Social and governance lag in ESG discussions, says GlobalData

29 Jul 2021, 12:00 am
Financial Nigeria


Only 40 per cent of survey respondents believe that their company has changed behaviour over the past 12 months to achieve sustainability goals.


According to the Filing Analytics platform by GlobalData, corporates broadly discussed the ‘E’ in Environment, Social and Governance (ESG), but the ‘G’ and ‘S’ were lacking in the discussions during half year 2021.

The leading data and analytics company said that while overall ESG mentions rose 40 per cent in H1 2021 compared to H1 2020, companies mentioned sustainability key phrases such as the ‘environment’, ‘climate change’ and ‘carbon emissions’ in their company filings much more often compared to key words such as ‘social’, ‘governance’, ‘diversity and inclusion’, or ‘workplace diversity’ in 2021.

GlobalData said it conducted six polls online between the first week of April and the third week of June 2021. They ran on Verdict, GlobalData’s network of B2B websites that captured overall traffic of 49 million users in the period from 30 June 2020 to 1 July 2021. Poll participants were professionals from more than 30 industries. In total, the six polls received 2,341 responses distributed unequally between each of the polls.

Rinaldo Pereira, Business Fundamentals Analyst at GlobalData, said that companies are not shying away from social issues. Mentions of ESG key words rose drastically in 2020, compared to 2019, due to the rise in discussions around health and safety. Looking at 2021, the focus seems to be on environmental aspects, driven by investor pressure, the COVID-19 pandemic and changing consumer attitudes.
According to GlobalData, ESG will be the most impactful theme over the next decade. Yet, the survey by GlobalData revealed that only 40 per cent of respondents believe that their company has changed behaviour over the past 12 months to achieve sustainability goals. What’s more, only 17 per cent of respondents believe that their business is fully committed to sustainability.

“The pandemic has shown the need for socially focused investment, and jobs around ESG have shown promising signs in 2021. ESG-related job postings are up five-fold in July 2021 compared to 2020,” noted Pereira.

He said themes such as workplace diversity continue to lag behind environmental issues in 2021. Companies continue to be sceptical of sustainability risks. However, firms involved in clearer social and governance initiatives and discussions are likely to turn the heads of investors.

4,000 of the world’s largest companies, including over 70 per cent of FTSE 100 and 60 per cent of Fortune 100 companies, use GlobalData’s unique data, expert analysis and innovative solutions. GlobalData said its mission is to help clients decode the future to be more successful and innovative across a range of industries, including the healthcare, consumer, retail, financial, technology and professional services sectors.


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