Many Companies Fail to Meet Their Stated ESG Goals, Survey Finds

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While many companies have so-called ESG programs in place, some of them are failing to perform in line with their stated metrics, according to an industry poll.

The conclusions are based on a survey conducted in December by OnePoll on behalf of Navex Global Inc. It included responses from 1,250 management and senior level executives in the U.S., the U.K., France and Germany, all of whom work at companies with at least 500 employees.

About half of the respondents said their company performs “very effectively” relative to environmental metrics, but less than 40% said the same about their company’s achievements on social and governance factors.

Respondents ranked the environment as the most important ESG element impacting their company’s brand reputation. However, there were differences by country. Companies in the U.S. were least likely to rank environment as the top ESG factor, with 43% of respondents citing it, compared with 57% in Germany, 55% in the U.K. and 54% in France. Governance ranked last in importance in all four countries.

European companies are ahead of their U.S. counterparts, with 86% of respondents from France and Germany saying their companies have formal ESG reporting processes in place. In the U.S., the figure was 74%.

The survey also found that 63% of companies plan to spend more on ESG factors in 2021, compared with 6% that plan to cut their allocations.

©2021 Bloomberg L.P.

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