Companies need to prepare for pending compulsory Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting
Shannon Chamber seminar hears

Pictured at the presentation on ESG reporting (from left): Barry Gavin, chair, Shannon Chamber Sustainability Forum; Eoin Gavin, president, Shannon Chamber; Ciara Sheehan, senior manager, Climate Change and Sustainability Services, EY; Helen Downes, CEO, Shannon Chamber; Paul Beary, senior manager, Tax, EY Limerick; and Peter Murphy, marketing and CSR, Ei Electronics. Photo by Eamon Ward.

With over six hundred environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting provisions globally, and a doubling of ESG regulations and standards in the past five years, companies need to start preparing for compulsory ESG reporting.

This message was shared by EY’s senior manager for climate change and sustainability services, Ciara Sheehan, when she addressed Shannon Chambers members in Ei Electronics Centre of Excellence in Shannon recently.

While ESG reporting has been largely voluntary for most companies up to now, and many larger companies are already subject to ESG reporting, it will become mandatory for a greater number of companies from 2024 onwards. The timeline to mandatory reporting can vary depending on your company profile and size. For this reason, it is vitally important for every organisation to assess their current and potential obligations under both existing and upcoming regulations and reporting standards to support their preparations. 

Citing the drivers for ESG action as shareholder pressure, regulatory developments, customers, and employee demands, Ms Sheehan said: “Surveys undertaken by EY globally highlight that 78% of investors want companies to focus on ESG activities, even if it reduces profits in the short term. Employees are also increasingly seeking out companies that positively impact society as their potential employers. Hence the requirement for greater insights into what companies are doing in this area.”

While the maturity of ESG and sustainability approaches and integration with strategy varies across industry, Ms Sheehan stressed the imperative for companies to start tracking their ESG key performance indicators and for having the internal structures to produce the types and level of reports required.

“They will require a consistent, comparable way of reporting to stakeholders on sustainability matters. Likewise, audit committees will play a key role in how their organisation’s ESG is reported,” she added.

Introducing members to ESG reporting requirements is part of Shannon Chamber’s drive to encourage its members to develop strategies for attaining net zero. The presentation by EY was part of a series of workshops being delivered through the Chamber’s member-led Sustainability Forum.

“We were delighted to have someone of Ciara Sheehan’s calibre to deliver a seminar of this nature as ESG reporting is quite a complex subject. She is vastly experienced in leading climate change strategy and development, cross department sustainability advisory services and support, and annual non-financial reporting to both global and local sectors,” said Chamber CEO Helen Downes. 

“We set up the Sustainability Forum to help CEOs and senior executives in member companies, who are tasked with leading their organisations’ sustainability strategies, to attain their goals. Companies in this region are at varying stages in formulating sustainability strategies and, in the same way as the Mid-West Lean Network has enabled an increasing number of companies to utilise and benefit from deploying lean tools, we hope the same gains will emanate from the Sustainability Forum.

“Each of our workshops imparts new learning and provides members with an opportunity to benchmark themselves against their peers and assess how to roll-out sustainability initiatives.

“We will be taking this a step further in September when we host our inaugural Sustainability Week., which is currently in the final planning stages. We will launch the programme for this week in early August and look forward to delivering another ‘first’ for Shannon and the region,” added Ms Downes.

Further information from EY on this topic can be found at:

How organisations can bridge the ESG reporting trust gap | EY Ireland

How Irish CFOs can up their ESG reporting game | EY Ireland