ESG disclosures: the bedrock of the sustainable finance agenda

ESG disclosures: the bedrock of the sustainable finance agenda

To be successful, the development of sustainable finance in Europe needs to be grounded in access to high quality and meaningful ESG disclosures. While the quality and reliability of ESG data has improved considerably, so has the sophistication of investors and their needs for improved ESG disclosure.

Investors find the most value in ESG disclosures when sustainability is embedded in the DNA of the firm as part of their competitive advantage to create long-term value. Companies that create societal value should benefit from changing policy and consumer trends, resulting in more sustainable cash flows, a lower cost of capital and higher valuations. While no standardised reporting framework can ever fully capture and reflect this. Reporting standards should, however, ensure that we move away from boilerplate disclosures and box-ticking approaches to consider the ESG risks and opportunities that are material to each company, industry and sector.

While numerous standards already exist in this space, no single regulatory standard provides a comprehensive framework for companies to disclose in a way that would meet investors’ needs. Greater convergence in reporting could fill the gaps in accessing core ESG metrics that investors rely on to develop their ESG screening tools and assessment methodologies. Convergence in ESG reporting standards would also enable such data to be audited, which is becoming increasingly important to investors who base capital allocation decisions on such information.

Beyond these core metrics, we need to connect ESG disclosures with real world outcomes, both adverse impacts as well as opportunities for transition. A holistic approach based on the three pillars of people, planet and prosperity is key to creating true long-term value for all stakeholders.

Read our in-depth assessment here.