The ESG Mindmap

Ascentys ESG mindmap (c)

A growing Ecosystem

As sustainability & ESG are on their way to become mainstream, we see news of recent regulations, converging organizations, changing reporting standards every other day. These ESG news are usually complex, fast changing, multi-layered, and they involve several parties. With so many different institutions, regulatory bodies, associations, and frameworks, it is difficult to keep up with the true meaning of recent and upcoming developments. We need a clear understanding of the interconnected nature of the sustainability world. The following mindmap will help you visualize the relationship between the major sustainability organizations and read the events without confusion.

The aim of this exercise is to simplify the complex nature of this world. Undoubtedly there are more organizations we could show, and more arrows we could draw between them to visualize all the relationships, but it would make the mindmap overcrowded and useless.

Navigating the Mindmap

Though there are no clear cuts between the organizations, on a high-level, we can say that the UN bodies are placed on the top left corner. We mentioned the major sustainability players of UN, such as UN Environmental Programme, UNEP Financial Initiative, IPCC, UN Principles for Responsible Investment, UN Global Compact, UN Framework Convention for Climate Change and COP26.

European organizations are at the bottom of our mindmap. We talk about NFRD, CSRD (Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, European Green Deal, EFRAG, EU Taxonomy, Sustainable Finance Action Plan, SFDR and a few more.

The rest, all other international organizations are placed on the right side. There we see the merger of SASB and IIRC, creating VRF, then its consolidation into IFRS and ISSB, as CDSB did. We also talk about Science Based Targets Initiative, CDP, IOSCO, WBCSD, GRI standards, GHG Protocol, and TCFD.


ESG world keeps evolving, new reporting standards are being created, organizations are merging, and some are splitting. We will keep reflecting the ecosystem’s dynamism in our mindmap.
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