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ISO And SEC Reinforce Push For Climate Change As Major Driver In Corporate ESG & Sustainability

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ISO And SEC Reinforce Push For Climate Change As Major Driver In Corporate ESG & Sustainability

Over the last few weeks, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) members – representing 165 countries from around the world – announced the commitment to review all ISO standards to ensure they align with the Paris agreement on climate change. Separately, the ISO is also actively working to define a standard for ‘net zero’ and has launched a ‘Climate Action Kit’ to provide practical guidance to corporates tackling the climate agenda. The ISO announcement is only the latest in a slew of recent climate-related developments, such as the US SEC issuing a sample corporate letter on climate risk disclosures as it advances climate-related regulatory enforcement, the City of Boston mandating all buildings with over 20K square feet must achieve net zero by 2050, and the US White House government-wide plan for climate-related financial risk management.

In fact, data from the Verdantix Global Corporate ESG Survey of 400 senior executives has found that climate change policy developments is most frequently cited as the top driver of corporate ESG & sustainability engagement across the globe. This is followed by diverse ESG ratings being used by investors for corporate due diligence, pandemic implications on employee health and social risks, as well as customer and supply chain pressure to improve sustainability credentials. Further analysis reveals that climate risk analytics, GHG emissions software, and decarbonization technologies are the top priorities for spend among technology buyers. New and emerging value propositions for real-time access to climate-related data include ClearTrace for energy source traceability, Jupiter Intelligence for climate risk and resilience analytics, and RS Metrics for satellite-based geospatial analytics.

This aligns with the digital technology strategies of industry leaders who are overhauling their ESG information architecture to cope with the fast-changing ESG disclosure landscape. With new requirements such as mandatory TCFD disclosures among G20 countries and the upcoming EU Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive which mandates ‘double materiality’ reporting, corporates are now faced with a deluge of pressure for climate change disclosures that range from regulatory compliance and financial risk prudence to operational resiliency and opportunistic ‘energy transition’ revenue growth. How should enterprise IT and software vendors adapt to support corporates on this megatrend? Access our recently published research on Digital Tech Investment Plans By Industry and Winning ESG Product Strategies to learn more and hear from my colleague Connor Taylor on his market insights in the upcoming ‘ESG And Sustainability In 2021: Corporate Governance, Strategies, And Priorities’ webinar.

Yaowen Ma

Principal Analyst

Yaowen is a Principal Analyst at Verdantix conducting research on EHS and ESG information management. His current agenda focuses on digital technologies, best practices and growth strategies across EHS, product stewardship, sustainability performance and ESG risk management. Yaowen has more than seven years of experience managing and delivering EHS and ESG research and consulting engagements to corporates, vendors, investors and industry associations. He holds a dual major bachelor’s degree in environmental management and international relations from the University of Pennsylvania.