CECP Global Exchange Report Finds 98% of Surveyed Companies Use Voluntary Standards for ESG Reporting

Almost Half (44%) Have Set Net-Zero Goals
Jan 23, 2023 2:55 PM ET

NEW YORK, January 23, 2023 /3BL Media/ - Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose© (CECP), in collaboration with the CECP Global Exchange, released the Global Impact at Scale: 2022 Edition. The study highlights international trends in corporate purpose strategies such as tracking progress on environmental, social, governance (ESG) factors; commitment to the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDG); community investment; employee engagement; and more. Notably, the research underscores the continued rise of ESG integration into core businesses strategies around the world and illuminates where gains are being made and those where continued effort is needed.

Key findings of the report include:


  • When asked whether staff members working on “S” (social) and “E” (environmental) issues within ESG worked jointly or separately, 83% of companies indicated that they worked jointly or somewhat jointly, up from 61% in 2020.
  • The amount of ESG data and nonfinancial information companies report publicly continues to grow; a strong majority of companies (76%) increased the amount of publicly reported ESG data in 2021 from the prior year (61%).
  • A strong majority of companies (98%) use some form of voluntary standards for ESG reporting, with the Global Reporting Index (GRI) used by 63%.
  • Half of the companies indicated that ESG data is helping attract ESG investors.
  • 54% of companies find measuring the social areas of ESG more challenging than others.
  • 44% of survey respondents have set net-zero goals.

Community Investment

  • Median total community spend grew by 13% from $3.55M in 2019 to $4M in 2021
  • Giving as a percentage of pre-tax profit dropped by 23%, from .47% in 2019 to .03% in 2021
  • 54% of global companies have at least one foundation; 32% of companies with a foundation have more than one

Employee Engagement

  • 57% of companies offer paid volunteer time
  • 67% of companies are increasing their investment in healthy lifestyles and wellbeing of their employees as turnover increases and employee engagement drops.


  • 67% of companies are seeing DEI resources on the rise, while representation of women, minorities, and people with disabilities in the workforce and leadership continues to lag.

Nearly 200 companies in 15 countries and regions with a median revenue of US$9.4 billion contributed insights to the global report. Based on a survey of 2021 data, the study illustrates the continued impact of global health crises on employees and workers, growing commitments to address climate change through setting net zero targets, and continued efforts to improve workforce representation, inclusion and belonging through allocating more DE&I resources. For example, Técnicas Reunidas’ Women in Engineering Initiative in the Middle East began in 2019 and provides training programs for women in the United Arab Emirates. The program promotes the employability of women and raises their profile within the engineering sector. Técnicas Reunidas is a Spanish-based general contractor that provides training in STEM including an introduction to ESG concepts, develops local talent, and breaks gender stereotypes by creating an inclusive and diverse workplace.

The data from this report shows it has been a hallmark year for companies responding to external stakeholders’ needs and that they are accelerating towards fully aligning ESG with a company’s overall business strategy. “As companies around the world respond to heightened stakeholder expectations, ESG programs continue to evolve and align and we see organizational structures and operations adapting accordingly,” said Beth Gallagher, Director Corporate Insights, CECP. “From the pacesetters in Europe, to corporations in emerging economies, we see a move toward integrating ESG within a company’s core business strategy and demonstrating its viability to global investors—a good indicator of this is that a strong majority of businesses around the world use GRI or other voluntary standards for reporting.”

The CECP Global Exchange (GX) partners are in 16 countries and regions and serve companies by building a body of knowledge on locally relevant corporate citizenship best practices through information sharing and collaborative research. The GX acts as a catalyst to enhance and advance corporate social investment strategies. Other GX partners include: Business in the Community in the U.K., Comunitas in Brazil, The Conference Board of Canada in Canada, CSRone in Chinese Taipei, Corporate Responsibility Türkiye in Türkiye, Dynamo Academy in Italy, Fundación SERES in Spain, Kansai Economic Federation in Japan, Korea Productivity Center in the Republic of Korea, Maala in Israel, Russian Donors Forum in the Russian Federation, Samhita in India, SynTao in Mainland China and Hong Kong, Trialogue in South Africa, and Wider Sense in Germany.

CECP Media Contact
Katie Leasor

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About Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose 
Chief Executives for Corporate Purpose® (CECP) is a trusted advisor to companies on their corporate purpose journeys to build long-term sustainable value and tell their impact stories. Working with CEOs and leaders in corporate responsibility, sustainability, foundations, investor relations, finance, legal, and communications, CECP shares actionable insights with its CEO-led coalition to address stakeholder needs.

Founded in 1999 by actor and philanthropist Paul Newman and other business leaders, CECP is a movement of more than 225 of the world’s largest companies that represent $7.7 trillion in revenues, $37.4 billion in total community investment, 14 million employees, 22.5 million hours of employee engagement, and $21 trillion in assets under management. CECP helps companies transform their strategy by providing benchmarking and analysis, convenings, and strategy and communications in the areas of societal/community investment, employee engagement, environmental social governance/sustainable business, diversity equity inclusion, and telling the story.