More Companies Are Disclosing Their ESG Data, but Confusion on How Persists

Article by David Breg: “Public companies in the U.S. are increasingly disclosing sustainability information, but many say they find it a challenge to report fundamental climate data that many regulators around the globe likely will require under incoming mandatory reporting standards

Nearly two-thirds of respondents said their company was disclosing environmental, social and governance information, up from 56% in the prior year, according to the annual survey of sustainability officials that WSJ Pro conducted this spring.

However, there was little consensus on which framework to use and respondents highlighted three fundamental types of information as their three biggest environmental reporting challenges: Greenhouse-gas emissions, climate-change risk and energy management.

The proportion of companies disclosing sustainability and ESG information was 63%, up from 56% last year. Those that don’t yet report this data but plan to was 16%, down from 25% last year. About one-fifth of respondents said their organization had no plans to report their progress, virtually unchanged from last year. Breaking that down, a quarter of private companies don’t plan any ESG reporting, while only 7% of public companies felt the same.

Regulators around the globe are finalizing rules that would require companies to publish standardized information after years of patchy voluntary ESG reporting based on a host of frameworks. California’s governor has said he would soon sign that state’s requirements into law. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s rules are expected later this year. European regulations are already in place and many other countries are also working on standards. The International Sustainability Standards Board hopes its climate framework, completed this past summer, becomes the global baseline

While it is mostly public companies that face mandatory requirements, even private businesses face increased scrutiny of their sustainability and ESG policies from stakeholders including shareholders, eco-conscious consumers, suppliers, insurers and lenders…(More)”.