The ESG Ecosystem Map seeks to bring all crucial initiatives in sustainability reporting under one umbrella.
Over the past few years sustainability has risen in prominence within the business world. Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting has been particularly important in driving this change, becoming crucial criteria that investors consider when looking for responsible and future-proof ways to invest their money.
Just 20 years ago we had a few dozen companies trying to seriously talk about their CSR commitments. Today it’s hard to find a corporation that doesn’t publish an annual sustainability report, doesn’t care about sustainability goals or doesn’t know what the risks of climate change are.
Walmart, Unilever, Apple and many other companies are now reporting on hundreds of metrics to make sure people associate them with sustainability. Meanwhile, stock exchanges across the globe increasingly require at least some type of sustainability reporting to have a company on their list. Some of them, like the London Stock Exchange, have even published guides on how to integrate ESG into investor reporting and communication.
Still, to date, ESG reporting has been rather unsystematic, making it hard to compare the actual performance of different companies in regards to multiple sustainability criteria. A number of initiatives have tried to integrate those disparate efforts yet in many respects it still boils down to comparing apples and oranges.
A new initiative by the World Economic Forum called ESG Ecosystem Map has attempted to bring all the crucial initiatives in the field under one umbrella, providing a bird’s-eye view on the global ESG reporting landscape. Building on the previously published Seeking return on ESG report, the map aims to “provide clarity and a common basis for discussion between investors, companies & other players, without any claim to comprehensiveness.”
Divided into 9 sectors, the map brings together 60 key players in the global ESG landscape and provides a quick snapshot for anyone who wants an introduction to the field. For example, a company that wants to kickstart its reporting can quickly find credible standards it needs to adhere to, such as GRI, SASB, ISO and GHG Protocol.
What’s just as important is that the map shows links between different initiatives, allowing users to spot those that have the greatest influence and recognition across the globe. Thus, executives can instantly figure out the coalitions that they should consider participating in, such as WBCSD or Natural Capital, which have extensive links to all other ESG initiatives.
The map also includes key global ESG investor alliances, such as Climate Action 100+ or Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, as well as data providers focusing on ESG in general or particular schemes, such as human rights or climate change. Last but not least, it also covers key framework developers such as UNCG and TCFD which set the playing ground where all the efforts unfold.
Today, ESG landscape is developing faster than ever and a map of this kind can be a crucial orientation for those who want a trustworthy introduction into the field. Hopefully, it will help to get more companies on board for the journey towards a more sustainable world of business.