ESG regulations and standards essentials: 2023 guide

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) regulations and standards have become a crucial aspect of corporate responsibility and long-term value creation. Companies must navigate these regulations to ensure compliance, mitigate risks, and showcase their commitment to responsible business practices. This guide will provide an in-depth overview of the key ESG standards, reporting requirements, and best practices to help you effectively manage ESG risks and opportunities.

Understanding the Key ESG Standards

There are several ESG standards and frameworks that companies can adopt to guide their ESG efforts. The most prominent ones include the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) and the newer The Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD). Each of these standards has its unique focus and approach, enabling companies to choose the one that aligns best with their ESG objectives.

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI)

The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) is an international independent organization that helps businesses and governments understand and communicate their sustainability impacts. GRI provides a comprehensive framework for sustainability reporting, covering environmental, social, and governance issues. The GRI Standards are widely recognized and adopted by organizations globally, offering a common language for reporting on ESG performance.

Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB)

The Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) is a non-profit organization that develops and maintains industry-specific sustainability accounting standards. SASB standards help companies identify, manage, and report on the ESG factors most relevant to their industry and stakeholders. By focusing on materiality, SASB standards enable companies to provide concise and decision-useful information to investors and other stakeholders.

Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD)

The Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) was established by the Financial Stability Board to develop a set of voluntary, consistent disclosure recommendations for companies to provide information on their climate-related financial risks. TCFD recommendations focus on four key areas: governance, strategy, risk management, and metrics and targets. By adopting the TCFD framework, companies can enhance their climate risk disclosures and better inform investors and other stakeholders.

The Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD)

The Task Force on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) is a global initiative that aims to create a framework for financial institutions and corporations to report on their dependencies and impacts on nature. This task force was launched in 2021 by a group of financial institutions, corporations, and governments in response to the increasing recognition of the financial risks associated with biodiversity loss and ecosystem degradation. The TNFD will develop a set of recommendations and metrics for companies and financial institutions to disclose their nature-related financial risks and opportunities, which will help investors and other stakeholders make informed decisions. The TNFD is modeled after the successful Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD), which focuses on climate-related financial risks and opportunities.

ESG Reporting and Disclosure Requirements

ESG reporting and disclosure requirements vary by jurisdiction and may be mandatory or voluntary, depending on the country and regulatory framework. In the UK, for example, certain ESG reporting requirements are mandatory for listed companies under the UK Companies Act and the UK Stewardship Code. Other countries, like the United States, have a mix of mandatory and voluntary ESG reporting guidelines. It is essential for companies to understand their jurisdiction’s reporting and disclosure requirements to ensure compliance and avoid potential fines or reputational damage.

To navigate ESG reporting requirements effectively, companies should:

1.  Identify the relevant ESG regulations and standards applicable to their industry and jurisdiction.

2.  Establish a robust ESG data collection and reporting system to gather accurate and timely information.

3.  Disclose ESG information in a clear and transparent manner, utilising the chosen ESG standards as a guide.

For further guidance on ESG reporting in 2023, read our article on ESG disclosure: Your guide to understanding ESG reporting in 2023 and why it matters .

Best Practices for ESG Compliance

To achieve ESG compliance and demonstrate commitment to responsible business practices, companies should consider the following best practices:

1.  Establish a clear ESG strategy and set measurable goals.

2.  Adopt a recognized ESG reporting standard that aligns with the company’s objectives and stakeholder expectations.

3.  Integrate ESG factors into decision-making processes across the organisation.

4.  Communicate progress and achievements on ESG performance to stakeholders regularly.

5. Continuously monitor and review ESG performance, identifying areas for improvement and adjusting the strategy as needed.

For more insights on creating a successful ESG strategy, read our article on 5 steps to creating a successful ESG strategy: The importance of good data.

ESG Risk Management and Performance Metrics

Effective ESG risk management and performance measurement are crucial for companies to optimise their ESG efforts and demonstrate progress to stakeholders. To manage ESG risks and track performance, companies should:

1.  Identify and assess ESG risks and opportunities relevant to their business and industry.

2.  Develop Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to measure ESG performance and align them with the chosen ESG reporting standard.

3.  Implement risk mitigation strategies to address identified ESG risks and capitalise on opportunities.

4.  Monitor and report on ESG KPIs regularly, using the insights to drive continuous improvement and strategic decision-making.

Examples of ESG performance metrics include greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, employee diversity and inclusion, and board composition.


Understanding ESG regulations and standards is crucial for companies seeking to navigate the increasingly complex landscape of corporate responsibility and stakeholder expectations. By adopting recognized ESG standards, implementing best practices for ESG compliance, and actively managing ESG risks and performance, companies can not only mitigate potential risks but also enhance their long-term value creation and build trust with stakeholders.

As ESG regulations continue to evolve and gain prominence, companies must stay up-to-date with the latest developments and adapt their strategies accordingly. By embracing a proactive approach to ESG management, organisations can position themselves as leaders in sustainability and social responsibility, creating a competitive advantage in the market and driving long-term success.

For more information on the importance of ESG disclosure and how it can benefit your business in 2023, read our article on Why ESG disclosure is important for your business in 2023: 5 key points.

To further explore ESG reporting and gain insights into specific companies’ ESG performance, visit Permutable AI’s ESG Reports homepage , where you can access ESG reports for major companies such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon, Alphabet (Google), and Facebook.

Looking for ESG data? Why not get in touch to request a look around our ESG dashboard and data sets?