- Some 60 major companies have agreed to adopt a new ESG reporting framework.
- ESGs are metrics that measure a company’s environmental, social, and governance progress.
- The effort is being led by the World Economic Forum and the International Business Council, run by Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan.
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Executives from Bank of America, Mastercard, KPMG, and about 60 other large companies announced Tuesday they’ll be adopting a new reporting framework for environmental, social, and governance standards (ESGs) in partnership with the World Economic Forum.
Other companies that have signed on to this reporting framework include Salesforce, Unilever, Dell, and Sony.
ESG standards are a set of criteria used to measure a company’s performance on things such as how the company is impacting the environment (like its amount of toxic emissions), how it manages relationships with its employees (does it encourage employees to volunteer), and how the company runs internally (boardroom diversity).
If widely adopted, these standards, called “Stakeholder Capitalism Metrics,” have the potential to transform what it means to operate a large corporation. It could make it standard procedure for a major company to report its ESG metrics, just like it’s standard (in fact, required) for a company to report on its financial metrics.
Many in the business community see ESG metrics as a concrete way to advance stakeholder capitalism, the leading economic theory today that says companies are responsible to all stakeholders, including their employees, customers, the environment, as well as their shareholders.
“We have to deliver great returns for our shareholders and help drive progress on society’s most important priorities,” Brian Moynihan, CEO of Bank of America, and chairman of the International Business Council, said in a statement. “That is stakeholder capitalism in action.”
The next step in a trend
In September, the World Economic Forum and the International Business Council (IBC), run by Bank of America CEO Brian Moynihan, partnered with “the Big Four” accounting firms to create the reporting framework of 21 ESG standards. The big four – Deloitte, PwC, EY, and KPMG – provide financial auditing and other professional services.
Insider recently spoke with Klaus Schwab, World Economic founder and executive chairman, about the more than 60 companies signing on to these metrics.
“At the moment you have a situation where a company reports mainly about their intentions. Now we have to walk the talk,” he said.