PwC surveys investors on corporate sustainability reporting

Commenting on the report are James Chalmers and Nadja Picard. The survey shows that investors are hopeful, yet vigilant, of AI in sustainability reporting

PwC released survey results recently that justifies the significance of sustainability reporting, but more importantly the need for real data and true analysis of one’s efforts to showcase environmental and social impacts. 

In the PwC 2023 Global Investor Survey, a few key points were made: 

  • 94% of investors believe sustainability corporate sustainability reports contain unsupported claims
  • Three-quarters of them say that sustainability is crucial to investment prospects, and around 57% are all for great clarity and consistency when it comes to reporting sustainability elements
  • Concerned around inflation and macroeconomic issues fell from the 2022 baseline due to climate change. The percentage of those concerned about climate rose by 10% to reach parity with cyber risks
  • 61% of respondents say that the faster adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) is ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ important 

“We are moving from a period of awareness-raising around the importance of climate and technological change to a time where investors are increasingly asking specific and tough questions about how companies are addressing those issues in their strategy, how they assess risk and opportunity and what is truly material for them,” says James Chalmers, Global Assurance Leader at PwC UK. 

“In this context, corporate reporting needs to continue to evolve so it provides reliable needs to continue to evolve so it provides reliable, consistent and comparable information investors—and other stakeholders—can rely on.” 

Stronger sustainability reporting is required 

This year marks significant growth in sustainability reporting as a major characteristic of investment. According to 57% of investors surveyed by PwC, the ability to disclose climate and social impacts in line with current regulations—naming the CSRD, SEC rules, and ISSB as the key standards—this will play a key role in their ability to acquire investments in the future. 

While investors also note that AI is becoming more important for achieving corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) goals, this is no recent observation as technology has grown in importance for the past few years. The risk with AI seems to come in the form of data security and privacy, as 86% believe it is an issue that demands vigilance. Problems such as climate misinformation and bias are incredibly important in this. Investors have the power to drive this with the information they receive, but must also address these AI risks to ensure credible data comes through. 

Nadja Picard, Global Reporting Leader for PwC Germany, says: 

We are seeing significant steps towards more consistent reporting from companies around climate change, however there is a need for improvement. All the while, investors are calling for greater engagement around how companies manage the opportunities and risks of new technologies, particularly generative AI, as new technologies increasingly drive business transformation and investment.” 


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