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Addressing the Strategy Execution Gap in Sustainability Reporting

2024 Sustainability Organization Survey

As global businesses face increasing regulatory pressure to disclose information about environmental, social and governance impacts, risks and opportunities, organizations are set to spend more on sustainability initiatives over the next three years. However, most organizations view sustainability engagement not only as a compliance issue but also as a valuable tool for enhancing financial performance both now and in the future. Despite this realization, organizations are facing real challenges in delivering against this objective.

KPMG conducted a deep dive on where organizations are investing in the coming years with an eye towards maximizing financial value, while complying with disclosure requirements. Key findings include a focus on investing in sustainability talent, prioritizing sustainability data and analytics, managing supply chain sustainability, and completing an sustainability risk assessment. Enhancing data management is seen as the top way to integrate sustainability goals with overall business objectives, but organizations still face challenges integrating sustainability strategy into their broader business structure due to resourcing constraints and internal silos between departments.

Download the materials

Addressing the Strategy Execution Gap in Sustainability Reporting

In the companion deck to this study, we dive further into the details on how organizations are structuring to meet looming sustainability challenges overall and at the sector-specific level.

Download the Deck

Designing a sustainability organization that's ready for reporting

In the companion paper to this study, we expand upon how to create an internal structure built for evolving global regulations.

Download the Paper

Investment in sustainability capabilities is top priority


of organizations will increase their sustainability investment in the next 3 years

The top areas of future investment

are dedicated sustainability personnel, sustainability-specific software and sustainability-related employee training and education

83% v. 47%

There is a disconnect between perception and preparedness… Many organizations believe they are ahead of peers regarding sustainability reporting, but almost half still use spreadsheets to manage their sustainability data

Data management is critical to integrating sustainability goals with overall business objectives


of leading organizations use advanced data systems for sustainability reporting


of organizations plan to improve sustainability data collection with artificial intelligence


see improving data management and reporting capabilities as helpful in integrating sustainability goals with business objectives


anticipate an increase in sustainability integration across roles

Structural challenges hinder ability to integrate a sustainability strategy into broader business goals

The top challenges organizations face

insufficient resources or capacity to collaborate effectively, internal silos and limited communication between departments, and divergent priorities or goals across functions


are planning to restructure teams to better align sustainability goals with business strategy


of core sustainability reporting activities are currently or are planned to be outsourced in the next 3 years

Timely and accurate reporting of sustainability information is key for businesses to make strategic business decisions and meet regulatory reporting guidelines, which lead to preservation and growth of financial value.

Maura Hodge

Sustainability Reporting Leader, KPMG LLP

Investment in sustainability reporting capabilities is top priority

With impending regulatory reporting requirements, organizations are increasing investments in many areas of the sustainability reporting process.

Significant areas of investment by sustainability reporting activity

Data mangement is critical to integrating sustainability goals with overall business objectives

Most organizations plan on enhancing their sustainability data collection and management systems because the use of advanced software, automation and AI/ML tools can significantly improve sustainability reporting efficiencies

Measures being undertaken to be perceivably ahead of others in maintaining transparent sustainability reporting

Our Sustainability Organization Survey underscores the critical role of data in driving sustainability objectives forward and seamlessly integrating these into the overall business strategy.


Rob Fisher

US Sustainability Leader, Partner Advisory, KPMG LLP

Structural challenges hinder ability to integrate a sustainability strategy into broader business goals

Capacity constraints and internal silos are the top two challenges organizations are facing

Challenges that impede cross-functional collaboration on sustainability matters

Organizational restructuring to better align sustainability goals with overall business strategy in the coming years

Sustainability strategy and reporting efforts need to be aligned, therefore organizations are restructuring to achieve this coordination


Yes, definitely - we are planning for a major restructuring to align sustainability goals with business strategy


Yes, somewhat - minor adjustments or adaptations in our organization are expected


Maybe - it depends on changes in sustainability regulations and market demands


No, not at all - our current organizational structure already aligns sustainability goals with business strategy


Unsure - we have not discussed organizational restructuring related to sustainability alignment at this time

Steps you can take to improve Sustainability reporting & strategic integration across your business:

  1. Set your sustainability ambitions: Collectively agree upon a sustainability strategy for each of your material sustainability topics, establish action plans and determine how to measure success. These actions link sustainability to your business strategy and this information is required for regulatory reporting.
  2. Invest in sustainability talent, including training and education for employees: Improve sustainability reporting capabilities by investing in dedicated sustainability personnel who can manage and oversee reporting processes, data collection, and analysis. Broaden access to sustainability information by creating a culture of sustainability awareness across all departments through employee training and education programs. This knowledge will help you execute on sustainability goals within the broader business context.
  3. Design a holistic sustainability technology architecture: Sustainability information needs are ever evolving and having a structured, but flexible sustainability data architecture, like a data lake, will allow you to adjust efficiently to new and changing reporting requirements.
  4. Restructure teams to better align sustainability goals with business strategy: Address structural challenges by redefining roles and responsibilities and identifying leaders and subject matter experts for effective implementation and efficient reporting.
  5. Seek external support: To support internal capabilities and accelerate progress, consider outsourcing core sustainability reporting responsibilities.

How KPMG can help

With extensive experience in reporting and sustainability consulting, KPMG can help organizations streamline their Sustainability reporting processes, develop a sustainable governance structure, and integrate Sustainability goals into their overall business objectives. KPMG’s dedicated team of professionals can provide tailored services to help organizations navigate complex Sustainability standards, optimize data collection and analysis processes, drive sustainable and responsible business practices, and create long-term value.

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