Flash Reports

In this inaugural benchmark study, G&A found that 60% of the [total] Russell 1000® published sustainability reports in 2018. Of importance to consider is roughly the top half (by market cap) of companies in the Russell 1000® are the S&P 500®, which the Institute analyzes each year. When we now examine the bottom half in the Russell 1000®, beyond the S&P 500, we find that only 34% of these companies are publishing sustainability reports.

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The G&A research team determined that 86% of the companies in the S&P 500 Index® published sustainability or corporate responsibility reports in the year 2018. Entering 2019, just 14% of the S&P 500 declined to publish sustainability reports. The practice of reporting by almost 500 companies is holding steady with minor increases year after year.

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“Sustainability reporting” rose dramatically from 2011, when roughly 20% of companies published reports, to 72% just three years later in 2013. From 2013 to 2017, the frequency of reporting has increased each year, now up to 85% of companies reporting in 2017. This enhanced and expanded corporate disclosure and structured reporting underscores the importance and value of considering corporate ESG issues when planning growth strategies, allocating capital, managing resources and communicating results to stakeholders such as customers, employees, and shareholders.

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In the sixth annual monitoring and analysis of S&P 500 Index® company sustainability reporting, just completed by the Governance & Accountability Institute research team, the findings are that eighty-two percent (82%) of the companies included in this important investment benchmark published a sustainability or corporate responsibility report in the year 2016.

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G&A Institute charted the rapid and significant uptake in corporate sustainability reporting among the 500 companies -- over the years, sustainability reporting rose from just 20% of the companies reporting in 2011 to 81% in 2015. This huge body of corporate reporting underscores the importance of setting strategies, measuring and managing ESG issues in response to growing stakeholder and shareholder expectations -- and in many cases, demands for such reporting, including information requests from major customers.

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Sustainability reporting has become the clear norm in the U.S. capital markets as represented by our four year study of the S&P 500*. Over the last four years there has been significant uptake in sustainability reporting from just 20% in 2011 to 75% in 2015, demonstrating the necessity of measuring and managing ESG issues in response to growing stakeholder and stockholder demands.

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