ESG Monitor key findings:

We expect businesses and governments to step up their commitment to environmental and social issues.

Four in five Polish respondents (82%) are pessimistic about the future of their country, according to the global SEC Newgate ESG Monitor report. According to the study, Poles currently see addressing the rising cost of living (41%), strengthening the economy (33%) and ensuring secure and affordable energy and fuel supplies (32%) as the nation’s top priorities. Only 8% of respondents said to have a good understanding of what “ESG” is, and 22% had heard the term but were not sure what it meant exactly. 

SEC Newgate ESG Monitor is a global survey of more than 12,000 respondents from 12 countries. The main goal of the report is to monitor the awareness and interest in ESG issues, especially in the context of consumer behaviour, perceived performance of governments and companies, as well as attitudes and activism on ESG issues. This year’s edition of the report was the first to also include Poland.

“Our second annual SEC Newgate ESG Monitor shows that action on ESG issues is a must for businesses around the world. ESG, despite global geopolitical issues, remains a key issue of our time. People, especially younger generations, expect the business community to use its leadership and power to drive positive change and address core issues like climate change and social inequality,” says Fiorenzo Tagliabue, SEC Newgate CEO and founder. 

Last year’s inaugural SEC Newgate ESG Monitor revealed communities’ rising expectations of governments and businesses regarding environmental protection, social issues and better corporate governance (ESG). This year’s results reflect concerns over the war in Ukraine, the impact of the pandemic, rising energy prices, a sharp rise in inflation and the rising cost of living. 

Just under half (46%) of all respondents surveyed under the SEC Newgate ESG Monitor had a positive view of their country’s future. Among these slightly pessimistic global perspectives, there are clear differences between the 12 countries surveyed, with Poles being the most pessimistic: 82% of respondents believe that things in Poland are headed in the wrong direction, the highest negative result of all countries. 

The conclusion that emerges from the study particularly clearly is that, despite last year’s economic and geopolitical turbulences, societies worldwide continue to firmly expect action on ESG issues. Most consumers believe that it is the governments and corporations that should bear the cost of ESG performance. Nevertheless, a significant percentage would be willing (or so they claim) to pay more for services and products by companies with stronger ESG performance. Respondents believe that business performance is much more important than their personal efforts, which translates into their purchase decisions.

The biggest drivers of how a company’s ESG performance is perceived are environmental issues, with 17% of all respondents and as many as 34% of Polish respondents finding them most important. The following two top priorities were climate change (11% globally and only 1% in Poland), as well as workers’ conditions and pay (7% globally and 10% in Poland). 

Globally, the highest-ranking sectors in terms of ESG performance were healthcare, supermarkets, and education & training, followed closely by technology & telecommunications, agriculture, and hospitality. The chemical and mining industries were given the lowest score. In Poland, the best-rated industries in terms of ESG are online marketplaces & e-commerce, technology & telecommunications, as well as banking & financial services.

However, the community’s knowledge of companies’ ESG activities and performance is still limited, with participants reporting a lower-than-average sense of being informed. Respondents from the United Arab Emirates, Singapore and Hong Kong were most satisfied with access to information while all European countries under study indicate a lack of information. The score was 4.4 out of 10 in Poland, 3.5 in Sweden and 3.7 in Germany.

Zofia Bugajna-Kasdepke
Woman to Watch in 2022 on the Forbes Women Power Rising List (Poland). Heroine of the "Women of Success" series in the Vogue Poland magazine.
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