A fresh take on risk and valuation

Start receiving our RegBrief straight to your inbox!



Navigating the Green Wave: ESG Reporting Unveiled

Written by Meghna Jain (Consultant), edited by Hugo Weitz (Principal Consultant)

In recent years, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting has emerged as a critical aspect of corporate transparency and sustainability. Financial institutions globally are navigating increasingly complex regulations and frameworks with diverse data requirements. ESG reporting goes beyond financial metrics, providing insights into a company's impact on the environment, society, and governance practices. The following article provides a guide to assist financial institutions in thorough ESG reporting.


ESG reporting entails the comprehensive disclosure of a financial institution's performance across environmental, social, and governance factors. These factors collectively provide a holistic view of an institution’s exposre to the climate risk, sustainability efforts, ethical standards, and governance mechanisms. Environmental considerations encompass metrics such as carbon emissions, energy consumption, and waste management. Social factors may include diversity and inclusion, labour practices, and community engagement, while governance factors revolve around board diversity, executive compensation, accountability and governance structures.

The growing significance of ESG reports stems from investors and regulators on institutions to adopt ESG reporting practices and disclose further insights into their sustainability activities. The primary objective of ESG reporting lies in identifying and assessing ESG risks, benchmarking it’s ESG initiatives against industry standards and targets, and providing transparency to stakeholders.

ESG Regulatory Landscape

The realm of ESG reporting is governed by a plethora of regulations and frameworks, each contributing to the landscape of sustainability disclosure. ESG reporting frameworks offer guidance on the focal areas institutions should prioritize, as well as methodologies to structure and present information for disclosure. Amidst the options available for seeking to disclose ESG information, accuracy, automation and auditability lay at the core of sound ESG reporting practices. Notable frameworks and requirements include:



Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

The GRI is a globally applicable guidance framework that provides standards detailing approaches to materiality, management reporting, and disclosure across the spectrum of ESG issues. Today, GRI standards serve as a roadmap for companies endeavouring to craft their own sustainability reports.

Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

The TCFD was designed to address climate risks to the business. It allows institutions worldwide to articulate how ESG performance will materially influence future financial performance and value creation.

Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)

The CSRD lays down rules mandating institutions to report sustainability aspects encompassing various topics related to environmental and social issues. Institutions subject to the CSRD must adhere to European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS).

EU Taxonomy

The EU Taxonomy establishes criteria to ascertain whether an economic activity is environmentally sustainable. It compels certain entities to disclose information pertaining to the alignment of their activities with the Taxonomy.

EBA ESG Pillar 3

The  European Banking Authority (EBA) published the Implementing Technical Standards detailing these EU ESG Pillar 3 disclosures. The EBA ESG Pillar 3 package is slated to address the shortcomings of institutions’ existing ESG disclosures at the EU level by instituting mandatory and consistent disclosure requirements, inclusive of granular templates, and associated instructions. This ITS package will only enter into force after publication in the Official Journal of the EU.

Key Challenges Faced by Financial Institutions for ESG Reporting

Financial institutions encounter multifaceted challenges in navigating the complexities of ESG reporting. The key challenges are stated below:

  • Data Complexity: Financial institutions grapple with vast volumes of complex financial and non-financial data, making the collection, analysis, and accurate reporting of ESG metrics a difficult task. Challenges arise from inconsistencies in data sources, data gaps, and varying data quality standards. Developing methodologies to address these gaps and integrating ESG data with financial systems necessitates specialized expertise and robust technology infrastructure.
  • Regulatory Compliance: Operating in quickly evolving and highly regulated environment, financial institutions face various growing reporting requirements and regulatory scrutiny. Meeting different ESG reporting obligations, such as Pillar 3 disclosures and CSRD requirements, adds layers of complexity and compliance burden. Harmonizing reporting practices amidst diverse guidelines and expectations poses significant challenges.
  • Data Fragmentation: ESG reporting standards and frameworks lack global standardization, resulting in inconsistencies in data collection, measurement, and reporting practices. Decentralized data systems and siloed business units within financial institutions contribute to fragmented ESG data management practices. Coordinating data collection efforts across diverse business lines and geographies poses challenges, leading to inconsistencies and inefficiencies.
  • Resource Constraints: Many financial institutions, especially mid-sized banks and insurers face limitations in resources, expertise, technology and capacity to manage ESG data effectively, resulting in incomplete or approximative disclosures.
  • Risk Management: Financial institutions face unique ESG risks associated with lending and investment activities, including credit risk, market risk, reputational risk, business risk, and compliance risk. Effectively assessing and managing these risks demands robust ESG data management processes and integrated risk management frameworks.
  • Stakeholder Expectations: Meeting stakeholder expectations for transparent and credible ESG reporting necessitates overcoming data management challenges and enhancing reporting capabilities.


Addressing these challenges requires a holistic approach to ESG data management , including investment in technology, data governance frameworks, capacity building, stakeholder engagement, and collaboration with industry peers and stakeholders. By overcoming these challenges, companies can enhance the quality, transparency, and credibility of their ESG reporting and contribute to sustainable business practices and stakeholder trust.

ESG Reporting Involves Several Key Steps

Identification and Assessment of Material Risks

Determine the ESG issues most pertinent to your business and stakeholders through a comprehensive materiality assessment. Prioritize key issues based on their significance and impact, ensuring alignment with institutional goals. Conduct regular reviews and assessments to adapt to evolving priorities and stakeholder expectations.

Set Goals and Targets

Establish clear and measurable ESG goals and targets aligned with your institution's strategic priorities and stakeholder expectations.

Data Management

ESG Data Management constitutes a critical pillar of ESG reporting, encompassing the gathering of relevant data and information on ESG performance indicators. This entails collecting data from internal systems, suppliers, and third-party sources while implementing robust data management processes to safeguard accuracy and integrity.

Stakeholder Engagement

Engage proactively with key stakeholders, including investors, customers, employees, and communities, to solicit feedback, address concerns, and demonstrate commitment to ESG issues. Leverage stakeholder input to inform ESG strategies and reporting practices, fostering transparency and accountability.


Formulate ESG reports and disclosures in accordance with applicable regulatory requirements and industry standards. Ensure that ESG reports clearly communicate the institution's ESG performance, initiatives, and progress to stakeholders through channels such as annual reports, financial reports, and sustainability reports, fostering transparency and trust.

Continuous Improvement

Continuously refine and enhance ESG reporting processes and practices based on feedback, emerging trends, and evolving regulatory requirements. Remain vigilant about developments in ESG reporting standards and frameworks to ensure ongoing compliance and relevance, driving continuous improvement in ESG performance and reporting efficacy.



As sustainability gains increasing traction in the financial sector, ESG reporting has evolved from a voluntary practice to a regulatory necessity, becoming an integral part of the corporate governance and accountability. European banks and insurers must navigate a complex web of regulatory requirements governing ESG reporting. By gaining a comprehensive understanding of the scope, timelines, reporting frameworks, and obligations associated with initiatives like CSR reporting, the EU Taxonomy, Pillar 3 ESG reporting, and CSRD, financial institutions can strategically align their approaches and disclosures with evolving standards and expectations of stakeholders.

Institutions that embrace ESG reporting not only fulfill their legal mandates but also gain a competitive advantage by demonstrating their commitment to sustainability, transparency, and long-term value creation. By prioritizing the integrity, efficacy of ESG data, and implementing robust ESG reporting frameworks, companies can effectively meet regulatory mandates, mitigate risks, drive sustainable development, and foster trust among stakeholders in an increasingly ESG-conscious world.

Share this article: