The landscape of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards is rapidly evolving, driven by new regulatory mandates that compel companies to disclose their ESG risks, opportunities, and performance. Achieving credible reporting now demands independent third-party assurance.

It was against this backdrop that, last year, we published the inaugural KPMG ESG Assurance Maturity Index. The Index found that companies had a long way to go to prepare for ESG reporting and assurance. So, how are they doing now? Our second-year analysis indicates some progress, yet many organisations remain in early stages. It's crucial now to focus efforts on establishing robust systems, processes, and controls to gather requisite data, ensuring they meet the standards required for external assurance.

The Index and accompanying research serve as a roadmap, offering practical guidance on key focus areas and steps towards readiness for ESG assurance. The views of senior executives and board members at 1,000 companies across industries, global regions and revenue sizes were captured to gauge their relative ESG Assurance maturity. Respondents were ranked as either Leaders (top 25%), Advancers (next 50%), or Beginners (bottom 25%) based on their maturity. 

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The journey continues: Navigating the road to readiness

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Key facts

75 % of firms must now report ESG data or will soon be required to do so.
Amongst Leaders, 42 % now place robust, product-specific requirements on their suppliers.
29 % of companies have a clear audit trail to support their non-financial information.

46 % of leaders see digital tools as being key to being ready to obtain assurance.
29 % of companies have the ESG policies, skills and systems in place to be ready for ESG assurance.