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Companies in Poland Lagging in ESG Reporting – Only 19% Ready for New EU Requirements

BUSINESSCompanies in Poland Lagging in ESG Reporting - Only 19% Ready for New EU Requirements

48% of surveyed companies declare that they have previously published ESG reports. However, only 19% are technologically prepared to meet the challenge of sustainable development reporting according to CSRD and ESRS. 25% of the surveyed entities state that they have completed or are currently undertaking a significant number of processes related to sustainable development reporting, and 20% declare that their business strategy includes clearly defined sustainability goals. For companies with foreign headquarters, this figure rises to 67%. Additionally, 22% of surveyed enterprises report having conducted ESG risk assessments in their supply chain, and 24% indicate that they calculate their carbon footprint. These findings come from a study conducted by PwC Poland titled “The Bumpy Road to Sustainable Development: Technology, Strategy, and Reporting, or ESG in Consumer Goods and Retail.”

ESG regulations (environmental, social, and governance issues) and evolving financing trends are increasingly impacting the consumer goods and retail sector. As our study shows, companies in the sector are increasingly incorporating sustainability, social responsibility, and transparent management into their operations. New regulations, alongside consumer expectations, significantly drive enterprises to take actions aimed at reducing their environmental impact and promoting fair social practices. This can lead to product innovations, improvements in supply chain management, and the implementation of transparent communication practices to gain the trust of customers and investors.

“The consumer goods and retail sector is particularly sensitive to sustainability issues. Expectations towards companies are high—today’s consumers, although still price-sensitive, are paying more attention to environmental and social factors. Their choices are more conscious than a few years ago. Numerous regulations are also coming into effect, emphasizing transparent actions and greater corporate responsibility. Therefore, today, if companies want to maintain a competitive edge and continue to grow robustly, they cannot ignore ESG issues. However, the consumer goods sector still has a lot to accomplish in this area,” says Mieczysław Gonta, Partner at PwC Poland, leader of the retail and consumer goods team at PwC CEE and PwC Poland.

Many enterprises have a long way to go to be fully prepared to meet ESG regulatory requirements. Long-term engagement in sustainability issues is becoming not just a matter of image but also a business strategy that can bring financial benefits and strengthen the market position of companies in the consumer goods and retail sector.

The growing emphasis on sustainability is not solely the result of actions by investors or regulators—consumers also play a significant role in elevating the importance of ESG initiatives. Today’s consumers are exceptionally aware and often concerned about the environmental and social impact not only of the products they use but also of the companies that produce them. Increasingly, they expect companies to act responsibly and transparently and actively pursue sustainability and social responsibility. Consequently, companies are incorporating ESG factors into their business strategies, committing to reducing their carbon footprint, increasing diversity, or improving practices in managing supplier relationships.

“Sustainable development is still not adequately integrated into business strategies. Only 25% of surveyed companies have completed or are currently undertaking significant processes related to sustainable development reporting. This is a worryingly small percentage, especially considering the upcoming regulations mandating such reporting, such as the EU’s CSRD directive. Furthermore, 81% of respondents are currently not technologically prepared for such reporting,” says Tomasz Barańczyk, Partner at PwC Poland, leader of ESG initiatives at PwC Poland.

Failing to meet customer expectations poses the risk of reduced market share, as consumers increasingly align their purchases with their values. Unethical actions also pose a reputational risk, as social media allows customers to quickly hold companies accountable, calling for boycotts or spreading unfavorable information. Consumers thus play a crucial role in the ESG area, forcing companies to prioritize sustainability issues and regularly report on them.

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