What are ESG Reports and Presentations?
ESG Reports consist of a broad set of Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance considerations. These reports are voluntarily disclosed/released by a company to highlight their performance on a range of different issues, or adherence to specific sustainability reporting guidelines and benchmarks, such as the Global Reporting Index (GRI) Standards or the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). ESG reporting can help an organization understand and better manage its outward impact on the economy, environment, and society. Reporting increases accountability and transparency on a company's contributions to sustainable development and can help a company identify and reduce risks, seize new opportunities, and take actionable steps toward sustainability.
ESG Presentations are slide decks, infographics, or general handouts published by Public Companies’ Investor Relations teams on ESG strategies and initiatives. Some companies even have “ESG Days” like “Investor Days” solely to talk about their ESG initiatives and strategies.
What do ESG Reports and Presentations contain?
ESG reports and presentations are voluntary, so information and metrics within may vary. Companies may choose to prepare a full or partial sustainability report in accordance with established disclosure frameworks (such as GRI, SASB, or UNGC) or simply present chosen information based on their own frameworks. These reports are typically published annually.
These reports typically touch on the following topics:
Environmental: This report contains information on environmental risk & opportunities, Carbon Emissions, Natural resources, Waste & toxicity, Pollution, Unsustainable practices, Resource Depletion, Energy resources, Climate change risk & opportunities, Supply chain, Product Sustainability
Social: This report contains information on human rights, Labor, health, and safety, Community relations, Product safety, quality, and brand, Data security, Social cohesion & stability, Employment levels, Diversity, Child or slave labor, Infrastructure
Governance: This report contains information on Board structure, Compensation/ Remuneration, Stakeholder rights & takeover defenses, Audit & risk oversight, Tax, Institutional strength, Rule of law, Chairman/CEO roles, Bribery & corruption, Accounting practices, Transparency, ESG Accountability, Business ethics
Types of ESG Reports
Sustainability / CSR Reports: A company's annual sustainability report - also known as an “Integrated Annual Report” - is often combined with the annual financial report. These reports may contain disclosures and initiatives related to performance and economic impact; impact on the local community and environment; awards and recognitions; climate change strategy; sustainable development goals; sustainability partnerships; sustainability scorecard; climate reports; green bonds; EHS; GRI Index; etc. A company might bundle its EHS, Social, and GRI reports into its Annual Sustainability Report, or release them individually.
Environmental, Health and Safety (EHS) Reports: Topic-specific reports or web pages focused on workforce EHS, including standards for and recaps of operating procedures, workplace safety, number of workplace incidents, employee training, materials safety, emergency response, etc.
Social Reports: Topic-specific reports or web pages focused on social contribution initiatives, such as volunteer work, donations, and community-development projects.
GRI Reports: A report detailing a company's adherence to Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards, which is a sustainability framework many companies use to report their ESG disclosures.
CDP Reports: Reports put out by the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), which scores companies based on their environmental impacts and produces a framework for environmental disclosures.
Why are ESG Reports and Presentations beneficial?
ESG reporting encourages companies to make more environmentally- and socially- conscious decisions, and track their progress over time. This is beneficial if you want to ensure that you are investing in a company that aligns with your environmental, social, and governance standards.
ESG presentations aren’t required documents but are beneficial to have because more and more investors are looking at ESG performance/goals as part of their evaluations of companies so many in the last couple of years have started reporting out on ESG through usually PPT presentations.