Tech companies have historically more positive than other sectors when it comes to ESG issues, but over the past 24 months, the climate-related regulationsand the rapid move towards greater accountability has left many tech companies exposed.
Issues such as energy consumption, workforce diversity, human capital, security, data privacy and political abuse of platforms are just some of the growing ESG challenges facing technology companies.
In addition to preparing for SEC regulation and the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting (CSRD) directive, technology companies are also at risk of reputational damage from the final crackdown on greenwashing.
Tech companies are at risk if they continue to demonstrate disconnected ESG and business strategies.
How big is the problem?
The most common topics referenced by US tech companies in their financial reports are public health (ranking 1, a hangover from COVID-19), security (ranked second) and privacy (third). Climate change and risk management (33), GHG emissions (43), human rights (53) and biodiversity (81) are a lower priority and lower on the list.
For European companies, GHG emissions are in the top 20 most emphasized ESG topics, ranking 12e in order of priority. But as this is the most regulated environmental theme, it does not represent a strategic approach to ESG. Climate change and risk management (22) and human rights (23) have relatively high priorities, while compliance management (35) and biodiversity (72) are lower on the list.