Beyond the Numbers: Using ESG Strategy to Drive Performance and Value, Part I

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From shareholder and investor obligations to regulatory compliance requirements, environmental, social, and governance issues are front and center in many industries. While the conversation continues to grow louder in the United States, many companies are already embedding sustainability reporting and other ESG-related risks and opportunities into their business strategies.

Weaver’s Alyssa Martin, National Strategy Leader, Large Market, and Public Entities, and Greg Englert, Partner, and ESG Service Leader, take us through a discussion on the latest trends in ESG and common gaps in reporting standards. This discussion covers investor sentiment, disclosure policy, and specific ways organizations can address ESG risk and opportunities today and tomorrow.

One element most associated with ESG reporting is sustainability. But corporate social responsibility reporting, purpose-led reporting, or ESG risks and opportunities reporting, are also part of the landscape. “When it comes to sustainability reporting, many of us think about green industries or progressive companies with a focus on environmental impact,” Martin said. However, sustainability reports started with the goal of addressing a perception issue that specific industries faced related to their environmental impact. The practice stuck, and today the market demands companies produce sustainability reports to monitor their business practices better. Those companies that do not publish such reports will often fall under scrutiny and could detract investors. For these reasons, ESG reports cover much more than the environment to include the organization’s social and governance pillars.

“There are a number of frameworks available when it comes to how companies are structuring their disclosures across all three pillars of EGS,” Englert said. “There has been no single framework that has been adopted that has turned into a requirement. We are starting to see some alliances form, and we’re starting to see some emerge as more prevalent than others.”

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