KPMG study noted that 80 % of the world ’ s largest organisations now provide some form of sustainability reporting , up from 13 % in 1993 .
For all the corporate reporting in the world , a lack of standardised metrics between businesses means that the data collected risks falling on deaf ears . If that intelligence is specific to an organisation , how much of it can make sense to the customers , employees , investors and regulators that it is aimed at ? Without such standards – and the ability to understand said data – ESG metrics risk being branded as the next wave of corporate jargon . In fact , a Deloitte survey revealed that a lack of transparent information about ethical practices and values is stopping 34 % of consumers from engaging with brands .
This isn ’ t just an external issue either . Despite increased ESG reporting , PwC also reported that 37 % of business leaders highlighted a lack of standards ( along with regulatory complexity ) as a major barrier to ESG growth . For all the generated data available to share with key stakeholders , often even the businesses reporting it don ’ t know what it means or how they should be presenting it .
Investing in data literacy for the people and the planet
The latest research from Qlik showed that , despite the significant increase in the use of data in every aspect of business , just 24 % of the global workforce claimed to be fully confident in their ability to read , work with , analyse and argue with data .
As the intensifying debates over the environment and social justice show , however , the need to tell a story with data has an impact beyond attracting customers , hiring staff or targeting investors . Having the ability to understand ESG data can drive decision-making with major ramifications for people and the planet . At the highest level , it is contributing to decisions that inform major goals and targets , such as the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change ( UNFCCC ). This is where global ESG data reporting standards come in – if corporate emissions targets might have been slightly nebulous , we now have the opportunity to align businesses with the global bodies driving change . And it all starts with a full understanding of the information we have available .