Strategic Focus: Organizations And The Rise Of ESG

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Executive Summary

A growing number of firms are taking steps to improve their ESG and sustainability performance, setting ambitious goals and ensuring alignment with standards and frameworks. However, recent greenwashing accusations illustrate the gap between ESG commitments and action, and showcase firms’ limited integration of ESG principles into business operations. In this light, this report offers an overview of firms’ diverse ESG strategies and the organizational challenges holding back ESG and sustainability progress. Our study provides seven recommendations to help firms embed ESG into their businesses, to drive long-term value generation.

Table of contents

ESG Rises In Importance, But There Is Still Space For Further Integration
Firms' Approaches To ESG Range From Compliance To Leadership
ESG Integration Faces Data, Skills And Organizational Challenges
Seven Steps To Integrate ESG And Ensure Sustainable Business Value Creation

Table of figures

Figure 1. Drivers Behind Increased Commitment To ESG And Sustainability
Figure 2. ESG Maturity Framework  
Figure 3. Executive Moves Into ESG And Sustainability-Related Positions
Figure 4. Decision-Makers Responsible For Funding ESG Strategies
Figure 5. Seven Actions To Strengthen ESG Integration

About the authors

Elisa Molero


Elisa Molero is a research analyst specialised in ESG & Sustainability. Her background is in Economics (BSc University of Navarra). She holds a minor in leadership and governance. Prior to joining Verdantix she completed a Master’s degree in Global Politics with Distinction at the London School of Economics and Political Science. 

Kim Knickle

Research Director, ESG & Sustainability

Kim leads the Verdantix ESG & Sustainability practice, addressing business challenges and priorities in ESG and sustainability through technology and services. Her current research agenda focuses on ESG regulatory and market drivers, sustainability reporting, risk management, supply chain sustainability, circular economy, social impact.  Knickle 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.  Knickle holds a MBA from Boston University and a BS in electrical engineering from Cornell.

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