September 18, 2020

SERVICES  |  RESEARCH  |  EVENTS  |  WEBINARS  |  BLOG  |  ARCHIVE

 

Lively Discussions: The Move Toward Harmonized Corporate ESG / Sustainability Reporting

There are lively discussions going on, centered on improving publicly-traded company disclosure and reporting – and especially ESG reporting…that is, storytelling about the company’s “non-financials” (in accounting-speak). 

The proliferation of ESG / sustainability reporting frameworks, standards, information platforms, industry guidance, stock exchange guidance and much more has been astounding in recent years.

We think of all this as about the organizing of the storytelling about a company’s sustainability journey and what the enterprise has accomplished.  And why the story matters to society…to investors, employees, customers, suppliers…and other stakeholders.

And it has a been a long journey to the state of today’s expanding corporate ESG disclosure.

The start of mandating of periodic financial and business mandated disclosure goes back to the 1930s with passage of landmark federal legislation & adopted implementation (compliance) rules for publicly-traded companies in the United States.   Corporate financial disclosure in concept is all about providing shareholders with the information they need to make buy-sell-hold decisions. 

The sturdy foundations of mandated corporate disclosure in the U.S. are the laws passed after the 1929 stock market crash – the 1933 Securities Act and 1934 Exchange Act.  These laws and the bodies of rules deriving from them have been constantly updated over the years, including with Sarbanes Oxley legislation in 2002 and Dodd Frank in 2010. These mandate or guide and otherwise provide the rules-of-the-road for financial disclosure for company managements. 

Disclosure has steadily moved well beyond the numbers – Sarbanes-Oxley updated the 1930’s laws and addressed many aspects of corporate governance, for example.

Voluntary Disclosure & Reporting – ESG Issues & Topics
Over the past 40 years, beyond the financials, corporate voluntary non-financial disclosure has been steadily increasing, as investors first embraced “socially responsible investing” and moved on to sustainable & responsible & impact investing in the 21st Century. 

Asset owner and manager requests for information from publicly-traded companies in portfolio steadily expanded in the depth and breadth of topic and issue areas that institutional investors are focused on – and that companies now address in ESG disclosures. 

Today, investor interest in ESG / sustainability and related topics areas is widespread throughout asset classes – equities, equity-focused products such as ETFs, fixed-income instruments, and now credit risk, options and futures, fixed assets (such as real estate), and more.

With today’s dramatic increase in corporate sustainability & ESG reporting, the maturation of reporting frameworks and standards to help address the internal need for better organizing non-financial data and information and accompanying ESG financial disclosure -- and all of this in trying meeting their investor demands – corporate executives find that while there are more resources available to the company, there is also more confusion in the process.   Investors agree.

Complaints:  Lack of Comparability, Confusion, Demand for Change
The result of increasing demand by a widening range of investors for accurate, detailed corporate ESG information and the related proliferation of reporting frameworks and standards has resulted in confusion among investors, stakeholders and companies as to what is important and what is frill. 

Especially as corporate managements embraced various elements of the available frameworks and standards and industry guidance and ESG ratings for their voluntary ESG reporting.

So where do we go from here?  In our selection of Top Stories for you, we bring you news from important players in the ESG reporting process as they attempt to move in the direction of more uniform, comprehensive, meaningful and decision-ready corporate ESG reporting. That investors can rely on. 

The news for you is coming from GRI, SASB, GSSB, IIRC, CDSB, and CDP (among others) – all working to get on the same page.  To benefit corporate reporters – and the users of the reports, especially capital market players.  Because in the end, ESG excellence is all about winning in the competition for access to capital. Accurate, timely, comprehensive comparable ESG information is key!

 

 

UPCOMING EVENTS

___________________

G&A IS THE GRI DATA PARTNER
FOR USA, UK & IRELAND

 

Top Stories

 

Sustainability Standard Setters & Policy Makers
SEC, SASB, GRI, IIRC, FSB-TCFD

More News coverage about comprehensive reporting announcement

MORE Sustainability Standard Setters & Policy Makers

 

ESG / Sustainable & Responsible Investment
Asset Owners & Managers, Ratings Agencies

MORE ESG / Sustainable & Responsible Investment

 

Corporate Sustainability / ESG
Disclosure, Reporting, Corporate Initiatives

MORE Corporate Sustainability / ESG

 

Stakeholders That Matter
Developments, Trends, Corporate Actions Affecting Stakeholders

MORE Stakeholders That Matter


Sustainability Data in Focus
Developments in Data, Research Trends

MORE Sustainability Data That Matters


Global Sustainability : Forward Momentum!

News & Developments of Note

MORE Global Sustainability : Forward Momentum!



 

The Sustainability Highlights eNewsletter is prepared by Governance & Accountability Instittute, Inc. based on continuous monitoring of trends and developments in Sustainability and ESG. Copyrights for other providers are noted where appropriate. Please credit the source if quoted. Content © 2009 - 2020 - All Rights Reserved.

Governance & Accountability Instiute is the "Sustainability Headquarters™" for clients in the corporate, investment, public and social sectors. Based in New York, G&A is a for-profit consulting organization providing a range of value-added strategies, services and resources related to ESG & sustainability to clients in the corporate and capital markets communities. For G&A's full range of services, click on each of the links: Sustainability / ESG Consulting Services, Communications & Recognition Services, Investor Relation Services. For more information, visit www.ga-institute.com or contact us at 646.430.8230 or info@ga-institute.com.