ESG Reporting: Companies in Canada
This article provides a brief overview of the PwC Canadian ESG Reporting Outlook 2023. It is based on an assessment of the ESG reports of the 250 largest publicly traded Canadian companies, which include several major mining companies.
These include Barrick Gold, Agnico Eagle, Franco Nevada and Teck Resources, among others.
The analytical framework looks at a number of variables, including strategies, goals, performance measures, certifications, etc.
Before we continue, here are a few important reminders.
ESG: the acronym refers to the management of a company's environmental, social and governance issues.
ESG reports: increasingly required by certain stakeholders - shareholders, employees, regulators, etc. to provide information on the company's environmental, social and governance performance.
Expectations that will grow in the future
Indeed, the Canadian Securities Administration, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and the European Commission have introduced (or are in the process of introducing) ESG disclosure requirements.
For example, on the environmental side alone, 30 countries, including 15 G20 countries, have already agreed to the recommendations of the Financial Stability Board's (FSB) Task Force on Climate Change Disclosure (TCFD).
The goal is to adopt, on a voluntary basis, a common framework for reporting climate-related financial risks.
How are mining companies doing?
The ranking table of 250 companies.
Not surprisingly, ESG issues are gaining momentum, but there is still much work to be done:
77% of Canadian companies surveyed did not include TCFD principles in their ESG reports, a clear sign of a lack of preparation.
38% do not discuss ESG in their financial reports.
59% publish only positive results.
73% have no external certification of their ESG reports.
Still a minority club, but disciplined
Companies that publish their ESG results are disciplined. Most use international standards, including TCFD principles.
And, in many cases, the financial function of their organization plays an important role in reporting, ensuring rigor in data collection and monitoring.
In its analysis, PwC looked at ESG reports from ten sectors:
1. banking, financial services and real estate
2. Construction, transportation, and industrial manufacturing
Electricity and utilities 6.
8. Retail markets
For each of these sectors, the study authors identified ten key variables related to effective management of ESG issues.
For brevity, here are the overall results for all sectors, showing how well Canadian companies perform in these ten variables.
Note that the PwC report presents results for each sector of analysis.
Of the top 250 publicly traded Canadian companies...
30% report a net zero goal.
23% structure their reports according to TCFD standards.
50% report historical data for each metric.
22% report targets for each indicator.
26% set specific targets.
27% set specific timelines for achieving goals.
44% describe progress toward goals.
58% participate in external standard-setting initiatives.
27% receive external certification on certain ESG issues.
62% include ESG information in official company documents.
Other ESG Issues.
The PwC study looked at four other issues of particular interest to some stakeholders: climate, nature-biodiversity, inclusion-diversity, and reconciliation with indigenous peoples.
Many companies are counting their greenhouse gases, but commitments are slow to be met.
In fact, only 30% of companies have a net-zero goal. And less than 15% are considering climate change and creating value for their company.
The mining industry lags even further behind, with only 16% of companies having a net-zero goal and less than 11% presenting the risks and opportunities associated with climate change.
Nature and biodiversity
A country's economy relies heavily on natural resources and biodiversity.
International organizations call this the "natural capital" of business. However, less than 50% of the companies surveyed value their dependence on ecosystems.
Only 21 percent of mining companies include information on their strategies and the impact of their activities on natural capital - for example, the impact of their activities on water or air quality.
Inclusiveness and diversity
Canadian companies' sensitivity to these issues is growing: the number of companies reporting LGBTQ+ inclusion policies increased from 21% in 2021 to 28% in 2022.