In brief

In brief

  • Stakeholders want to gain trust in the fact that businesses are rethinking sustainable performance, and what it means to be successful.
  • Most companies now recognize that ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) metrics are linked to performance not just compliance.
  • However, many business leaders struggle to target, manage, measure, and report sustainability performance while others get ahead.
  • By reshaping and retooling their organizations, leaders can overcome challenges and create sustainability value and lasting impact.

Trusted insights. Transformative impact

Leaders have long understood that what we measure shapes what we do. Today, ESG performance has become an imperative, not just for compliance but for business performance too. Mapping a clear route and measuring the business impact of sustainability is key.


have completed a detailed analysis regarding financial risk and opportunities related to ESG performance.


have launched or announced a new company mission, vision or purpose in the last 18 months due to ESG considerations.

In fact, all stakeholders reward those that demonstrate value creation and impact as they deliver on the Sustainable Development Goals.

Between 2013 and 2020, companies with consistently high ESG performance tended to score 2.6x higher on total shareholder return than medium ESG performers.

Leaders increasingly understand the need to effectively measure the impact of ESG on their business, but many struggle to take the appropriate action.


have created Key Performance Indicators and have sourced the relevant data to allow sustainability value creation to be tracked, traced, and managed.


of finance leaders agree they have clear, reliable data to underpin each ESG Key Performance Indicator.


cite an “inability to define/prioritize material ESG issues for disclosure” as one of the top challenges for measuring and reporting ESG performance.

So how can leaders overcome these challenges?

Set a clear destination

It starts with determining what success looks like. Once a clear strategy is agreed, accountability for sustainability measurement, analytics and performance needs to be embedded into the “Sustainability DNA" of the organization, with transparency and trust enshrined along the way. The CFO plays a central role but responsibility for defining sustainable performance and delivering value and impact ultimately lies with all leaders.

Know your route

Access to the right data to make better decisions at every level is critical. Where lack of skills is an issue, gaps can be closed by reskilling, as well as the smart deployment of existing and emerging technologies. Cloud and platform providers play a pivotal role here, in tracking and providing interoperability throughout the value chain.

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Webcast: Measuring sustainability to create value

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Accenture’s Sustainability Services practice recently participated in the Measuring Sustainability to Create Value Webinar, in partnership with StrategicCFO360, a Chief Executive Group community. The panelists were Joe Allanson, Executive Vice President for ESG Finance at Salesforce; Richard Clark, the Chief Accounting Officer and Chief Transformation Officer for Business Enablement at Accenture; and Vrushali Gaud, Managing Director and ESG Measurement lead at Accenture.  The panel covered a wide range of “hot” sustainability topics, from measurement and data challenges to consolidation of reporting frameworks, competitiveness for talent and clients, consistency in messaging, governance, value creation conversations, the “art” of ESG, and core values. 

About the Authors

Peter Lacy

Global Sustainability Services Lead & Chief Responsibility Officer

Jason Dess

Senior Managing Director – Strategy & Consulting, CFO & Enterprise Value Global Lead

Ambrose Shannon

Managing Director – Sustainability Services

Vrushali Gaud

Managing Director – Sustainability Services

Alistair Smith

Managing Director – Sustainability Services

Matthew Robinson

Managing Director – Accenture Research

Babak Moussavi

Manager – Accenture Research


The Accenture 360° Value Reporting Experience
UN Global Compact – Accenture CEO Study on Sustainability
Shaping the Sustainable Organization

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