From alphabet soup to impactful ESG reporting

In this blog, Rachel Madan shares her key takeaways from participating in the ICRS Exchange panel called ESG Reporting: Alphabet Soup or Driving Change?

On October 19, I had the privilege of speaking on a panel at the ICRS Exchange at the Museum of London for the second consecutive year. This event provided a platform for ICRS members and fellow CR&S experts to delve into essential topics, including:

  • Exploring the impact of AI on CR&S practitioners
  • Driving change through ESG reporting
  • Embracing Diversity, Equity & Inclusion
  • Best practices in Social Impact

I was kindly invited to speak on the panel, ESG Reporting: Alphabet Soup or Driving Change?, alongside industry leaders Neil Jones from Walgreens Boots Alliance and Kylee Dickie from National Grid.

The panel highlighted the evolving reporting landscape, emphasising that it’s a continuous journey rather than a one-time task. While perfection isn’t necessary from the start, there’s a growing emphasis on impactful, sustainability reporting catering to all stakeholders, not just investors.

Key panel takeaways:

Saying nothing is the riskiest choice.

  • Reporting is a journey. Companies don’t need to get everything right the first time, they can become more polished along the way. It is important to remember that the frameworks are tools to help reporters focus on the end result, creating positive change.

Build up your data governance to make reporting easier.

  • Adopting sustainability frameworks becomes smoother for companies with a strong foundation. Get a head start by reporting internally.

More data, and more granular data.

  • The launch of two new reporting frameworks this year, the IFRS and the EU CSRD, represents a step change in the requirements for sustainability-related data reporting.

Audience-led sustainability communications

  • Sustainability reports are one channel among many. Think about who is reading your information and why. There are many other channels available that can be tailored to broader audiences.

Don’t forget the S.

  • The S in ESG has tended to take a back seat to Environment and Governance. As stakeholder needs change, businesses are realising that Social issues should be an integral, connected component part of their sustainability strategy.

About the ICRS

The ICRS Conference allows members the opportunity to take a step back from the day-to-day, network with practitioners across a range of different sectors, and hear from each other on how to tackle the challenges we face. Whether it’s increasing diversity within our own profession or coming to grips with double materiality, the ICRS Exchange will give you the space to learn and grow.

Whether you are a first-time reporter or have been producing a sustainability report for years, the new ESG frameworks and regulations are changing the way companies need to think about and report on sustainability. If you need help thinking about how you can prepare, please get in touch with