During a panel discussion facilitated by Lola Debersaques (Partner Sustainalize), experts represented external stakeholders’ interests and wishes for sustainability information. Aleksandra Palinska (Senior Regulatory Policy Advisor at EFAMA) raised attention to ESG data: “There insufficient availability and quality of ESG data is the real problem. Robust, consistent, standardized, reliable and public ESG disclosures by investee companies are essential to make Sustainable Finance work in practice and channel the necessary financing to sustainable projects. Meanwhile, as pointed out by the Alliance for Corporate Transparency project, European companies fail to report meaningful information about their impacts on society and the environment. The report finds that 90% of companies report on climate change, but merely 47% specify clearly what precisely their policy was designed to achieve and how.”
A potential solution came from Hilde Blomme (Deputy CEO of Accountancy Europe): “With more than 1000 reporting frameworks a certain degree of standardisation is needed, as well as sectorial benchmarks and more top-down regulation.”
David Szafran, supervisory board member at the FSMA and lawyer at Eubelius, opened up the debate whether to widen the scope of mandatory sustainability reporting to smaller and/or non-listed companies. After that, Sebastien Godinot, Economist at WWF International, stressed the importance for companies to report sustainability information that relates to the core strategy.