“Alphabet Soup” is not a good nickname to have when it comes to corporate reporting, but it is the phrase that has become synonymous with the environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting landscape.

The main ingredients are the plethora of voluntary reporting frameworks, principles and standards (SASB, GRI, TCFD, CDP, CDSB, IIRC to name a few of this season’s suppliers). But that is not all. There are certification bodies, industry-specific charters, and ESG specific ratings agencies and indices all mixed in too.

In our recent article, we reflect on the fact that the standards that form the soup are predominantly voluntary. From a UK perspective, we must understand which of the soup’s ingredients aim to support reporters to provide information that is mandatory for UK reporters (supporting the core objectives of the annual report), and which offer extras or add-ons to supplement that, supporting the creation of accompaniments such as sustainability reports or other ancillary reporting, rather than the main course of the annual report.