2024 ESG Practitioner Survey

Finance, sustainability, risk, and audit professionals’ perspectives on a new integrated reality

Workiva recently commissioned Ascend2 to conduct an independent global survey amongst over 2,000 ESG practitioners in March 2024. 


The survey produced interesting findings, two of which stood out above the rest. 

ESG Data Accuracy

Firstly, the majority of respondents stated that they are confident in the accuracy of their ESG data. However, the majority also agreed that collecting accurate data to meet the European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive will be a challenge for their organisations. This could possibly mean that existing ESG reporting practices must mature to satisfy new regulatory requirements.


Challenges in adapting

Secondly, almost all ESG practitioners (9 out of 10) surveyed stated that they find it challenging to adapt reporting processes to comply with new regulation. However, the vast majority of companies (8 out of 10) not subject to the CSRD still intend to comply. Now, the question lies on why would companies want to voluntarily comply with new regulations, particularly when it is evident that practitioners are finding this to be challenging?


Our Experience with ESG

We are currently observing this behaviour throughout clients and other entities across different sectors, and this shift is a definite consequence of market expectations. The CSRD was among the first regulatory mandates requiring integrated financial and ESG reporting with third-party assurance over ESG data. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission followed a similar regulatory requirement earlier this year through its Climate Disclosure Rule. The natural consequence is that practitioners are starting to prepare for a market where assured integrated reporting is the de facto global norm. 

We’ve all been through numerous studies, conferences, and articles which discussed the burden of complying with new ESG regulation. Though ESG reporting presents challenges for corporate reporting teams, across disciplines, ESG practitioners are confident in their work and aligned on the top challenges before them. 

Nevertheless, regardless of regulatory requirements, ESG practitioners are seeing the potential of added value in accurate and transparent reporting, as ultimately obtaining assurance over ESG data increases the likelihood that a company will achieve its goals. Moreso, access to technology and data will play an important role in making decisions to advance the entity’s sustainability strategy. The challenge lies in identifying tools that will yield a measurable and positive return on investment. 

With investors and regulators calling for the integration of financial and ESG data, business leaders are urged to look into solutions that can simplify the complexity of assured integrated reporting. To download a copy of the 2024 ESG Practitioner Survey, visit Workiva's website here.


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