Making an impact: How companies are accentuating the positive on ESG

Jun 07, 2022
Companies are increasingly expected to show the positive impact they are having on the world, often through linking their activities to the UN SDGs. We hear from European firms at the forefront of reporting on their environmental and social impact

Long gone are the days when ESG activity received a token mention in shareholder communications. Telling a company’s ESG story is now a critical part of the IR function as shareholders increasingly want to understand the positive impact of their investments and the pledges companies are making toward progressive actions.

In a complex landscape of fragmented ESG aims and commitments, there’s currently little in terms of relatable ambitions investors can benchmark activity against.

This is why the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (UN SDGs) have been adopted by many companies seeking to report on their ESG impact, linking their activity to a set of common goals that are increasingly understood – and used – across the globe.

Ignacio Cuenca, Iberdrola
Ignacio Cuenca, Iberdrola

Consisting of 17 interconnected goals, the UN SDGs are a global call to action to address poverty, injustice and inequality, as well as tackle climate change, with a single vision ‘to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all’.

Formed in 2015 by the UN General Assembly, the UN SDGs are intended to be achieved by 2030, and are included in UN General Assembly Resolution 70/1 (2015), the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, more commonly known as the 2030 Agenda.

Impact reporting in action

Ignacio Cuenca is director of investor relations and communications at utilities multinational Iberdrola.

Speaking about his company's impact reporting, he comments: ‘Iberdrola satisfies the growing demand by society in general – and shareholders and investors in particular – for companies to provide a detailed report of their non-financial performance in the ESG field, with the understanding that good performance in these areas is an essential factor for long-term success.

‘At Iberdrola, we incorporated the 2030 Agenda into our business strategy and governance and sustainability systems. We are committed to strong business leadership, which is vital for achieving the radical and necessary transformation the UN SDGs require.’

Every year, Iberdrola publishes its sustainability report, highlighting the company’s performance in the area of sustainability, with relevant information on the social dividend provided by the group and on its contribution to the UN SDGs. In addition, it publishes an interactive online report covering ESG matters, as well as including its ESG performance within its quarterly reports and annual integrated report.

In a testament to its reporting success, Iberdrola was the only Spanish company in the world ranking of the 100 best integrated reports in 2021, according to the League of American Communications Professionals. The organization, which assessed nearly 1,000 annual reports from different companies in more than a dozen countries around the world, awarded Iberdrola its platinum award with a score of 99 out of 100, considering it one of the best in Europe.

‘The appetite for investors to hear about the positive ESG work we are doing is something the market is increasingly asking for, and even requesting as a must,’ says Cuenca. ‘At Iberdrola, we listen to our shareholders and have responded to their demands by providing clear, detailed and updated information.’

This is an extract of an article that was published in the Summer 2022 issue of IR Magazine. Click here to read the full article.

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