Despite countless organisations being aware of the importance of responsible sustainability reporting, new industry insights reveal many still face significant challenges when it comes to producing the complex data-driven disclosures. As result, barely 1 in 3 actually report, as yet.
According to research by Bureau Veritas, only a third of those surveyed (34%) currently publish a sustainability report, however, over three quarters (76%) expect to produce one over the next few years.
When questioned on the business drivers for compiling such a report, the reasons that came out on top were: increasing customer trust; enhancing shareholder value; and ensuring regulatory compliance.
In-house CSR departments oversee ESG Strategy
The survey of 1,000 clients, across 101 countries and varying sectors, also divulges that three quarters (75%) rate their management above average when it comes to engagement with sustainability reporting. Encouragingly, more than two thirds (68%) already have an in-house expert or CSR department to oversee their ESG strategy.
With mandatory assurance coming soon under the EU’s new Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD), Bureau Veritas commissioned this global report to assess the sustainability reporting landscape across the world and advise on next steps in order to ensure compliance. Of those questioned, around a third are not even aware of any such initiative or legislation that will affect their reporting requirements.
Companies are still not well equipped to aggregate their ESG data with four fifths (81%) admitting they would benefit from more education on standards and good reporting practices. Topping the list of most required additional resources are knowledge, tools for emissions calculations, time and budget constraints.
Barriers for organisations producing the specific industry report include data collection, the complex number of frameworks surrounding it and insufficient internal resources.
The gap between company ambitions and actions is clear, with data both the problem and the solution for many, explains David Murray, Technical Director for Sustainability at Bureau Veritas:
“Sustainability landscape reporting is a highly technical subject which is still evolving. It comes with many challenges including how to evaluate and adapt data collection to facilitate the results. Our survey clearly shows there is positive awareness on the impacts of reporting, however, there remains a lack of knowledge and understanding related to gathering intrinsic data.”
Encouragingly, half of those surveyed by Bureau Veritas are already seeking support from specialist consultants to help them navigate the reporting process. When asked about the drivers for third-party verification or assurance, the top reasons for investing were: to ensure the accuracy, relevance, completeness and consistency of the information reported; to demonstrate the depth of commitment to the social and environmental accountability; and to provide additional confidence for SRI (socially responsible investment) decision-making.
Created in 1828, Bureau Veritas is a global leader in Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC), helping clients meet the growing challenges of quality, safety, environmental protection, and social responsibility. The company specialises in innovative solutions that go beyond simple compliance with regulations and standards, reducing risk, improving performance and promoting sustainable development. Listed on the Euronext Paris Stock Exchange, Bureau Veritas has 78,000 employees worldwide, with more than 1,500 offices and laboratories, in 140 countries.
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