As the global landscape evolves, ESG (environmental, social, and governance) seems firmly on many businesses’ agendas in 2021, as they move towards a vision of matching profit, twinned with the pursuit of societal and sustainability impact. An increasing number of companies are seeing the value that consideration of ESG matters can generate, both in terms of relative performance and investing in initiatives they care about.

A new report has highlighted that Chief Financial Officers (CFOs) are placing a high priority on ESG issues and assessing how organisational ESG activities and investments compare with evolving stakeholder expectations and business values.

The report* from the US details, ‘Many companies recognise that investing in ESG is the right thing to do, but the real incentive comes from evolving stakeholder expectations… In 2021, customers, employees, suppliers, investors and the communities in which companies operate are likely to place even greater pressure on companies through their consumption choices, preferences regarding the organizations they want to work for and with, and calls for greater transparency on ESG… Finance leaders should expect to invest more time scrutinizing and strengthening ESG metrics and reporting to sustain relevance with institutional investors, asset managers and other investors. They also need to enhance the rigor of the disclosure controls and procedures that generate ESG reports.’

The pandemic has highlighted ESG issues and it seems more organisations are embedding them as an integral part of business planning for the year ahead.

*Forbes, 2020