Sustainability leader Accenture has undergone quite a portfolio expansion as of late. The company has scored over sixty acquisitions in the past year and a half. Accenture has also bolstered its platform with Salesforce’s Sustainability Cloud and Customer 360 features. Perhaps most important, in light of increasing demand for manageable sustainability practices, is a hefty investment in German data aggregator Arabesque S-Ray. The companies will combine resources to analyze over 4 million environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data points and create a tailored standards model—applicable through consultation and strategic business reconstruction.
This builds on an existing partnership between Accenture and Arabesque S-Ray that featured the latter’s financial advice and environmental impact reporting for clients. Broadening the sustainability horizon is the logical next step for pioneers in this developing sector. Accenture hopes to become a consulting powerhouse, primed to handle the rocky road of ESG compliance for every kind of business. Lenders are growing progressively wary of doling out cash to prospects without solid ESG guidelines in place. For instance, institutional investing mainstay BlackRock has pledged to vote its shares against a given portfolio company if its carbon reporting isn’t up to snuff.
While ignoring sustainability may preclude engagement in private and public corporate circles, governments writ large are also taking a stance. Unfortunately, or perhaps not for advisory-capacity opportunists, it isn’t always the same stance for each country. The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission has inquired for comment on over a dozen ESG disclosures, and Japan’s Financial Services Agency has also sought targeted feedback. Japan’s public Government Pension Investment Fund championed ESG goal development by signing the Principle for Responsible Investment in 2015.
Europe has marked ESG transparency as a prerequisite for over half a decade. New recommendations have homed in on accurate reporting for investors, in the interest of “universal disclosure.” This conception is underwritten by the World Economic Forum’s International Business Coalition of CEOs, which decided on 20 ubiquitous ESG categories and implemented them in said CEOs’ personal business practices. This bold move guaranteed the WEF a voice on the insider group working for uniform ESG standards with the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation.
This is where companies such as Accenture become coveted collaborators, as multi-industry consultation expertise is well-suited to meet government regulators’ need for sector-specific boundaries of ESG disclosure. The lack of a common language for global sustainability practices means ESG consultation and goal integration is ripe for further investment from public and private interests.