New Thompson Hine Survey-Based Report Reveals Trends in Corporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Initiatives Business WireNew Thompson Hine Survey-Based Report Reveals Trends in Corporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Initiatives Business WireNew Thompson Hine Survey-Based Report Reveals Trends in Corporate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Initiatives Business Wire
Impact Investing Forum 2024
London. April 24-25, 2023.
CLEVELAND—-(BUSINESS WIRE).–With corporations under increasing pressure for ESG initiatives, corporate counsel and senior executives will have a benchmark against which to evaluate their programs and progress in “An ESG Snapchat,” a report authored and authored by Thompson Hine’s ESG Collaboration attorneys. This report summarizes the findings of a recent firm survey that explored the ESG standards investors and other key stakeholders are increasingly using in their evaluation of material risks and growth opportunities. “The pressure to implement ESG initiatives comes not only from shareholders and investors, but also from all stakeholders, such as consumers and the wider public,” Heidi Friedman, a Thompson Hine partner and co-chair of its ESG Collaborative. “And regulatory agencies are increasing their focus on ESG issues with the SEC’s proposed ESG rulesmaking expected in October. Now is the right time for companies to begin focusing on these issues. Here are just a few examples of corporate ESG trends that the report examines: ESG progress has been made, but newcomers are still coming in. Nearly a third of respondents, both private and public, have an ESG strategy in place. Another third expects to implement one within the next one to 2 years. Twenty percent of respondents and a third of public businesses viewed ESG as a crucial business strategy. A quarter of respondents started their ESG-related protocols and programs five years ago or earlier. Many others are close behind. 26% of private companies and 2% public companies said they have not yet adopted an ESG strategy or have plans to do so. Companies expect Data Collection/Verification to be their most significant challenge in both the short and long terms. Public and private companies alike reported that Data Collection/Verification is their most pressing ESG concern over the next year, with Regulatory Activity and Staffing rounding out the top three short-term concerns for public companies vs. Green Initiatives and Staffing for private companies. When asked the same question but looking ahead five to 10 years, respondents indicated that Data Collection/Verification will continue to be their top concern (29%) but will become less of a challenge. Green Initiatives (26%), and Reporting/Disclosure requirements (24%), were the top three long-term concerns of respondents. ESG strategies are more likely to be implemented by companies with higher revenues, but this is not a guarantee. Companies with higher revenue have higher levels of ESG leadership and reported implementation numbers. All respondents companies report annual revenue between $500 million to $1 billion and are currently using ESG protocols or plan to do so in the near future. More than 25% of companies with revenues between $50,000 and $500,000,000 and 6% with more than $1 billion in annual revenue reported that they do not have an ESG strategy in place or are planning to implement one. The top three disclosure categories are Diversity, Equity & Inclusive. When it comes to the types of ESG disclosures companies are currently providing or plan to provide, information regarding Diversity, Equity & Inclusion efforts was by far the top selection of all respondents, followed by information on Board Oversight of Environmental & Sustainability Issues and Ethical Business Practices for public companies and information on Ethical Business Practices and Community Involvement/Charitable Donations for private companies. Demographic data was the most prominent category of ESG disclosures currently or planned among all respondents. Public companies were more focused on Board Diversity Data, while private companies were more focused on Workforce Diversity Data. Jurgita Ashley, partner and co-chair of the ESG Collaborative, stated that companies have been struggling to implement effective ESG protocols without a consistent reporting framework. “The consequences of doing it wrong have already been devastating, ranging from lower performance and investment to difficulties in director elections to reputational harm. We hope this survey will give in-house counsel and senior executives useful information as well as, when it comes down to specific best practices, some of their corporate peers’ comments, a little bit of ‘ESG Inspiration’. Thompson Hine is committed in staying abreast of important business trends and continually innovating to meet clients’ evolving needs. This is the most recent survey by the firm. It completed its second survey last year focusing on innovation in legal service delivery, “The Innovation Gap persists.” There have also been several employer surveys that focus on employees returning to work and vaccine mandates. Thompson Hine’s ESG Collaborative consists of multidisciplinary lawyers with practical business and legal knowledge that helps clients create, implement, and fine-tune ESG strategy. SmartPaTH(TM), significant investments in technology, and strategies such as legal projects management, flexible staffing, and value-based pricing are used by the group to help clients achieve their goals while providing greater value and predictability. About Thompson Hine LLP. Thompson Hine LLP is a full-service law firm that provides business services. It has approximately 400 lawyers and 8 offices. The Financial Times ranked it number 1 in the category “Most innovative North American law firms: New working model” and was one of 7 shortlisted for The American Lawyer’s inaugural Legal Services Innovation Award. Thompson Hine has excelled in all areas Service Delivery Innovation in BTI Brand Elite. It has been recognized among the top 4 firms for “Value For the Dollar” as well as “Commitment to help” and among the top 5 for “making changes to improve client experience.” Thompson Hine SmartPaTHTM – A smarter way of working – predictable, efficient, and aligned to client goals – is the firm’s commitment innovation. For more information, please visit ThompsonHine.com and ThompsonHine.com/SmartPaTH.
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