Data a major challenge to ESG progress

Managing the volume of data and making sense of it is becoming hinderance for progress, obscuring the real story behind an approach, according to a survey of UK companies.

The second Sustainability Trends Tracker sought the opinions of 450 heads of sustainability based in the UK representing a range of industry sectors, identifying that 39 per cent of businesses say that understanding the ESG data deluge is their greatest ESG challenge right now.

The second largest impediment to progress was in tracking transition targets (17 per cent), and the third monitoring changes across the global political landscape (11 per cent). Only 7 per cent felt that there was a challenge in tracking investment inside financial investment.

In terms of milestones to best ESG practice, 22 per cent see themselves as pioneering, 54 per cent mid transition and 14 per cent say they are ‘trying to keep up’, stating that while there is ‘buy in at the top’ ESG practice is yet to be ‘fully embraced’ across their business’ operations and markets.

In qualitative research, perhaps the most surprising aspect of the comments shared by sustainability and ESG leaders in the survey is a lack of reference to the potential cultural impact of ESG, given that commitment surely requires employee buy-in and understanding.

Imogen Osborne, founder of The Pulse Business commented: “The insights from our second Sustainability Tracker show how heads of sustainability are making positive progress with the complex task of setting their ESG strategies in place and proving their worth. The next challenge is how their endeavours can be presented to the people at the coalface of the business because they are the beating heart for driving sustainable practice coupled with a passionate commitment to see it all take shape.”

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