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Study: Failing to Meet ESG Goals Exposes Companies to Increased Operational and Financial Risks

Despite challenges in collecting and analyzing ESG data, companies across North America and the United Kingdom see significant benefits from ESG implementation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. & LONDON–(BUSINESS WIRE)– Dun & Bradstreet Holdings, Inc. (“Dun & Bradstreet”) (NYSE:DNB), a leading global provider of business decisioning data and analytics announced today a commissioned study conducted by Forrester Consulting on behalf of Dun & Bradstreet, which found that a business’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance, including its extended network of suppliers, partners, and distributors, increasingly affects not just its reputation, but also its operations and market position.

Results of the study, gathered from insights by over 260 decision-makers in compliance, sustainability, procurement, finance, and risk across the United States, Canada, and United Kingdom, focused on the state of ESG data usage by enterprises and found:

  • Improved ESG performance drives profit. Four out of five respondents stated that their company’s current ESG strategy has created a significant or transformational increase in revenue.
  • ESG insights uncover growth. 79% of respondents agreed that ESG-related insights allow them to identify new growth opportunities earlier.
  • Insufficient ESG data is the biggest challenge. 47% of respondents cited that they do not have enough data, with a further 46% unable to validate and therefore trust data. As a result, many companies are struggling to make use of ESG data within their organization, resulting in serious operational and financial consequences – from regulatory non-compliance to fines and a weakened global supply chain.

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“We believe this study is further proof that the benefits of investing in ESG go well beyond regulatory compliance and managing a company’s reputation,” said Brian Alster, General Manager, Finance & Risk at Dun & Bradstreet.

“ESG is one of the growing forces driving profits through innovation, improved risk management, and stronger customer relationships.

Therefore, it’s no longer a question for companies on ‘if’ they should invest in ESG, but instead, ‘how quickly’ they can mature their business strategies to become a more responsible and sustainable operation.”

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ESG Maturity is Worth Prioritizing

According to the survey results, 81% of respondents cited that their companies have experienced negative consequences from failing to meet their ESG goals. The most common consequences of failing to meet ESG goals are increased operational risk (43%) followed by increased financial risk (38%).

While it seems daunting to evolve an organization’s ESG strategy, the study demonstrates that by investing in their ESG data analytics strategy, high maturity companies, or those organizations with a fully mature, future-generation-safe state, achieve numerous benefits that reverberate across the organization.

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In fact, 97% of respondents from companies with a high ESG maturity level report a significant or transformational reduction in costs. In addition, 77% of high maturity companies are more likely to report significant or transformational increases in customer acquisition due to their ESG strategies.

Given the current geopolitical environment, coupled with rapid climate change and a fluctuating economy, companies must look beyond regulatory obligations in order to see how an investment in modern technology and trusted ESG data today can yield higher returns tomorrow.

For example, a strong ESG data strategy with real-time analytic insights can drive any number of positive outcomes, from strengthening a company’s supply chain resilience during disruptive events, to help create a competitive advantage as a sustainable business when engaging with new customers, partners, and suppliers.

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