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The Deloitte analysis provided other valuable insights on financial services firms’ views on data and assurance:

“Most (80%) of our respondents say their financial institutions are prepared to disclose details about their Scope 2 greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. However, only half as many (40%) are prepared to disclose Scope 1 GHG emissions, and half of that (19%) say they’re prepared to disclose Scope 3 GHG emissions… [but] 34% indicate they don’t trust its accuracy or completeness [of their ESG data]…

Secondary data is also a main concern. Financial institutions can ask data providers to get secondary information from organizations in the firm’s ecosystem, such as those they invest in or hire as service providers. But in the absence of an assurance or verification, it can be difficult for firms to gauge the accuracy of this type of information…

Nearly all respondents say they plan to obtain assurance in the next reporting cycle. Close to half (48%) indicate their companies will seek assurance for the first time. Another 48% say they will continue to obtain assurance, although it’s unclear what level of assurance they’re getting today.”

The low percentage of financial services firms ready to disclosure Scope 1 emissions is interesting. Normally for manufacturing, Scope 1 are the easiest emissions to estimate and prepare for disclosure. Deloitte suggests that the low number for financial services may be due to the fact that “Scope 1 GHG emissions aren’t as straightforward to measure for financial services as they are for certain other industries that make significant use of fuel inputs.” 

I will be watching assurance statements that are issued, given the concern expressed about secondary data. Companies will be relying on and reporting that data, so it should be in scope of the assurance in some manner.

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The Editor

Lawrence Heim has been practicing in the field of ESG management for almost 40 years. He began his career as a legal assistant in the Environmental Practice of Vinson & Elkins working for a partner who is nationally recognized and an adjunct professor of environmental law at the University of Texas Law School. He moved into technical environmental consulting with ENSR Consulting & Engineering at the height of environmental regulatory development, working across a range of disciplines. He was one… View Profile