The ESG Data Quest
A White Paper

As demand for high quality ESG data grows more urgent, we posed the question ‘What does good ESG data look like?’ To address this question, we gathered six ESG experts together for a panel discussion. This white paper has been developed based on the content of the panel discussion and on the research carried out by the team at gather360.

Despite its devastating effect across the globe, the COVID-19 crisis has been credited with reigniting our collective social conscience and with it our interest in environmental protection, good governance and long-term sustainability.

The term ESG has been mainstream for the last decade, with investor appetite taking greater account of sustainable value. The events of 2020 have accelerated that interest, with proven links between a company’s ESG performance and its profitability.

This has led to an explosion in demand for ESG data from boards, investors, shareholders, lenders, employees and consumers. Added to this demand are requirements from the raft of new regulations, not least of which is the EU Taxonomy on ESG.

Multiple new vendors of ESG data and research have entered the data market across the last year, along with new ESG tools and technologies. With the barriers to entry relatively low, the data that is offered is frequently inconsistent and biased.

Whilst ratings agencies with trusted brands have plugged a gap in the market, a disparity between indices has raised questions around data gathering methodologies and, at a basic level, the accuracy and validity of ESG data itself.

This white paper has been developed based on the content of the panel discussion and on the research carried out by the team at gather360. It includes an analysis of the ESG Data Ecosystem by key data requesters and contributors; a review of the goals, targets and regulations that have helped to standardise ESG data thus far; and some suggestions for the development of an ESG data quality network that could offer a solution to the challenge of ‘good’ ESG data.

The next steps

gather360 are undertaking a research project to develop a customised solution which supports companies with their ESG data capture.

This gather360 Innovation Labs initiative is in partnership with South West College and InterTrade Ireland, and will include insights from data vendors, investors, business advisors and auditory/regulatory bodies. If you’d like to participate in bi-monthly workshops to inform the development of this software solution, you can find out more here.

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