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Why is it important for your organization's ESG score to reflect the sustainability narrative?

Why is it important for your organization's ESG score to accurately reflect the business and sustainability narrative?

Aligning business commitment and sustainability goals with ESG scores

Organizations may now demonstrate their dedication to sustainability through the measurement and reporting of ESG activity. There is increasing pressure on organizations to gather and publish data that appropriately reflects their ESG activity as legislation and reporting standards change. Most recently, the European Union (EU) mandated that data on the "effect of their actions on people and the earth" and "any sustainability risks they are exposed to" be disclosed by all significant organizations, whether or not they are listed on public markets. 

As organizations consider raising their ESG scores, they must make sure that the processes used to collect the data fit the organization's business narrative and that the score appropriately reflects its objectives and core values.

The market for ESG data collection and reporting is evolving

Today's businesses and investors are interested in using ESG activities as a lens through which to view strategic decision-making, emphasizing the significance of positive ESG results and scores. Studies have also indicated that increased creativity and better risk management are two aspects that contribute to the financial success of sustainability programs within organizations. Additionally, the COVID-19 pandemic and other incidents have shown that organizations with a strong ESG emphasis are less vulnerable to disruptions and have a longer-term benefit. [4]

While the E, S, and G categories are constant, there are considerable differences in the evaluation standards used by the various rating systems that provide ESG scores. Refinitiv, MSCI ESG Research, Sustainalytics, S&P, and Bloomberg ESG Data Services are notable company rating agencies. Bloomberg Law stated that the lack of consistency among the many rating systems has been "one of the main issues at the time, leaving investors and consumers alike to battle with the dependability of the ratings systems."

But there has recently been a shift in favor of more transparency and convergence. A positive development and an indication of how the market for ESG data collecting and reporting is changing are efforts to simplify data and make rating systems publicly available.

More businesses in the private sector are asking for advice to raise their ESG ratings.
While public firms must now include ESG disclosure in their quarterly and yearly reports, private corporations are increasingly disclosing as well. Two major elements for this surge are new rules and the desire for disclosure.

As a result, C-suite executives in private sector organizations have developed a critical interest in ESG reporting. Senior leadership is now more likely to set aside money and devote greater resources to gathering and reporting ESG data. In order to boost their ratings and make sure they have the proper core strategy in place, private sector organizations have also been compelled to ask for more assistance with ESG score reporting due to mounting market and regulatory pressure.

The way forward: Ensuring alignment between the business narrative and ESG scores

The standardization of ESG reporting must be continued in the future, along with increased organization-wide transparency and comparability.

At the rating agency level, it is crucial that ESG-scoring methodologies appropriately reflect an organization's advancement and dedication to sustainability as the relevance of ratings and scores increases. Smaller investors might not have the capacity to perform the same level of due diligence as larger institutional investors, who frequently have higher budgets to review data from several rating agencies before making investment decisions. As a result, there is an increased dependence on ESG scores, and it is crucial for rating agencies to make sure that the rankings appropriately reflect an organization's commitment and that the data is available.

Companies with low ESG ratings, those in the private sector, as well as those just starting out on their ESG journey, can gain investor and market trust by developing a strong ESG strategy and being open about their goals. The presented ESG data must accurately reflect the organization's sustainability and business strategy.

Additionally, the obligation for ESG data gathering and reporting offers ESG specialist consultants a very clear commercial potential. Such institutions can offer guidance on how to develop and operationalize ESG plans, make the proper ESG pledges, and ultimately, measure, track, and raise ESG scores over time.

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