Even as businesses continue to grapple with the fallout from COVID-19, bottom-up pressure has continued to build from large asset managers which are requiring companies to adopt a standardised ESG reporting framework to better manage environmental risk. 

In response to this pressure, companies worldwide have been implementing voluntary ESG reporting frameworks, such as the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).

However, these ESG standards diverge in their application. SASB boasts guidelines for how all companies should report financially material ESG concerns across 77 industries. In comparison to SASB, the GRI requires additional disclosures beyond only material ESG risks. Whereas TCFD, that was established in 2015 in response to the G20 and with influence from Mark Carney and Michael Bloomberg, applies primarily to financial companies only.

Although there are new issues for companies in the wake of COVID-19, large asset managers have stressed that their calls for ESG reporting will not be put on hold and that they will still expect progress reports on compliance with these ESG standards throughout 2020, or face scrutiny.