50 ESG statistics you need to know in 2024

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50 ESG statistics you need to know in 2024

Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) considerations have transitioned from optional to essential. Industries across the board are recognising the immense value and necessity of integrating ESG principles into their core operations. This shift is not just about compliance or reputation management; it's about fostering sustainable growth and creating long-term value for stakeholders.

To aid in this crucial selection process, KEY ESG has crafted a comprehensive white paper, serving as a buyer's guide for ESG software. This guide is tailored to equip you with the knowledge to navigate the complex landscape of ESG management tools, ensuring you make an informed choice that aligns with your organisation's unique needs and sustainability goals.

Discover more about this in our essential guide.

Table of contents

  • Key statistics
  • How impactful ESG is for companies
  • How investors see ESG reporting
  • Challenges of implementing ESG initiatives

Key statistics

Understanding KEY ESG statistics is vital for CFOs, Heads of Sustainability, and other decision-makers. These statistics are not just numbers; they represent a shift in how companies operate and invest. With the demand for ESG investments outstripping supply, it's clear that sustainability is no longer a niche concern but a mainstream business imperative.

  • Currently, 90% of S&P 500 companies release ESG reports. (2)
  • Thirty percent of investors claim they have difficulty locating suitable and appealing ESG investing possibilities, despite the market's explosive growth for ESG investment products. (1)
  • ESG-focused institutional investments are projected to reach $33.9 trillion by 2026. (1)
  • A substantial 83% of consumers believe companies should actively shape ESG best practices. (3)
  • Investment funds with adherence to ESG principles hold more than $18 trillion. (1)
  • Companies are increasingly prioritising and examining their environmental impact and enhancement of sustainability. (4)
  • ESG considerations are considered by 89% of investors when making investment decisions. (5)


  • ESG investments are expected to constitute over 20% of assets under management by 2026 (1)

How impactful ESG investment is for companies

The influence of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) practices on businesses is significant, a fact that CFOs, Heads of Sustainability, and decision-makers must recognise.

The following statistics underscores the growing importance of ESG in corporate strategy:

  • A staggering 76% of consumers would cease buying from firms that neglect environmental, employee, or community well-being, highlighting the direct impact of ESG practices on consumer behaviour. (6)
  • At present, 53% of the income for the top 500 U.S. corporations and 49% of the earnings for the largest 1,200 companies worldwide are derived from business operations that contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). (7)


  • A notable 88% of consumers demonstrate increased loyalty to businesses that advocate for social or environmental issues. (19)
  • By the year 2026, it is expected that climate-related weather events will cost suppliers a staggering $1.3 trillion. (8)
  • Companies that excel in employee satisfaction often have ESG ratings that are 14% higher than the global average, likely due to their impressive environmental initiatives. (9)
  • Companies with higher ESG scores experience lower capital costs according to 50.1% of investors. (10)
  • Europe leads in the ESG investment market with 83% of all ESG assets, while investors in North America tend to be more cautious about ESG-focused investments. (11)



  • 88% of public companies have established ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) initiatives. (5)
  • More European investors consider ESG integral to their investment approach. (18)


  • Numerous companies across different regions and sectors are leveraging Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) criteria not only for societal impact but also to gain additional financial advantages. (2)
  • A significant 79% of investors consider how a company handles ESG risks and opportunities as crucial in their investment choices, with 76% using a company's ESG risk and opportunity profile to filter out potential investments. (23)
  • 59% indicate that a company's failure to address ESG issues would likely lead them to vote against its executive pay agreement. (23)

How investors and stakeholders see ESG reporting

For CFOs, Heads of Sustainability, and other key stakeholders, understanding how investors view ESG in their decision-making is crucial. This highlights difficulties in aligning the ESG reporting process and the need for solutions to make it easy for investors to report under multiple frameworks.

  • 72% of European asset owners who receive ESG reports from managers desire standardised reports, yet only 18% are currently able to implement this. (12)
  • By the year 2025, it is projected that ESG-mandated assets may represent half of all professionally managed investments, totaling around $35 trillion. (13)


  • An overwhelming 87% of CEOs support the incorporation of ESG metrics into the regular reporting practices of corporations. (10)
  • In Asia, excluding Japan, ESG investments are expected to grow by over 20% in the next five years. (10)
  • Governmental entities have increased the issuance of ESG reporting guidelines by 74% over the past four years. (14)


  • A striking 89% of investors take ESG factors into account in their investment decisions, compared to just 13% who see it as a passing trend. (15)
  • Younger investors exhibit a more pronounced interest in ESG issues than their older counterparts. (11)


  • More than half of global investors believe that clarity regarding ESG's role in a fund’s investment strategy is a crucial aspect of reporting. (5)


