Companies that have embraced ESG principles in recent years have enjoyed higher revenues, stronger profits growth, better customer retention and greater access to finance, according to research by Moore Global.

The study, which included 1,262 large companies from eight major economies found that those focusing on ESG over the last three years are growing sales at twice the rate of those that are not as committed, with revenues increasing almost 10% in that time. If all companies in the surveyed countries adopted ESG at the same level, the uplift is estimated to be worth $4 trillion.  The study also found:

  • Profits for keen ESG adopters have risen three times faster than those less keen
  • 83% of companies invested in ESG reported improved customer retention
  • 84% reported that ESG practices improved their ability to attract external investment

Moore’s global sector lead for ESG Mary Tressel said: “The positive impact of ESG is clear.  If the revenue growth figures we found were replicated across every large business in the world, the difference to global GDP growth would be significant. The investment companies have made in ESG is paying dividends that other businesses can easily replicate, and everything we found in our survey says they should.

“Large companies are using ESG to give them back the edge.  It is bringing an holistic, stakeholder-centric approach into the boardroom and delivering results for shareholders at the same time. To compete with bigger players, smaller and medium sized companies can replicate the principles of ESG in a very authentic way and enjoy similar benefits around recruitment and retention as well as seeing financial uplift.”

Regional headlines

  • recorded the most widespread adoption of ESG principles, so it is no surprise to see its firms recording a $2.1t uplift. The combined figure for the European region was $930bn and in Australia, the estimated figure was $59bn.
  • Australia: While all regions had embraced ESG as a principle, businesses taking practical steps to achieve high practical engagement with ESG practices were most prevalent in Australia, with particularly high engagement figures for social aspects (92.7%).  
  • Europe: At the other end of the scale, the region with the lowest rate of engagement with environmental principles of ESG, was Europe (85.9%).
  • Europe: Among companies that have adopted ESG principles, those in Italy showed the highest increase in customer retention, with almost 90% reporting rises and  Italian businesses also found the greatest perceived ability to attract investment.

Tressel continued: ESG has been viewed in some quarters as a ‘nice to have’ but this study reveals the impact for adoption – on finances, human resources and brand influence.  With today’s rising costs of doing business, areas like customer retention will become even more important to businesses as they seek to come out stronger than the competition.  ESG could be the answer many companies are looking for to differentiate their approach.” 

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Moore Global commissioned the Centre of Economics and Business Research (CEBR) to survey 1,262 decision makers in large companies (250+ employees) across eight major economies of the US, UK, Germany, France, Spain, The Netherlands, Italy, and Australia, considering the impact of ESG on business performance.