter of 2023, investment in ESG companies reached an all-time high, with £2.66b invested during just these three months. Compare this to just a decade earlier in 2014, when the total annual investment in ESG companies was merely £773m.

With investment growing in this area, ESG continues to be a high-value consideration for business owners and investors all across the UK. But which regions put the most money into ESG companies, and which areas of the UK have the most companies upholding companies that embody these beliefs?

We’ve used our data to analyse the UK’s ESG companies, and find the region that’s supporting environmental, social and governance issues more than any other.

What is ESG?

ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance, and it represents a set of criteria used to evaluate the sustainability and ethical impact of a company.

The environmental aspect examines a company’s impact on the climate, resource use, pollution, and biodiversity.

The social component looks at employee relations, human rights, community impact, and product responsibility.

Governance evaluates corporate governance structures, ethical conduct, executive compensation, and shareholder rights.

ESG criteria help investors identify companies with sustainable and ethical practices, potentially leading to better long-term financial performance and lower risk.

Discover our ESG database

Find, track, and understand the companies making a positive impact on the environment and society.

How do we measure ESG Signals?

We know that just having data isn’t the answer — you also need to be able to interpret it.

That’s why we created Signals as a way to make our data easier to understand. Beauhurst Signals mean that our clients don’t need to be data analysts to do sophisticated work, they just need to hit a few buttons.

To determine which regions had the most ESG companies, we used our Environmental, Social & Governance Signals. These are:


Social & Governance

If a company is associated with any of these indicators, it will be assigned an Environmental or Social & Governance Signal.


To find our ESG companies, we ran two separate searches: one for Environmental Signals, and the other for our Social & Governance Signals.

To be included in our analysis, companies must:

*Totals have been worked out by using the head office address and where it is not provided, registered address has been used.

The top UK regions for Environmental companies

The region with the most companies hitting one or more of our Environmental Signals is London. The capital is home to 5,124 companies that have an Environmental Signal, that’s 19.9% of all the companies that made our list. This is possibly unsurprising as London is often accredited to having forward-thinking and innovative companies.

Coming in second place is the South East. This could be due to Green Party initiatives, with the environmentally-focussed party famously gaining its first seat in the South East (Brighton Pavilion) in 2010. It could be a result of being close to London. Or it could simply be a reflection of the mentality of the region as a whole, to support greener ways of living.

In third place we have the South West. Bristol has often been accredited as the ‘greenest city in the UK’, and with it being situated in the South West, we can see that companies in this area have continued to uphold environmental values.

It’s also worth considering that proportionally these regions, London in particular, may have more active companies than over regions. That’s why we also looked at the percentage of all active companies in each region that hit an Environmental Signal.

When we consider this, only 0.4% of London’s companies hit one or more of our Environmental Signals, which actually puts it down at the bottom of the list, followed by the West Midlands and the North West.

The Highlands and Islands had the highest proportion of companies hitting an Environmental Signal, with 1.5%. In fact, only three regions hit over 1% of companies, and they were all in Scotland: Aberdeen with 1.3% and South of Scotland with 1%.

To get a better breakdown of high-growth companies across these regions, check out our blog series: The UK’s fastest-growing companies.

Out of the companies we looked at 88.3% hit only one of our Environmental Signals, 10.8% hit two of our signals, and 1% hit three.

And while we didn’t find any companies that hit all five out of signals, there were eight companies that hit four out of the five.

Find ESG companies

First we our introduced ESG signals and now we’ve ranked the top five high-growth ESG companies in the UK using that data.

The top UK regions for Social & Governance companies

There are 172,695 companies across the UK that hit one or more of our Social & Governance Signals. This is much higher than the total for companies hitting one or more Environmental Signal (25,656).

London once again had the highest number of companies hitting one of these signals. It comes as no surprise, as there’s a high volume of companies in this region. London is home to 21.3% of all the S&G companies.

The South East came in second place with 26,958 companies hitting one or more of our S&G Signals, which is 15.1% of the UK companies that hit one or more of our S&G Signals. Coming in third place yet again was the South West with 16,504 companies (9.6%).

In total England made up 88.6% of all the companies with an S&G Signal, jumping down to Scotland in second place with 5.6%. The West of Scotland had the most S&G companies in Scotland, with 3,179 businesses upholding Social & Governance values in this region.

Wales has 6,037 companies hitting one or more of the signals, and Northern Ireland has just 3,995.

But yet again, this just demonstrates one way of interpreting our data. We also looked at all active companies per region vs its companies that hit an S&G Signal.

London remained ahead, with 27.3% of its companies hitting one or more Social & Governance Signals. Then we see a drop down, with Scotland taking some top spots again. The Highland and Islands came second with 6.6%, followed by the South of Scotland with 6.5%.

Out of the 172,695 companies with at least one Social & Governance Signal, none of them hit all four. But 25 companies hit three of the signals. The numbers skyrocket from there, with 12,524 companies hitting two of our Social & Governance Signals — most significantly with the Gender equality in directors and Age diversity in directors Signals which had 12,111 companies hitting both.

Discover how councils use ESG data

Councils are under more pressure to favour businesses that value ESG. We explore how you can use our ESG signals as a council.

The future of ESG

At Beauhurst, we believe the future of ESG is bright, because we have the data to support it. The number of companies that uphold ESG values is growing, and what’s more, the number of funds focusing on companies like these is also growing.

This year alone, there’s been £2.57b invested into ESG companies so far, across 715 deals. In Q4 2023, we saw the most investment ever made into ESG companies, with £2.66b being invested in just one quarter. Just ten years ago (in 2014), there was only £773m invested into ESG companies across the entire year.

Also from our data, it’s evident that these investments are going into seed stage and venture stage companies. These early-stage companies are likely to continue to grow and pave the way for ESG companies in the future.

How to find ESG companies (using Beauhurst)

We found all this information using our own platform. Beauhurst’s advanced search feature means you can easily find companies that uphold ESG values. Long gone are the days of crawling through multiple data and company websites.

At Beauhurst, we created our own ESG dataset to help our clients assess whether a company is making a positive environmental or social impact. See how it works in the demo below.

Our ESG dataset is just one feature of what our platform has to offer. To see the platform for yourself, book a demo with one of our experts.

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