92% of S&P 500® Companies and 70% of Russell 1000® Companies Published Sustainability Reports in 2020, G&A Institute Research Shows

10th Anniversary Report Finds All-Time Highs for Sustainability Reporting of Largest U.S. Public Companies

NEW YORK, Nov. 16, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc. (G&A), a leading consulting firm on corporate sustainability and ESG, today announced the findings of its 2021 Sustainability Reporting in Focus research on sustainability reporting trends among companies in the S&P 500® Index and the Russell 1000® Index. The report marks the 10th anniversary of G&A’s research series tracking the publication of sustainability reports by the largest U.S. public companies.

Key findings of G&A’s 2021 Sustainability Reporting in Focus report, focusing on the 2020 publication year, include:

  • 92% of the S&P 500 companies published a sustainability report in 2020, up from 90% in 2019
  • 70% of the Russell 1000 companies published a sustainability report in 2020, up from 65% in 2019
  • 49% of the smallest half by market cap of the Russell 1000 companies published a sustainability report in 2020, up from 39% in 2019
  • 68% of sustainability reports published by Russell 1000 companies discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

In 2012, G&A’s analysts began researching the sustainability reporting of the S&P 500® companies for the publication year 2011. The results of this initial research ten years ago showed that just 20% of the S&P 500 companies published sustainability reports, meaning that 80% were NOT publishing such reports. Today the percentage of non-reporters is only 8%.

G&A’s 2021 Sustainability Reporting in Focus report includes a breakdown of the non-reporters in the S&P 500 and Russell 1000 by sector as well as the detailed reporting behaviors of the companies utilizing common frameworks and standards (GRI, SASB, TCFD), companies aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and trends in external assurance and survey reporting (CDP, CSA/DJSI).

G&A’s detailed research findings on Russell 1000 companies for the 2020 publication year include the following examples:

  • 52% of the reporting companies used the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards
  • 39% of the reporting companies aligned with the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) Standards
  • 17% of the reporting companies aligned with the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) Recommendations
  • 42% of reporting companies presented alignment with specific UN SDGs
  • 35% of reporting companies utilized external assurance for their sustainability disclosures
  • 40% of the Russell 1000 responded to the CDP Climate Change questionnaire

Click here to read the full report for more comprehensive reporting breakouts and details on the S&P 500 and Russell 1000 companies.

Louis Coppola, G&A’s Executive Vice President and Co-Founder, who has designed and managed all the annual analyses to date, commented, “The last few years have been incredibly challenging with the compounding crises of COVID-19, social inequity, climate change, and for many a loss of trust and faith in our institutions. During these trying times, the focus on ESG and sustainability issues and topics has continued to deepen and accelerate. In some ways, I believe this acceleration is a direct reaction by society to the problems we all face and the environment we now find ourselves in, and I believe it will help us navigate our way through these crisis situations and the ones to come.

Hank Boerner, G&A’s Chairman, Chief Strategist and Co-Founder, added, “G&A’s research has clearly shown that corporate sustainability reporting is now a best practice for the leading U.S. public companies and is increasingly being adopted by mid-cap companies as they recognize the value of being recognized for their commitment to ESG.”

G&A proudly recognizes our research team of talented analysts who made significant contributions to this study:

  G&A Research Supervisor: Elizabeth Peterson, G&A Senior Sustainability Analyst

  Team Leader: Kirstie Dabbs, G&A Sustainability Analyst

  Honor Roll Analysts

  • Keerthana Ramasamy Thirugnana Sambantham
  • Emilie Ho
  • Gia Hoa Lam

We also acknowledge contribution to the effort by supporting analyst-interns: Yutong Wu, MPP, Kaylee Wong, MS, and Cannelle Revault, BA. For more information on our team of research analysts please click here.

G&A Institute is a sustainability consulting and research firm headquartered in New York City, advising corporations and investors on executing winning strategies that maximize ROI at every step of their sustainability journey.

Founded in 2006, G&A helps corporate and investor clients recognize, understand, and address sustainability and ESG issues to address stakeholder and shareholder concerns. G&A’s proprietary, comprehensive 5-Step Process for sustainability reporting is designed to help organizations achieve sustainability leadership in their industry and sector.

Louis D. Coppola, Executive Vice President & Co-Founder
Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc.
Tel 646.430.8230 ext 14
Email: lcoppola@ga-institute.com