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What is ESG? And what could be missing from your reporting?

September 14, 2022

When it comes to sustainability, organizations have advanced from using paper straws to embedding sustainability into their business practices, processes, and strategy. Chances are that if your company isn’t focused on sustainability, it might be falling behind competition in a variety of ways. So, what is ESG reporting? 

In the first of a two-part blog and podcast series, I joined Tim Bergeron, who is our associate general counsel of corporate governance, to introduce the topic of ESG and share why it has become a business-critical topic. 

Watch our Benefits episode below. 

What is ESG reporting?

ESG reporting is the disclosure of environmental, social, and corporate governance data. Its purpose is to shed light on an organization’s ESG activities while improving transparency and inspiring other organizations to do the same. 

Reporting is an effective way to demonstrate that you are meeting your goals and that your ESG projects are genuine. This allows investors, employees, and consumers to screen investments, align their investments to their values, and avoid companies that may contribute to environmental and social risk.

ESG reports can help organizations expand their narrative. For example, at WEX, the narrative we aim to create and the impact we look to have on the environment around us is important, whether that be the physical environment or the communities we are a part of. How do we take care of business? How do we take care of our people? And, what does it mean to be a WEXer? An ESG report is an intersectional process that helps create transparency around your organization’s narrative. 

Why are ESG reports trending?

There are many different reasons why this space is expanding and continues to do so. The market is putting pressure on companies to release ESG reports and related disclosures. A lot of this pressure is being driven by investors. Information from ESG reports allows investors to analyze a business from a strategic and risk perspective. 

There is increased interest for businesses to be transparent on how they treat their employees, the environment, and their community involvement. These reports are a great way to discuss and celebrate the kind of work that is happening.

It can be intimidating to get started on your organization’s ESG journey. Authenticity around ESG reporting is important for organizations to understand. As you start your journey, look at your business from an ESG lens. What are the extent of its activities? And, what does ESG mean to your organization? Other ESG reports can be great inspiration for what metrics are out there, but authenticity is important, otherwise the ESG report is just a series of boxes to check.

WEX’s ESG journey

In 2021, WEX conducted our first comprehensive ESG assessment and established an internal ESG committee to further the development and implementation of our ESG strategy. In order to highlight WEX’s people, culture, social impact, and environmental innovation and stewardship, our ESG committee is made up of people from varying departments. Members range from our legal team to our HR team to IT in order to gain a full perspective of the ways and means of our organization. 

The exciting part is, it’s not just HR, it’s not just legal, it’s many people collaborating to gain a full scope of the organization and how our products are impacting and benefiting consumers and businesses. This committee dove into WEX’s aspirations as an organization to decipher our ESG frameworks and what we want to be able to measure in the future. 

Having now published a second version of our ESG report, WEX has received positive feedback and engagement both internally and externally. Laura explained that “WEX employees have pointed to the report to say this is how WEX does business and this is what it means to be a WEXer.” Externally, it allows us to be transparent to those who might be looking at WEX from differing standpoints including angles from recruitment, potential customers, and partners. 

Discover how WEX is committed to building a diverse talent base, driving environmental innovation, minimizing environmental impact, and enhancing the health and wellbeing of communities, customers, and employees. 

Download WEX’s 2021 ESG Report.

The information in this blog post is for educational purposes only. It is not legal or tax advice. For legal or tax advice, you should consult your own counsel. 

WEX receives compensation from some of the merchants identified in its blog posts. By linking to these products, WEX is not endorsing these products.

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