By Ira Srivastava

1. 4 in 5 CEOs feel stakeholder pressure on human capital management. According to a report from Deloitte, 80% of CEOs are reporting that employees, customers, investors, shareholders, and board members are pushing them to improve human sustainability practices. Employee well-being is an important topic that should be top of mind for executives and board members around the world, although this report also finds that perceptions differ between executives and employees. Over 80% of CEOs feel their company is excelling at human sustainability, but just over half of workers feel the same. Additionally, only 1 in 3 employees felt that their well-being had improved in the last year while 70% of executives believed their employees’ well-being was better today than a year ago. Closing this gap is crucial for C-suite executives, and it is clear that more work needs to be done to do so. 

2. European CSRD rules are speeding up sustainability integration. According to a survey conducted by PwC, the Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive that came into force in the European Union is driving sustainability considerations. 75% of companies surveyed shared that “they are increasing the integration of sustainability into their decision-making processes”. Expected benefits of this integration include smaller environmental impacts, better stakeholder engagement, more effective risk mitigation, and better financial performance. Poor data quality was seen as the largest barrier to CSRD compliance. Despite this, 97% of the surveyed companies that would have to begin reporting in 2025 felt prepared to meet the CSRD requirements. 

3. Canada’s new anti-greenwashing law. Canada’s parliament approved Bill C-59 last week which will soon force companies to show proof of sustainability claims. This landmark legislation is intended to drastically reduce greenwashing claims and ensure companies are not misleading stakeholders and investors. Shortly after the bill was approved, Canadian oil sands coalition Pathways Project scrubbed their website of all environmental initiatives to avoid “frivolous litigation from private entities”. Any claim that is not based on adequate and proper substantiation in accordance with internationally recognized methodology could result in penalties under the pending law. Offenders may face a maximum penalty of $10M for the first offence, and up to 15M for subsequent offences, or “triple the value of the benefit derived from the anti-competitive practice.”

4. China releases ISSB-aligned reporting standards. China is one of many jurisdictions around the world to announce an ESG reporting framework in line with those of the International Sustainability Standards Board’s. Basic standards will be introduced in 2027, with a fully ISSB-aligned version to be released in 2030. The draft standards state that companies in China must “disclose significant sustainability-related risks, opportunities, and impacts associated with their operations and value chains”. The topics companies must disclose on include pollution, biodiversity impacts, circularity, water conservation, employee protections, and business conduct. Only topics material to a certain company’s operations need to be disclosed. 

5. Bloomberg’s European ESG Data Trends. Here are some key takeaways from a Bloomberg survey of ESG professionals around the European Union.

  • 35% of respondents shared that meeting regulatory requirements was their highest ESG data priority
  • A lack of data and quality issues were the main challenges faced by 63% of respondents
  • The greatest challenge in ESG data management was new and evolving content, with 41% of respondents sharing that integrating new ESG data is time consuming and difficult
  • The majority of respondents manage ESG data internally and centrally as opposed to a single business unit or a third-party

Ira Srivastava is Competent Boards’ Program Coordinator. Follow Competent Boards on LinkedIn.

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