  • Young investors, possessing wealth over $250,000, expressed willingness to forgo 14% of their wealth for furthering ESG issues. (5)
  • A significant 85% of asset managers report that ESG considerations are a top priority within their companies. (4)
  • 91% of corporate leaders acknowledge their company's duty to address Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) issues. (3)
  • The expectations of investors for ESG returns and their reasons for making ESG investments vary widely. (20)
  • Meaningful ESG holdings are only found among investors who anticipate outperforming the market, even among those who stated that hedging or ethical concerns were their primary ESG investment motivations. (20)
  • 53% of global respondents believe the two largest obstacles to adopting sustainable investing are "poor quality or availability of ESG data and analytics" and "poor quality of sustainability investment reporting." (21)
  • In 2021, nearly half of the institutional investors from around the world who responded said they adopted ESG to make their investments match their organisation's values. (22)
  • A third of these investors started using ESG either to change how companies act or because their investment rules required it. (22)
  • Only a third (33%) of investors surveyed believe the ESG reports they see are of good quality, and less than half (40%) trust the ESG ratings and scores they receive. (23)
  • 82% of investors feel that ESG should be an integral part of a company's strategy. Additionally, 66% of them are more reassured that ESG concerns are being managed when a C-suite executive is responsible. (23)

Challenges of Implementing ESG Initiatives

For CFOs, Heads of Sustainability, and other business leaders, understanding the challenges of implementing ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) initiatives is crucial. About 24% of companies identify internal corporate silos as significant barriers to advancing their ESG agendas. This statistic highlights the organisational challenges that can impede the integration of sustainable practices.

  • 71% of chief executives take personal responsibility for ensuring their company's ESG strategies align with their customers' values. (16)
  • Only half of the firms are confident in their robust performance in environmental aspects. (17)
  • Key challenges in ESG investment include concerns over performance, a lack of comprehensive data, and fears of greenwashing. (11)
  • Although many leaders acknowledge the long-term advantages of ESG, 40% admit the continuous difficulty in balancing growth objectives with ESG commitments. (6)
  • 37% of executives highlight the lack of consistent reporting standards and the complexity involved as major obstacles in dealing with ESG issues. (6)


  • About 46% of investors highlight the lack of comprehensive ESG data as a significant challenge. (5)
  • The primary challenge for global investors in ESG investments is the inconsistency in scores from different ESG rating providers, as indicated by 25% of them. (18)


  • North American investors, in a higher proportion, emphasise the need for unified global standards (51%), the creation of ESG reporting guidelines (53%), and the disclosure of ESG risk factors (53%). (18)


  • A notable 88% of institutional investors surveyed express the belief that asset managers should take a more active role in creating new ESG-focused products. (1)
  • In 2021, 37% of market issuers and institutional investors worldwide said the main problem with increasing ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) investments was not having enough skilled people. (22)
  • A survey in 2021 found that 40% of executives in the US, Brazil, the UK, Germany, and India thought the biggest challenge for ESG was trying to balance it with their goals for growth. (22)

Final Thoughts

As we conclude, it's clear that ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) is not just a trend but a fundamental shift in how businesses operate and strategise. For CFOs and heads of sustainability, the statistics presented underscore the importance of integrating ESG into corporate ethos. From consumer preferences to investment decisions, ESG factors are reshaping the business landscape, offering both challenges and opportunities.

Navigating this ESG-centric world requires tools and insights that can turn sustainability goals into actionable strategies. This is where KEY ESG steps in, offering a platform that simplifies and enhances ESG management. For leaders looking to make informed, sustainable decisions, gain a competitive edge, and easily report under all of the relevant frameworks, exploring KEY ESG's solutions is a step in the right direction.

To delve deeper into the world of ESG and discover how KEY ESG can assist in your sustainability journey, we invite you to request a demo and explore more insights on our learning and insights page. Embrace the change, lead the way in sustainability, and drive your company towards a more responsible and profitable future.


  1. ESG-focused institutional investment seen soaring 84% to US$33.9 trillion in 2026, making up 21.5% of assets under management (PWC)
  2. Does ESG really matter—and why? (McKinsey)
  3. How much does the public care about ESG? (PWC)
  4. 25 ESG Statistics You Need to Know in 2023 (Perillon)
  5. ESG investing statistics 2023 (Bankrate)
  6. Beyond compliance: Consumers and employees want business to do more on ESG (PWC)
  7. The State of Green Business 2021 Positive Impact (S&P Global)
  8. Transparency to Transformation: A Chain Reaction (CDP)
  9. ESG as a work strategy (Marshmclennan)
  10. The Most Surprising ESG Statistics in 2024 (Gitnux)
  11. ESG Investing Statistics, Data & Trends 2024 (Investing in the Web)
  12. How Ready is Europe for the ESG Revolution? (Clearwater Analytics)
  13. Advancing environmental, social, and governance investing (Deloitte)
  14. ESG & Sustainability Policy worldwide (Carrots & Sticks)
  15. Shining a light on ESG attitudes and adoption (CapitalGroup)
  16. The numbers that are changing the world (KPMG)
  17. Global Survey Finds Businesses Increasing ESG Commitments, Spending (Navex)
  18. ESG Global Study 2022 (Harvard)
  19. 88% Of Consumers Want You To Help Them Make A Difference (Forbes)
  20. Four Facts About ESG Beliefs and Investor Portfolios (NBER)
  21. Globally Consistent ESG Reporting (Deloitte)
  22. ESG investing - statistics & facts (Statista)
  23. PwC: ‘Only 29% of investors say current company reporting adequately describes ESG’s impact on business performance’ (PWC)

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