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KPMG Report: Integrating ESG into Corporate Governance through Strategic Board-Level Responsibility

KPMG Report: Integrating ESG into Corporate Governance through Strategic Board-Level Responsibility

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Executive Summary:

KPMG International’s report, based on interviews with 50 chief sustainability officers and managers, reveals the growing maturity of sustainability practices at the board level. It highlights the evolving responsibility of group sustainability units and their integration into corporate governance structures to meet new ESG reporting requirements.

Key Impact Points:

  • Board-Level Accountability: Nearly half of the organizations have dedicated sustainability committees at the board level.
  • Decentralization of ESG Responsibilities: Integrating sustainability work into business units enhances effectiveness.
  • Future of Sustainability: Organizations are adapting to new ESG reporting standards like the EU’s CSRD.

Sustainability is now a strategic priority at the board level, as revealed by KPMG International’s latest report. Based on in-depth interviews with 50 chief sustainability officers and managers across 10 countries, the report examines the operational dynamics of group sustainability units within corporate structures.

Julia Bilyanska, Partner in Charge of Climate Change and Sustainability at KPMG Australia, emphasized, “Sustainability is now firmly on the agenda at the Board level. Just under half of the corporates in this research discuss sustainability through either a dedicated board-level sustainability committee or another specific committee, such as audit.

The study indicates that while sustainability has become a board-level responsibility, many organizations are still maturing in response to new ESG reporting requirements like the European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD).

The report delves into staffing levels, key topics, and responsibilities of group sustainability units, illustrating how they collaborate with boards. By integrating sustainability work into relevant functions and business units, organizations can decentralize ESG responsibility, enabling the central sustainability unit to drive long-term strategic goals.

Sustainability-focused organizations are evolving in maturity, responding to new reporting standards and integrating sustainability into core business functions,” the report notes. This strategic approach ensures that board-level accountability remains crucial in setting and implementing meaningful sustainability performance.

Related Article: Less than 30% of companies feel ready to have ESG data – KPMG Global

For detailed findings and strategies on corporate ESG integration, download the full KPMG report.

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