ESG Corporate Reporting Best Practices 

EDM Council, a cross-industry trade association for data management and analytics, has released its first research report providing first-hand insights and recommendations for implementing best practices related to environmental, social and governance (ESG) data management for corporate reporting entities.

The report takes a close look at:

- Data management challenges firms face with reporting and disclosure of ESG data

- Who's responsible and accountable for ESG reporting

- Data management plans and strategies to support ESG reporting

- ESG data quality related to direct and indirect data sources

- Data management capabilities related to internal and external audit and assurance

ESG reporting is still in the early stages as standards and regulations develop and evolve. ESG reporting provides important information about a company's performance, risks, and overall strategy, and the resulting data is used by multiple stakeholders across the ESG Ecosystem, including investors, asset owners, regulators, customers, suppliers, and employees.

The focus on ESG, including carbon emissions, biodiversity, water consumption, employee health and safety, gender diversity, wage equality, child labour, and culture and ethics, creates a unique set of challenges due to the complexities associated with the underlying data, and the management of this data.

This paper was developed by the EDM Council's ESG Workgroup, which was formed in 2020 to investigate current data challenges across the ESG Ecosystem. The Workgroup approached the exercise by looking at the problem through the lens of a data professional in each constituent group – Corporate Reporting Entity, Data Aggregator/Research/Rating firm, Investment/Product Creation firm, and Asset Owner.

"Everyone is trying to understand how to incorporate ESG principles into their organizations' strategies and use ESG data throughout the ESG Ecosystem. Data is the glue that connects everything. As a result, ESG data and data management are critical to all constituents and it's still in the early stages of development," said Eric Bigelsen, EDM Council Head of Industry Engagement and Head of the ESG Workgroup.

"This paper examines considerations such as data reporting preparations, where data responsibility lies, and specific advice from our ESG Workgroup on key steps to enhance ESG best practices within any organization."

This EDM Council ESG Corporate Reporting Entities paper is the first part in a series of papers that will contain the results of a nine-month study detailing ESG data challenges and recommendations.

The report incorporates input from data professionals across multiple industries, corporate sustainability reporting professionals, ESG subject matter experts, and other business leaders in an effort that spans over 80 participating organizations and over 150 professionals.

For more information and to download the full EDM Council ESG Corporate Reporting Entities report, visit: