Near universal take-up of ESG among large companies in US, Canada and UK

Study finds investment into technology and capturing ESG data - but several challenges remain

Nearly all (94%) companies across the UK, US and Canada with 250 staff or more are now integrating ESG, according to a study by ESG risk management provider Alcumus.

Within the same group of businesses, 71% have invested in systems and technology to capture ESG data, the research found.

Alcumus said the figures, gathered between September and October last year, show companies are intent on “building back better”.

For all respondents – including those with fewer than 250 staff members – Alcumus found take up was slightly less pronounced with 90% having adopted ESG and 67% investing in capturing ESG data.

Among the 10% not currently incorporating ESG into their corporate strategy, Alcumus stated, 43% are looking to take action in this area within the next three years.

ESG challenges

Around half of the companies surveyed (49%) said they felt deterred from investing in ESG – with 77% of those saying this was due to a lack of technical understanding and 73% saying it was because of a lack of guidance from regulators.

The biggest challenge to ESG reporting named by respondents was the increase of hybrid working, cited by 45%. Following that, 43% of companies named accessing data across the organisation as a challenge and 38% noted the challenge of accessing data across the supply chain. One in three companies (29%) said a lack of necessary tools and technology was a challenge to ESG reporting.

David Picton, senior vice president of sustainability at Alcumus, said: “These are still tough times, but companies are not just in survival mode, there is a clear focus on ‘building back better’ post-pandemic.

“Organisations are realising that without meaningful ESG standards they will struggle to attract customers, investors or employees in the future.

“ESG adoption is clearly now an irreversible global trend, but data will make all the difference to the credibility and authenticity of ESG reporting. Companies recognise this and as an industry we must work with them to make it happen.”