From 2022, over 1,300 of the largest UK companies and financial institutions need to start disclosing their climate-related financial information. These changes to the law will help investors be much more informed about the impact their investments, products and services are having on the planet.
This is why there was no better time for us to dive deeper into ESG, especially as the decisions made by today's governments, industries and businesses have the potential to directly shape the future of our environment for future generations.
We asked key clients and compliance professionals a range of questions to help us to benchmark the ESG landscape. It produced some surprising results.
ESG Survey Highlights
Our benchmarking survey asked 12 questions across key aspects of ESG, aiming to provide insight into how everyone is approaching this challenge.
To highlight the inconsistencies in ESG planning and implementation, we have bookended the responses from pairs of questions.
- 68% had an ESG strategy, only half had promoted it to staff
- 53% had defined ESG data, yet only half regularly collected it
- Only a third collect data on diversity attitudes or demographics
- 66% measured their carbon footprint, but less than half had a NetZero target
1. ESG Planning & Delivery
When we compared the results of the first and last questions of the survey, we found whilst 68% of respondents had created an ESG strategy, less than half had communicated it to their staff.
As your staff are vital to the delivery of ESG goals, clearly, this information gap must be bridged.
2. Sustainability Goals
Looking at sustainability goals, we asked whether organisations were measuring their carbon footprint and if they were working towards a net zero target.
There's quite a disparity here, it will be interesting to see if pressures from staff, suppliers, and even customers will see that move in the future to something a little bit more level.
3. ESG & DEI
Looking at diversity, again, most companies have policies, but almost two-thirds do not measure whether these policies are either understood or impactful.
When we asked if organisations collected data on race, gender, sexual orientation, et cetera in employee surveys, only 32% did.
But even if you have a DEI policy, if you do not track the soft attitudes of your employees (62% did not), then you have no idea if these policies are being followed or if attitudes and behaviours are improving.
4. Defining & Gathering ESG Data
Finally, we can look at the thorny issue of data gathering. We see that only half have even defined the data they need, and even amongst those, only half are regularly gathering the necessary data. If you don't start collecting data, then you don't know what is happening, what good looks like, or how you can improve it.
Tools for Data-driven ESG
Our survey highlighted two key issues facing companies, the need to build an achievable ESG strategy and for ways to collect unbiased data to inform to evidence its performance.
Skillcast offers solutions to both issues and has been working in partnership with leading industry experts to align our ESG digital solutions with the standards led by the TCFD guidance.
Policies are the bedrock of ESG. They establish the values, behaviours and ethics that define your culture and set a recognisable benchmark for you to hold your workforce accountable to.
Once you have your policies in place, you need to make sure the behaviours are understood and are being acted upon.
Using email or paper-based declarations processes is slow, inefficient and creates unnecessary duplication. And making sure that they are completed on time is an ongoing headache.
If you are setting a strategy for Diversity, Equality and Inclusion without capturing unbiased employee feedback, your compliance programme is effectively flying blind.
Maintaining registers is a key aspect of compliance. To support ESG, you could consider creating a Giving Register in which you can track charitable initiatives, such as fundraising, volunteering, charity events, community work and sustainability projects.
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