PwC: Nine in ten investors doubt corporate sustainability claims

AI was also front of mind for investors surveyed

Image by Jarrett Tilford from Pixabay


PwC has found that 94% of investors believe corporate reporting on sustainability performance contains unsupported claims, also known as ‘greenwashing’.

The finding, which was up from 87% in 2022, was part of PwC’s 2023 Global Investor Survey. The third annual edition of the survey took in responses from 345 investors and analysts across geographies, asset classes and investment approaches.

PwC also found that while there is scepticism on reporting accuracy, sustainability remains a priority, with three quarters of investors (75%) saying it is important to their investment decisions.

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More than half (57%) said they would back moves to bring greater clarity and consistency in sustainability reporting.

Turning to another hot topic, and 61% of respondents said faster adoption of AI is “very” or “extremely” important. Including responses noting “moderately important”, it was 85%.

Nearly two thirds of investors identified technological change in general (59%) as the factor most likely to influence how companies create value over the next three years.

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Those concerned about broad climate change risk rose to 32% from 22% last year, putting climate on par with cyber risks.

James Chalmers, global assurance at PwC UK, said: “We are moving from a period of awareness raising around the importance of climate and technological change to a time where investors are increasingly asking specific and tough questions about how companies are addressing those issues in their strategy, how they assess risk and opportunity, and what is truly material for them.

“In this context, corporate reporting needs to continue to evolve so it provides reliable, consistent and comparable information investors, and other stakeholders, can rely on.”

Nadja Picard, global reporting leader, PwC Germany, added: “We are seeing significant steps towards more consistent reporting from companies around climate change, however there is a need for improvement.

“All the while, investors are calling for greater engagement around how companies manage the opportunities and risks of new technologies, particularly generative AI, as new technologies increasingly drive business transformation and investment.”

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