The Importance and Uses of ESG Data in 2024

In recent years, Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) data has become increasingly vital for various stakeholders, including investors, corporations, regulators, and more. As businesses and financial markets navigate the complexities of sustainability and ethical practices, ESG data provides essential insights and drives informed decision-making. Here’s an overview of who uses ESG data and what they use it for:

1. Investors

Investors utilize ESG data to guide their investment strategies, assessing potential risks and opportunities associated with environmental and social factors. By integrating ESG metrics, investors can make more informed decisions that align with long-term sustainability goals and ethical standards. ESG data helps investors screen companies based on their performance in areas such as carbon emissions, labor practices, and corporate governance. For example, institutional investors and ESG-focused funds rely heavily on ESG ratings to build resilient and ethical investment portfolios​ (Thomson Reuters: Clarifying the complex)​​ (Accurate ESG AI)​.

2. Corporations

Corporations use ESG data to benchmark their performance against industry peers, identify areas for improvement, and develop strategies that enhance their sustainability practices. ESG reporting frameworks, such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP), provide guidelines for companies to disclose their environmental and social impacts transparently. This data aids in risk management, strategic planning, and improving stakeholder relations by demonstrating a commitment to sustainability​ (KPMG)​​ (Accurate ESG AI)​.

3. Regulatory Bodies and Policymakers

Regulators and policymakers leverage ESG data to formulate and enforce regulations aimed at promoting corporate transparency and sustainability. For instance, the European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) mandates broader sustainability reporting, enhancing transparency on companies’ social and environmental impacts. These regulations ensure that businesses are accountable for their ESG practices, driving improvements across various sectors​ (IBM – United States)​​ (Accurate ESG AI)​.

4. Rating Agencies and Data Providers

ESG rating agencies and data providers, such as MSCI and Sustainalytics, compile extensive ESG datasets and analyses. These entities evaluate companies based on numerous ESG metrics, providing scores and insights that investors and corporations use to assess performance and risk. The information from these ratings influences investment decisions, corporate strategies, and regulatory compliance efforts​ (IBM – United States)​​ (Accurate ESG AI)​.

5. NGOs and Media Groups

Non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and advocacy groups use ESG data to monitor corporate behavior and advocate for improvements in social and environmental practices. By highlighting areas where companies fall short, these groups push for greater accountability and transparency, promoting ethical business practices and sustainable development​ (Thomson Reuters: Clarifying the complex)​​ (Crux)​.

6. Academics and Researchers

Academics and researchers utilize ESG data to study the impacts of ESG factors on financial performance, corporate behavior, and broader societal outcomes. This research helps in understanding the long-term benefits of integrating ESG considerations into business strategies and contributes to the development of best practices and policies​ (IBM – United States)​.


The integration of ESG data into business and investment practices is crucial for fostering a sustainable and ethically responsible future. As companies and investors increasingly prioritize ESG factors, the demand for robust and transparent ESG data continues to grow. By leveraging ESG data, stakeholders can make more informed decisions, enhance corporate accountability, and drive positive environmental and social change.

John McCalla-Leacy of KPMG notes, ”Effective ESG reporting will not happen overnight. Companies need to set up processes to gather ESG data, evaluate performance, and report according to appropriate frameworks, ensuring transparency and accountability across their value chains”​ (KPMG)​.

Embracing ESG principles not only mitigates risks but also creates opportunities for long-term value creation and resilience in an ever-evolving regulatory landscape. As we move forward, the role of ESG data will remain central to shaping a sustainable and equitable future for all stakeholders.