ESG Report 2024: The rise of social sustainability

Discover the factors driving social sustainability up the boardroom agenda. 

orange and blue spiral

ESG across news, business and government agendas is often dominated by the Environment. This pillar of sustainability presents the most tangible issue to address within the mêlé of ESG risks and where public consciousness has most recently been focused. 

However, at S-RM we have witnessed an uptick in questions capturing more of the Social issues within ESG that previously resided further down the corporate and investor agenda. Is this subtle shift an indication of where ESG is considered a growing risk and/or value creation opportunity? We surveyed 550 corporates and 200 investors across the UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands and the US to find out. 

We discovered that both investor and corporate audiences predict increases in budget towards tackling the issues within the Social pillar in the next five years. And, while the Environment continues to dominate focus, there is a growing consensus on the importance of the Social pillar driven by legislation, stakeholder pressure, and increasing public prominence of Social issues such as Human Rights and Responsible Supply Chains.  

S-RM ESG Report 2024 - Two Column 1 copy

Key findings at a glance


of companies expect their ESG budgets to rise in the next five years, with 'Social' receiving a greater allocation.


of companies feel they lack full ESG maturity.



of European investors and corporates do not feel fully prepared for forthcoming ESG regulations.


of companies do not include ‘responsible supply chains’ within their ESG programmes.

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