Future Forward: ESG and Impact Trends for 2024

Future Forward: ESG and Impact Trends for 2024
Photo by Dawid Zawiła / Unsplash

2023 has marked a transformative chapter in the world of ESG and Impact data. As impact technology pioneers, we at Proof are propelling change to meet evolving industry needs.

At Proof, we're not just observers; we're architects of change. Stay ahead of the curve with our future-proof ESG and Impact roadmap for 2024:

1. Metric Selection

  • What's Out: Highly customized metrics with bespoke reporting requirements
  • What's In: Harmonized frameworks and industry metric sets

The Global Impact Investing Network (GIIN) IRIS+ remains the leading standard catalog of impact metrics by sector, from education to financial inclusion to agriculture. PitchBook's latest impact investing update underscores the importance of the IRIS+ metric sets in standardizing impact data. Proof is proud to partner with the GIIN to streamline impact measurement, reporting, and analysis around the IRIS+ metric sets.

The ISSB, the new gold standard released in June 2023, is set to seamlessly integrate with TCFD, marking a major consolidation in global ESG disclosure standards.

Starting in 2024, ISSB has agreed to take over the responsibilities of the TCFD.

2. Integrated Reporting

  • What's Out: Separate ESG/Impact and financial reporting
  • What's In: Integrated ESG, Impact, and financial reporting and strategy development

From enhanced risk adjusted returns to higher valuations, ESG and Impact lead to improved financial outcomes. Nawar Alsaadi - a leading voice on sustainable finance - demonstrates, for example, the improved financial performance associated with decarbonization.

At Proof, we're reshaping the landscape with an integrated reporting approach focusing on finance, people, planet, customer, innovation, and governance—the core pillars required for the triple bottom line (people+planet+profit).

3. Performance Comparison

  • What's Out: Measurement in a vacuum, with limited context or visibility
  • What's In: Precision benchmarks by geography, company size, and industry

Proof is democratizing impactful data insights with open-access benchmarking in private markets. As an increasing volume of global companies report on the same harmonized metric sets, we'll unlock deeper performance insights based on location, size, and industry.

4. Assessing Materiality

  • What's Out: Traditional ESG ratings, typically unregulated and focused on single financial materiality
  • What's In: Regulatory mandates for ESG, with a focus on double materiality

The CSRD is here, requiring double materiality assessments to account for business and stakeholder impact. Stakeholder engagement is a critical tool to build trust and ensure that a company's sustainability commitments address stakeholder concerns. Learn more about how to conduct a double materiality assessment with Proof.

5. Data Collection

  • What's Out: Manual spreadsheet data collection
  • What's In: Automated data collection, validation, and reporting

Gone are the days of critical sustainability data living in siloed data collection spreadsheets. Welcome to the age of automated data management, opening the gates for real-time impact data intelligence and efficient, meaningful performance improvement. Proof's Impact Copilot, an AI-driven Chief Sustainability Officer, empowers enterprises with personalized insights through seamless ESG and Impact data integrations.

6. Reporting Frequency

  • What's Out: Annual or ad hoc reporting
  • What's In: Tracking impact performance on a continuous basis through ongoing management

Sustainability isn't a "check the box" exercise to be considered once a year. It's a critical dimension of business excellence, requiring continuous monitoring. Proof is setting the standard for real-time impact reporting, ensuring your progress is always in focus.

7. Target Setting

  • What's Out: Overly ambitious, primarily qualitative disclosures and statements
  • What's In: Realistic, attainable targets paired with actionable improvement plans

Market leaders are already shifting their approach to target setting, including Unilever's notable move away from "aspirational" climate commitments to realistic sustainability targets embedded in managers' performance evaluations. Exercise SMART goal-setting by determining your performance baseline, defining a realistic numerical target, developing action plans, and tracking progress over time.

Explore Proof's anti-greenwashing resources for a guided journey towards authentic impact.

8. Performance Improvement

  • What's Out: Siloed learnings and limited progress to goals
  • What's In: Community and group learning to accelerate progress on goals

Inspired by new regulations and united by the urgency of climate and social challenges, leaders worldwide are banding together for change. Join the Proof Sustainability Community, where innovation meets collaboration to accelerate sustainable progress.

As we venture into 2024, the future is bright, sustainable, and shaped by collective action. Join Proof on this transformative journey towards a world where technology and sustainability converge seamlessly.