Finding Common Ground on Metrics that Matter

Investors and companies are both increasingly interested in sustainability issues. These issues typically revolve around environmental and social factors that have real but potentially long-term or contingent impacts on corporate financial value. This, in turn, makes traditional accounting metrics less valuable in assessing sustainability issues than in analysis of many other business issues. Therefore, both investors and companies — as well as groups that service or monitor and regulate them — have a growing interest in receiving meaningful corporate environmental, social, and governance (ESG) information on an ongoing basis. Despite this shared interest, investors often complain about the difficulty of gathering and truly understanding corporate ESG data, while company representatives may express concerns about “survey fatigue,” or the amount of time and resources it takes to supply the requested data to various investors and ESG research firms.

This report explores and documents the extent to which corporate ESG information tracked and managed internally by companies is consistent with analogous information sought by external parties, and in particular, by ESG investors and the research companies that serve them.