A report published September 1, 2021 by analytics provider Intelligize (“Report”) revealed that companies were “all over the map” when it came to current disclosure practices on Environmental Social and Governance (“ESG”) issues and that their executives and other professionals showed a “troubling” lack of knowledge about ESG issues.
The survey responses came from hundreds of C-suite executives as well as professionals handling compliance, legal, accounting and other matters at public companies with varying asset sizes, across 14 industries and 15 job functions.
The Report tabulated these responses and concluded that commitment to ESG issues is high and is pushed by internal drivers. For example, by a substantial margin, most survey respondents indicated that their companies undertook ESG initiatives primarily based on a pure desire to create positive outcomes. By contrast, only a quarter of respondents felt that their employers were driven by external factors like a desire to avoid negative publicity.
Interestingly, of the three topics covered by ESG—environmental, social and governance matters—responses suggest that companies are least focused on environmental issues. This suggests that if a company were interested in making gains in ESG, there may be some low hanging fruit in the environmental arena to capture and capitalize on, given this lack of historic focus.