Half of British businesses not tracking ESG progress, study finds

Half of UK-based business leaders have admitted that “no significant work” has been carried out to collect data on the delivery of their environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments.

Half of British businesses not tracking ESG progress, study finds

This was a key finding from a survey of 200 C-suite leaders at different UK-based businesses, conducted by data consultancy Profusion.

Without robust baseline data and without clear ways of proving progress, there is a risk that goals are going unmet.

Only 36% of those surveyed stated that their business is supporting its ESG commitments with a “completely actionable plan” including clear KPIs.

Beyond the potential lack of real-world impact, the lack of transparency is proving to be fertile ground for distrust in corporate claims.

The survey found that 56% of businesses do not provide their employees or other key stakeholders with access to a dashboard so they can assess how the firm is tracking against its target.

This is despite the growing body of research proving that employees are demanding transparency on sustainability performance from their employers. For example, a SaveMoneyCutCarbon poll published this August found that one in five UK-based workers would not consider applying for a role at an organisation they believe is not “prioritising” sustainability.

Profusion chief executive Natalie Cramp said: “There is a clear and strong appetite among business leaders to implement ESG policies and standards, but many are failing to put in place any mechanism to measure its impact. Unfortunately, without that they are essentially fumbling in the dark.

“For the policies to have an effect, businesses need to use accurate data and empower teams to be able to access and, most importantly, understand the data. This will enable organisations to build on existing standards, improve them and fill any gaps.”

The survey also found imbalances in the level of priority that business leaders give to each part of the ESG agenda.

Seven in ten of those polled would call the environmental aspects of the agenda their business’s ‘top priority’. The remaining 30% was split evenly between governance and social topics.

The top three priorities relating to governance were found to be cyber security, risk management and diversity and inclusion?

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