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Ilze ZUMENTE Jūlija BISTROVA Nataļja LĀCE

Abstract

Sustainability has taken over the corporate world as wider disclosure and increased commitment is expected around environmental, social, and governance (ESG) matters from companies globally. Firms operating across emerging economies such as Latvia are no exception, and several studies have recently pointed towards increasing ESG consciousness in the Baltics and in the overall Central and Eastern European region – both in stock listed companies as well as financiers.
Evidence on self-evaluation, motivation, and challenges from the perspectives of these companies themselves in an overall aggregated form is currently still missing. This study, therefore, aims to capture the ESG adoption and implementation practices of companies operating in Latvia.
By analyzing the survey data of 74 medium to large enterprises of various industries and ownership structures, the results indicate an average degree of ESG factor implementation of 5.45 out of 10. Higher scores were attributed to stock-listed, foreign corporation-owned, and state-owned companies, as well as companies with gender-diverse management boards and supervisory boards in place. Sustainability disclosure, especially according to recognized standards, is performed by only 11% of respondents, signaling inconsistencies in materiality assessments and free preference regarding the factors of disclosure, leading to greenwashing concerns.

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