A rigorous program helps prepare for new regulatory requirements with greater clarity and accuracy

Building toward a brighter future: Transforming Workday’s ESG program

Building toward a brighter future: Transforming Workday’s ESG program
  • June 21, 2024

Commitment to sustainability requires more than a routine compliance check — it demands a mindset shift in a continuously evolving environment. As Workday considered its existing ESG program, it knew it needed clearer structure and direction to meet future regulatory requirements. Leaning into its longstanding relationship with PwC, Workday engaged the firm to help assess and improve its ESG reporting efforts. Together, Workday and PwC identified priorities and established a clear, actionable roadmap toward the company’s goals that laid the foundation for compliance with future regulations.

Client PwC



Technology, media and telecommunication




High-priority ESG issues identified as important to the business and key stakeholders, tracked annually in Workday’s Global Impact Report


Holistic ESG reporting roadmap to guide Workday’s program


Created the roadmap to help Workday comply with three foundational ESG regulations

A clear structure for sustainability reporting can build trust with stakeholders and customers

Situation: Cultivating a responsible growth mindset


Taking initiative: A commitment to sustainability

As consumers, investors and other stakeholders demand greater sustainability transparency, companies face a number of challenges. How can they take actions that count? How do they balance voluntary sustainability efforts that help build brand reputation with mandatory disclosures in compliance with government regulations? How can they stay on top of an evolving regulatory landscape without impacting their ability to serve their customers and take care of their people?

Workday, a leading enterprise platform that helps organizations manage their most important assets — their people and money, was driven to answer these questions. When the SEC proposed a new rule around climate-related disclosures, Workday realized that to continue to grow and stay compliant with future regulatory requirements, not only in the US but across the globe, it needed to reassess its ESG strategy. Deeply committed to its sustainability efforts, it set out to re-evaluate its reporting around key stakeholder priorities.

Establishing the right foundation

Workday wanted to refresh its ESG strategy to focus on the company’s critical priorities. To do so, it needed to align its team on the pressing regulatory requirements and build a reporting capability to address them. For guidance in the transition, Workday turned to its longtime strategic advisor, PwC. With PwC’s assistance, Workday wanted to hone its ability to assess ESG priorities and prepare for successful reporting in the future.

Workday approached the new sustainability reporting regulations as an opportunity to raise the bar of scrutiny on its voluntary disclosures as well. The new regulations would require greater confidence in reporting and controller sign-off. Workday aimed to excel among its peers and earn increased stakeholder trust by applying its rigorous standard for ESG reporting across the board.

Solution - Preparing for success


A roadmap for enhanced ESG reporting

The project involved three key steps to help Workday advance its ESG strategy. The first step was an issue prioritization assessment to determine key ESG considerations, followed by a current state and gap analysis to assess where Workday was and the major gaps it had to fill. The outcomes then led to the final step of developing a roadmap to guide the company along its sustainability journey. The goal was to set Workday up for success by preparing for evolving regulatory requirements.

PwC initiated the project by gathering various perspectives from people involved in Workday’s sustainability efforts, including employees, management and some partners. The aim was to determine, beyond hard numbers, what mattered most to Workday’s stakeholders in terms of ESG and sustainability. Based on these responses, PwC and Workday identified the eight ESG priorities in line with the company’s values: energy and carbon emissions; diversity, equity and belonging; privacy and data security; product innovation and customer satisfaction; talent and culture; workforce development; responsible AI; and corporate governance and business ethics. The team then used these priorities to conduct a current state gap assessment. Leveraging input from the Workday team, PwC worked to gauge the company’s performance within these eight priority areas, determine an appropriate ambition level and evaluate its overall maturity in terms of governance, processes and controls, and technology. Once complete, the teams leveraged the findings to develop an 18-month roadmap for maturing Workday’s overall ESG program and readying for regulatory compliance. The project culminated with an all-day, in-person workshop session to help upskill Workday’s people and align both cross-functional employees and executives on the company’s key priorities and the bespoke roadmap.

Getting ahead of the game

To begin, Workday needed to assess its readiness to report across critical regulatory requirements including:

  • The EU’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD)
  • The SEC’s proposed Climate Disclosure rule
  • California’s SB-253, SB-261 and AB-1305 regulating disclosures on greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, climate-related financial risks, voluntary carbon offsets (VCOs) and climate-related emission claims.

This readiness assessment helped Workday identify gaps and create an action plan to expand its new ESG program to help meet stakeholder sustainability disclosure expectations.

In addition to helping establish clear ESG priorities and a roadmap to achieve them, the collaborative process with PwC helped open new channels of communication across Workday. As cross-functional teams met to discuss the ESG issues affecting the company, employees gained a better understanding and respect for their colleagues approaching the work from a different angle. This improved communication helps Workday strike the right balance as it weighs bottom-line impact against ideal-state sustainability. The result? Alignment on key ESG priorities and a plan to address them, powered by an energized and enthusiastic Workday team.

Results - Reinvesting for future growth


Trust in the process

These efforts created meaningful impacts for Workday in many ways. Now, the company has a solid foundation to prepare for upcoming ESG legislation and to better meet stakeholder expectations around disclosures. Prepared with a new understanding of critical sustainability priorities — and a more focused plan to mature its overarching ESG program and achieve its wide range of goals — Workday can communicate about its progress and impact with greater transparency and accuracy, helping to deepen trust among stakeholders. The cross-functional collaboration in the ESG project helped engender trust, fostering better internal communication. Plus, the time and effort invested in upskilling gave leadership the confidence to navigate the often confusing “alphabet soup” of regulations.

Workday’s efforts to redefine its ESG program strategy laid the foundation for continued success. The priorities and roadmap established throughout the project informed the company’s annual Global Impact Report and will continue to help inform Workday’s reporting.

Sustainable action for customer attraction

Beyond regulatory readiness, this initiative is helping Workday transform its relationship with its customers. Demonstrating its own commitment to sustainability reporting serves as a testament to Workday’s integrity as a provider that shares the same goals as its customers, helping to deepen customer satisfaction and trust.

ESG reporting can help drive growth

Deliver investor-grade ESG reporting by staying ahead of the regulations.

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Rich Goode

Sustainability Principal, PwC US

Shafeeq Banthanavasi

Principal, PwC US

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