Highlights from the Change in Climate Survey and Webinar
On March 7, Workiva and PwC published their Change in the Climate survey, which polled 300 executives at U.S.-based public companies on a range of challenges and opportunities related to ESG reporting and strategy, specifically focusing on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) climate disclosure ruling.
Then, on March 14, PwC and Workiva specialists hosted a webinar to discuss insights from the survey revealing how companies plan to push ahead with SEC climate disclosure compliance—and how some companies aren’t fully prepared to face the future challenges of the ruling.
Here are some highlights from the survey, the webinar, and links to articles featuring survey insights:
Change in Climate Survey Highlights
Ninety-five percent of business leaders say their company is prioritizing ESG reporting more now than before the rule was proposed, yet four in ten admit their company isn’t fully prepared to meet the expected disclosure requirements. The top three challenges highlighted in the survey are:
Technology: 85% of executives are concerned their company “does not have the right technology in place,” despite 97% anticipating technology will play an important role in meeting potential new requirements.
Resourcing: 36% of leaders are not confident their company is staffed appropriately.
Budget: 61% of business executives believe the rule will cost their company more than $750,000 in the first year of compliance.
View the full survey results here.
Preparing for the SEC’s Climate Disclosure Ruling: What Business Leaders are Saying Webinar Highlights
Building off the survey findings, Workiva and PwC specialists discussed the key challenges regarding compliance with the proposed SEC rule, overall readiness, the future of ESG technology, collaboration, innovating at the right pace, and the importance of stakeholder views/preferences.
On the complex future of ESG technology, Phil Harrison, Director and Workiva Practice Leader at PwC, said, “Executives are finding it difficult to identify what their target ESG technology architecture is going to look like and the step maturity phases that it's going to take to get there—and many have discovered it's just really complicated. You have to consider the interaction between different layers of data that maybe you haven't had to in the past.”
When it comes to collaboration and compliance with the future ruling, Alina Mackenthun, Trust Solutions ESG Senior Manager at PwC, said, “Companies are asking 'How do we coordinate roadmaps and changes that we expect to people, processes, and technology?' There are just so many functions involved. It's all very complex. We're encouraging companies to avoid siloed efforts, so that people can understand all the compliance requirements and design a future state that works across multiple stakeholders.”
Noting the number of companies that are moving forward with ESG reporting, regardless of the SEC’s rule, Steve Soter, Vice President & Industry Principal at Workiva, said, “There definitely aren't rewards, and it can be enormously risky if you find yourself falling behind the pack when it comes to regulated reporting. A significant number of these companies see benefits in moving forward.”
Mark Mellen, Industry Principal–ESG at Workiva, spoke about the importance of stakeholder views and preferences. He said, “I think a big part of the process for organizations in the absence of regulation telling us what to do is to make sure you're engaged with your stakeholders that are asking for ESG information, whether that's your investors, customers, or others, and understand how they would like to see that information.”
Watch the on-demand webinar here.
- AP News: SEC’s climate reporting draft rule draws huge public comment
- WSJ: U.S. Corporate Boards Boosted Sustainability Experience in 2022
- Fortune: Big deal
- Politico: Execs foresee climate rule speed bumps
- ESG today: 98% of Companies May not Wait for SEC Climate Disclosure Rules to Become Law to Begin Reporting: Survey