65% of the Russell 1000® Index Published Sustainability Reports in 2019

39% of Companies in the Smallest Half by Market Cap of Russell 1000 Index 
Published Sustainability Reports in 2019 - Up From 34% in 2018  

New York, New York — October 26, 2020 — Governance & Accountability Institute (G&A Institute), a leading consulting and research firm focused on ESG and sustainability, issued its 2020 Russell 1000 Research Report on sustainability reporting trends of the companies in the Russell 1000 Index®.

  • G&A Institute’s research team determined that 65% of the companies included in the Russell 1000 published sustainability reports in 2019, an increase from 60% in 2018. 
  • The researchers found that 90% of the largest 500 companies by market cap in the index published sustainability reports in 2019, an increase from 86% in 2018. 

  • The number of companies publishing reports in the smaller 500 companies by market cap also increased, with 39% publishing reports in 2019, up from 34% in 2018.    


This research by G&A Institute on the Russell 1000 expands on our annual studies, conducted for the last nine years, of sustainability reporting trends of the companies included in the S&P 500® Index.  It is important to note that the S&P 500® Index and Russell 1000® Index overlap, as they are market capitalization weighted indices that contain roughly the largest 500 and 1000 publicly-traded companies in the U.S., respectively.  This means that the largest half of the Russell 1000® generally mimics the S&P 500®.

Hank Boerner, Chairman & Co-Founder of G&A Institute, said, "The dramatic increase in sustainability reporting that we have seen over the past five years in large-cap U.S. companies is beginning to be seen in smaller companies, as represented in our research on the smaller half of the Russell 1000 Index.  Public companies of all sizes are responding to increased adoption of ESG and sustainable investing strategies by institutional investors, including pension funds and mutual funds.”

Louis Coppola, EVP & Co-Founder of G&A Institute, said, "While sustainability reporting by mid-cap and small-cap public companies has lagged behind that of large-cap companies, our research shows that reporting by smaller companies is accelerating.  We expect this trend to continue and we look forward to continuing our research on important trends in sustainability reporting.”

Significant findings of G&A Institute’s 2020 Russell 1000 Research Report include:

  • 65% of Russell 1000 companies published sustainability reports in 2019
  • 47% of the reporting companies used the widely accepted GRI Standards
  • 23% of the reporting companies in some way referenced or aligned with SASB
  • 14% of the reporting companies mentioned or aligned with the TCFD, while 4% of those reported with detailed alignment
  • 41% responded to CDP Climate Change questionnaire
  • 32% of the reporting companies presented alignments with the SDGs


 For the complete G&A Institute Russell 1000 Research Report with comparisons of the smallest and largest halves of the index, please complete the form on this page to download your copy of the report. 

 

Let us walk you through what we found.

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In the just-completed 2020 research, examining 2019 reporting activities, G&A determined that 90% -- 9-of-10 companies in the S&P 500 were publishing a sustainability report. 

The 2020 research report features a breakdown of non-reporters by sector, those utilizing commonly used frameworks and standards (GRI, SASB, TCFD), those aligning with the UN SDGs, and examines trends in external assurance and survey reporting (CDP, CSA/DJSI). 

An example of this year’s research findings includes:

  • 51% of the S&P 500 reporting companies use GRI
  • 14% of S&P 500 reporters presented alignment with SASB
  • 5% of S&P 500 reporters presented alignment with TCFD
  • 36% of S&P 500 reporters presented alignment with specific UN SDGs
  • 29% of S&P 500 reporters utilized external assurance
  • 65% of S&P 500 companies respond to CDP

To download and read the full report, complete the form to the right.