Sustainability Strategy Survey Finds 92% of Organizations Increasing Investments to Improve ESG Performance in 2022
New research and ESG Maturity Model from Verdantix and Cority confirms Sustainability is now a core element of corporate strategy and integral to overall performance
(GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Cority, the leading global enterprise Environmental, Health, and Safety (EHS) software provider, today released new research exploring the state of corporate environmental, social, governance (ESG) and sustainability strategies. The global study, conducted by independent research firm, Verdantix, revealed that 92% of companies are adapting their business strategy and model to be more sustainable and plan to increase investment in sustainability initiatives to improve ESG performance in 2022.
The report, The Way Forward for ESG: Firms are Adapting Business Strategy and Boosting Technology Investment, based on a survey of executives from companies across Europe and North America, also introduces a new ESG Maturity Model that separates organizations into five levels of ESG program maturity, based on four competencies – business focus, culture, data, and technology – and how they are used to improve ESG performance and leveraged as a competitive differentiator.
“This research confirms what we’ve been hearing from our clients,” said Amanda Smith, VP of Solutions Marketing and Enablement at Cority. “ESG and sustainability performance are now a top priority, employees at all levels are becoming more actively engaged in sustainability culture, and organizations are increasingly integrating ESG and sustainability into strategic decision making to remain competitive and resilient.”
Key findings of the report show:
- Sustainability is becoming democratized across organizations.
Employees at all levels of the organization are growing in their understanding of sustainability and actively engaged with sustainability initiatives and corporate sustainability culture. Thirty-eight percent of survey respondents indicated employees throughout their organization understand the firm’s sustainability agenda and performance, while only 6% of respondents disclosed there is minimal understanding of the firm’s sustainability agenda.
- Mature ESG and sustainability strategies focus on sustainable innovation as a core tenet of company strategy.
The most mature corporate sustainability strategies, or those that view sustainability as a critical market differentiator, are focusing on sustainable development across the value chain. Seventy-two percent of all survey respondents shared this approach and perspective. The least mature strategies are focused primarily on maintaining core business models and mitigating risk.
- Firms are leveraging comprehensive data streams to inform ESG strategies.
The demands of managing and reporting ESG performance – encompassing wide-ranging topics including environmental performance, occupational wellbeing, as well as governance metrics such as gender diversity – demands comprehensive data architectures to track and record relevant information. Survey findings revealed that EHS departments provide the most extensive data to support ESG with almost all respondents indicating either extensive or targeted data collection coming from EHS. Finance, Production & Operations, and Product Design & Innovation were also significant providers of ESG and sustainability data.
- EHS emerges as the most critical business unit for ESG performance.
Reflecting the EHS function’s responsibility for managing and improving environmental impact, resource use, and employee wellbeing initiatives, survey data reveals that EHS is the most critical business unit for improving ESG performance, with 84% of respondents highlighting that EHS was a driver for improved ESG and sustainability performance.
- EHS software solutions play a key role in ESG information management strategies.
With EHS identified by respondents as integral to ESG performance, organizations are anticipating increased spend on EHS software solutions to improve ESG performance and meet the demands of a rapidly evolving disclosure ecosystem. The most significant use cases for EHS software include sustainability reporting, environmental compliance, and occupational health and safety management.
- Firms plan technology investment to improve ESG performance.
Survey data shows that firms are aiming to actualize ESG performance improvement through technology investment. When asked which technologies are the top priority for firms, 94% stated health and safety management systems, 88% said environmental management information systems, and 84% said ESG platforms.
“Delaying engagement with ESG and sustainability is no longer a tenable strategy,” said Kim Knickle, Research Director, ESG & Sustainability at Verdantix. “The market and stakeholder pressure is too strong to ignore, and the benefits of active sustainable business strategies are increasingly apparent. The data reveals that forward-thinking firms are aiming to improve ESG performance by investing in EHS and ESG platforms in 2022 and beyond.”
To download The Way Forward for ESG: Firms are Adapting Business Strategy and Boosting Technology Investment and see where you fall on the ESG Maturity Model, visit https://go.cority.com/esg-the-way-forward/