Leadership in ESG integration: a study into board oversight, implementation and disclosure

How are boards and senior management tackling the myriad of elements involved in ESG? Mazars, in partnership with Board Agenda and Henley Business School, surveyed UK business leaders about how they are approaching the challenges of new ESG regulations, responsibilities and risks. Is ESG a board priority? How is that translating into action? What are the pressure points and challenges? Explore all the findings in this revealing report.

The results are clear - boards are determined to prioritise the ESG agenda, and not least because they understand the materiality of many key ESG issues. Many have made significant progress - developing and publishing ESG policies, setting an ESG strategy, and operationalising their thinking across the organisation.

Read the full commentary in our report

It seems it is no longer a question of whether boards should be focussing on ESG at this point - but rather more how boards can address their ESG priorities effectively whilst aligning effort across the whole organisation.

The findings also highlight the current challenges around ESG - with business leaders revealing issues with operationalisation, data collection, reporting and stakeholder engagement.

Key findings at a glance

Respondents to the survey included board members, c-suite and senior executives from over 100 UK companies.

  • 78% of boards have published an ESG or sustainability policy, or something similar.
  • 88% of boards are engaging on ESG issues because they recognise their materiality to the business.
  • 52% of boards have come under pressure on ESG issues from customers; 46% have faced pressure from employees.
  • 77% of boards say they review risk management processes to ensure material ESG factors are accounted for.
  • 44% of boards have put in place executive compensation schemes that include ESG criteria.
  • 57% of boards have a formal structure for ESG governance.
  • 73% of boards have engaged with employees on ESG issues; 59% and 55% respectively have engaged with customers and shareholders.
  • 65% of boards feel they have sufficient skills and understanding in relation to ESG.
  • 56% of boards agree they have gaps in their ESG disclosures.
  • 39% of boards think they get adequate ESG data and information from management teams.

Our recent study into ESG practices within UK companies gives us a real insight into the maturity of thinking and action around ESG. It is clear that the ESG narrative has changed. Once a conversation about what and where to start, today’s ESG agenda is all about how to make a success of key initiatives and overcome the challenges around operationalising strategy, engaging stakeholders and enabling more effective reporting and transparency. Business resilience and success will rely on organisations’ - and their leaders’ - ability to respond to this new layer of business complexity.

Chris Fuggle, Global Head of Sustainability

Watch the expert panel discussion: Closing the gap - helping UK boards to embed ESG in strategy

In this insightful webinar a panel of ESG experts reflect on the above research and offer practical advice around embedding ESG.

Speaker panel:

Camilla Hughes – Plc Non-executive Director

Chris Fuggle – Global Head of Sustainability, Mazars

Dr Filipe Morais – Henley Business School

Hosted by David Prosser of Board Agenda

Watch on demand now and hear the discussions around ESG maturity, and the practical ways in which directors and boards can embed ESG in the strategy and operations of their organisations.

Watch the webinar


Leadership in ESG integration - Report of findings