Environmental, Social, and Governance Programs and Reporting

Does my company need an ESG program?

Public companies have seen the need to implement Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) programs to enhance stakeholder value through the company’s commitment to the future. Investors have been factoring into investment decisions the presence of an ESG program that focuses on sustainability. To help companies attract investors, Nasdaq launched an ESG Advisory Program in 2019. The program lays out ESG metrics that provide investors a clear understanding of the company’s sustainability objectives.

In 2020 Nasdaq rolled out an ESG platform for public companies that allows a portal to input ESG factors and the service generates meaningful ESG metrics and accommodate the different sustainability frameworks that rating agencies and stakeholders expect.

Why should I care about ESG programs and ESG reporting now?

It is important to act now as within the next 10 years it is highly likely that all companies will be required to have a form of an ESG program. ESG programs may be scaled to the size of the organization. The pressure to implement an ESG program is coming from regulators, investors, rating agencies and general public. Even without strict requirements, the benefits of going through an ESG assessment is worth the effort. Implementing aspects of an ESG program will help improve the viability of any organization.


of executives agree that reporting on a set of universal ESG disclosures is important and would be useful for financial markets and the economy, according to a survey by the World Economic Forum. Companies view the importance of social, climate, and other non-financial factors as crucial for long-term viability and success.

21 Core Metrics

  • Setting purpose

  • Governance body composition

  • Material issues impacting stakeholders

  • Anti-corruption

  • Protected ethics advise and reporting mechanisms

  • Integrating risk and opportunity into business process

  • Greenhouse gas emissions

  • Task force on climate control disclosures implementation

  • Land use and ecological sensitivity

  • Water consumption and withdrawal in water-stressed areas

  • Diversity and inclusion

  • Pay equality

  • Wage level

  • Risk for child, forced, or compulsory labor

  • Health and safety

  • Training provided (quantity and price)

  • Absolute number and rate of employment

  • Economic contribution

  • Financial investment contribution

  • Total R&D expenses

  • Total tax paid

Source: Measuring Stakeholder Capitalism Report — September 2020 — World Economic Forum

ESG Metrics

The following 30 ESG metrics can provide clarity and direction for internal audit departments getting involved with their organization’s ESG reporting.

Source: ESG Reporting Guide 2.0

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