TMT stakeholders are asking questions: How to tell them a credible ESG story

Business performance across industries is increasingly factoring in environment, social and governance (ESG) reporting, as stakeholders expect clear, standardized information. The recent milestone announcement at COP26 is likely to build on this momentum. For technology, media and telecommunications (TMT) companies, the opportunity is significant to influence the ESG narrative, particularly since their products and services permeate other sectors and provide the enabling capabilities.

As you assess the related impacts for your business, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Does your ESG reporting resonate with your priority stakeholders? 
  • Is the information you’re disclosing consistent, accurate and complete?

Regardless of how you responded to these questions, it’s important to also consider how your competitors would respond. As ESG reporting and regulatory guidance evolves, companies that progress faster than others will not only be better positioned to react to potential outcomes, they’re likely to gain a competitive advantage in being at the forefront of the issue.

According to PwC's 2021 Pulse Survey of C-suite executives, producing investor-grade ESG information is a priority for 55% of technology, media and telecommunications CFOs

Following are three of the challenges facing TMT companies as they aim to make progress on ESG

Companies face evolving global reporting expectations

Different companies are at various stages of tying the elements of ESG into their reporting and incorporating ESG into their broader strategy. Moreover, not everyone is using the same standards and frameworks.

Companies may not have infrastructure to meet investor-grade reporting

Once a company decides what ESG information to report, it then needs to contend with the challenges of how to effectively collect, analyze and report the information accurately. The breadth of ESG data creates significant reporting complexity.

Companies find it hard to understand and report both the ‘inside out’ and ‘outside in’ impacts of ESG issues

What should you include in your ESG report? The identification of what’s material in ESG may be different than financial statement materiality, as the various standards and frameworks have different concepts of materiality. It involves more judgment by management, who may consider input from various stakeholders such as board members, customers and employees.

Four ways to move your company toward investor-grade ESG reporting

Applying ESG standards, frameworks and developing metrics and controls over reporting will often involve many different parts of a company’s operations. It will likely take time to develop the appropriate systems and processes. We suggest defining a narrow set of priorities:

  1. Decide on your ESG strategy and metrics.
  2. Define process and governance steps to have confidence in your reporting.
  3. Design your reporting architecture and technology.
  4. Tell an authentic and coherent story.

Read our report for further details about these priorities and the related challenges and opportunities for TMT companies.

Contact us

John DeRose

Partner, Technology, Media and Telecommunications, Trust Solutions, PwC US

Casey Herman

US ESG Leader, PwC US

Conall Dempsey

Technology, Media and Telecommunications Trust Solutions Leader, PwC US

Kevin O’Connell

ESG Trust Solutions Leader, PwC US

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