ESG performance a growing concern for Europe’s professionals

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New research highlights importance of ESG for reputation, investment and new business.

According to a new research report, environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance and its impact on corporate reputation, investor relations and new business, is a growing concern among professionals in Europe’s ESG community.

Key findings in Engaging Workers, Growing Business, Protecting the Planet, a research report from the European practice at Intelex Technologies, a leading global provider of cloud-based environmental, health, safety and quality management software, are: –

  • 74% of those surveyed worry that failing to improve ESG performance will negatively impact their organisation’s brand and reputation in the market.
  • 73% of respondents agreed that key stakeholders and investors may start to leave if their organisation does not improve its ESG performance.
  • 72% of respondents said a lack of progress towards ESG targets could negatively impact their organisation’s ability to win new business.

The Intelex report comes at a critical time, both in terms of post-Covid business recovery in Europe and as the importance of ESG continues to build in the investment community. The ESG Global Survey 2021, a report from BNP Paribas on the role of ESG in investing, found that 22% of investors currently integrate ESG into at least 75% of their portfolio, with this number set to increase in the coming years.

Commenting on the Intelex report findings, Gavin Stephenson, director, EMEA and APACat Intelex, said: “In today’s world, the importance of ESG to corporate reputation cannot be underestimated. Forward-looking organisations need to recognise the direct line between ESG and business success and take urgent action to ensure they have quality, trusted ESG solutions in place that support and guide them to improve business performance.”

The Intelex research highlighted two of the most significant challenges professionals are facing – data and people. 44% of respondents said the number one challenge they face is measuring ESG performance improvement metrics and return on investment while 36% said they face challenges in gaining employee support for ESG efforts.

Positives in the Intelex report revealed a fair degree of confidence among respondents as to their organisation’s current ESG progress, with 45% of respondents saying that they are very confident in the accuracy of their company’s ESG data and 48% very confident that their organisation is compliant with all mandatory ESG regulations by which it is governed.

“Our research report highlights two key themes among professionals working in the ESG space,” said Stephenson. “First, there is a clear concern that if organisations fail to deliver on ESG, they could lose competitive advantage. Second, their drive for change is coming up against the harsh reality of making this change happen,” he said.

Stephenson added: “The findings show that the key challenges organisations are facing when it comes to ESG are measuring their ESG performance and getting buy-in from their colleagues – two issues that very much go hand-in-hand. Not being able to accurately demonstrate the value of ESG is a key barrier to getting support from colleagues for ESG efforts. With over half of respondents still using off-the-shelf pieces of software such as Excel and SharePoint, it is not all that surprising that many are struggling to measure their performance,” he said.

The Intelex report, Engaging Workers, Growing Business, Protecting the Planet, is being released in three stages, with the first part available now and the next two installments due to be released later this month.

Click here to read the first part of the Engaging Workers, Growing Business, Protecting the Planet report.