Global Corporate Survey 2023: ESG & Sustainability Budgets, Priorities And Tech Preferences

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Executive Summary

This report, based on a global survey of 400 respondents, is designed to assist senior executives in benchmarking their firms’ budgets, investment priorities and technology preferences relative to their global peer group. The data collected through the Verdantix survey also support strategic decision-making and business planning by executives at ESG and sustainability consulting and technology providers. The data were gathered between April and June 2023 via telephone interviews with executives from 35 countries and 30 industries. Increased maturity in corporates' commitment to ESG and sustainability is revealed by respondent data, with expanding budgets for ESG and sustainability services and software in 2024.

Table of contents

Global survey reveals priorities and tech preferences of ESG and sustainability executives
Global survey features 400 executives across geographies and industries
ESG and sustainability commitments are a clear and strategic priority
Firms’ ESG and sustainability strategies are maturing
A variety of drivers are influencing corporate ESG commitment
Several challenges impede ESG and sustainability performance improvement
Chief Sustainability Officers are the principal ESG and sustainability decision-makers, but other functions play a critical role
The C-Suite defines and funds ESG and sustainability strategy
Beyond ESG teams, other functions emerge to define, influence, implement and provide data for sustainability strategy
Despite a difficult macroeconomic climate, ESG and sustainability budgets are increasing, driven primarily by ESG regulations
Mandatory and voluntary ESG reporting and frameworks are influencing sustainability spending
ESG and sustainability consulting budgets are set to increase
Investments in ESG and sustainability software will rise as regulations roll in, but many firms still rely on manual processes

Table of figures

Figure 1. Survey respondent firm size breakdown
Figure 2. Survey respondent geographical breakdown
Figure 3. Survey respondent industry breakdown
Figure 4. ESG and sustainability: level of commitment
Figure 5. Approaches to materiality
Figure 6. Approaches to increasing ESG and sustainability commitment
Figure 7. Drivers behind increased commitment to ESG and sustainability
Figure 8. Top challenges faced by firms
Figure 9. Decision-makers responsible for defining ESG strategies
Figure 10. Decision-makers responsible for funding ESG strategies
Figure 11. Business functions responsible for implementing ESG strategies
Figure 12. Required data for sustainability performance improvement
Figure 13. Funding priorities for processes
Figure 14. Significant rules and frameworks
Figure 15. Spend on consulting services for 2024 compared with 2023
Figure 16. Priorities when selecting a consulting provider for ESG and sustainability initiatives
Figure 17. Approaches to managing ESG and sustainability use cases
Figure 18. Technology to support sustainability strategy
Figure 19. Projected spend change on software categories in 2024
Figure 20. Priorities when selecting a software provider for ESG and sustainability initiatives

About the authors

Jessie Wilson

Jessie is an Analyst in the Verdantix ESG & Sustainability practice. Her current research agenda spans areas such as ESG reporting, the circular economy and supply chain sustainability. Prior to joining Verdantix, Jessie graduated from the University of Bristol with First Class Honours in BSc Geography and French. Her dissertation was on achieving a circular economy for plastics with reusable packaging.

Alessandra Leggieri

Industry Analyst
Alessandra Leggieri is an Industry Analyst in the Verdantix Net Zero & Climate Risk practice. Her current research agenda focuses on solutions for GHG emissions and net zero management, covering technologies and services. Prior to joining Verdantix, Alessandra completed an MSc in Environmental Technology at Imperial College London.

Kim Knickle

Research Director, ESG & Sustainability
Kimberly Knickle is Research Director of the ESG & Sustainability practice at Verdantix. Her research areas encompass ESG regulations and reporting, ESG risk, supply chain sustainability, circular economy, social impact, and sustainable finance. Kim has worked for more than 20 years in the IT industry, providing research and analysis to help companies invest wisely in new technologies. Before joining the analyst industry, she held various roles in IT services, engineering and product safety testing, beginning her career at Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. Kim holds an MBA from Boston University and a BS in Electrical Engineering from Cornell.

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