G&A’s FLASH REPORT: 82% of the S&P 500 Companies Published Corporate Sustainability Reports in 2016

G&A Institute has analyzed the index company components' sustainability reporting activities for the past six years. Research shows that reporting on corporate sustainability including environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) continues to be a consistent, reliable norm for the largest companies in US capital markets.

Sustainability reporting rose from just 20% of the companies reporting in 2011 to 72% three years later (2013). From 2013 to 2016, frequency of reporting was steady with slight increases each year, up to 82% in 2016.

Over recent years, this consistent volume of corporate reporting underscores the importance and staying power of considering ESG issues when setting corporate strategies, managing resources and communicating to important stakeholders such as customers, employees and shareholders.

NEW YORK, June 06, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- In the sixth annual monitoring and analysis of S&P 500 Index® company sustainability reporting by the Governance & Accountability Institute research team, the findings are that 82% of the companies included in this important investment benchmark published a sustainability or corporate responsibility report in the 2016.

The S&P Index is one of the most widely-followed barometers of the US economy, and for conditions for large-cap public companies in the capital markets.

To put this in context, in charting prior years reporting, G&A found in:

  • 2011, just under 20% of S&P 500 companies reported on their sustainability, CSR, ESG performance and related issues;
  • 2012, 53% (majority for the first time) of S&P 500 companies reported;
  • 2013, 72% or 7-out-of-10 of companies reported;
  • 2014, 75% of the S&P 500 published reports;
  • 2015, 81% of the total companies reported;
  • 2016, 82% signals a steady embrace by large-cap companies of sustainability reporting.

As year 2017 began, just 18% of the S&P 500 were not publishing sustainability reports. Sustainability reporting by the 500 companies is holding steady with minor increases each year. Click here to view  graph representing the trends of S&P 500 sustainability reporting over the last 6 years.

Louis Coppola, EVP & Co-Founder of G&A Institute, who designs and coordinates the annual analysis, notes: "Year after year we continue to see that corporations are reporting on their ESG performance and related issues.  We see that there are some companies that continue to ignore the growing demands of their stakeholders and shareholders. 

"However, the pressure is on!  While monitoring sustainability information of the non-reporters, more often than not, the first result on Google is an investor proxy resolution requesting for the company to start reporting on its management of ESG issues.  Non-reporters are also feeling the pressure from other stakeholders (employees and customers)."

"As reporting standard setters and frameworks continue to evolve, leading corporate reporters are working to integrate the latest concepts into their strategies and reporting.  The leaders are seeing dramatic benefits from their efforts and are increasingly engaging with investors to  make ESG data more useful for decision-making by company management, stakeholders and investors."

Hank Boerner, Chairman & Co-Founder of the Institute, observed: "As we continue to see a steady level in US corporate sustainability and responsibility reporting, we are wondering what the thinking is in the non-reporting enterprises?  These companies are clearly laggards in this important peer group, a very important benchmark for institutional investors.  Are the companies not recognizing the significant range of benefits that accrue to their more sustainable peers?”

The Diminishing "Missing" Among US Corporate Sustainability Reporters
Click here to view a chart presenting the number of companies from the sectors in the annual S&P 500 study not reporting on their sustainability opportunities, risks, strategies, actions, programs and achievements -- implying no focus on sustainability with comparisons from 2014 through 2016. 

G&A Institute's GRI Data Partner Report Analyst Research Team of talented interns contributed significantly to this research and we recognize and salute them (click here to view table).

Governance & Accountability Institute Training
In response to the rising demand for corporate sustainability knowledge and the rapidly rising embrace of ESG integration to investment decision making, the Institute offers a range of industry-leading training opportunities for corporate managers and investment professionals. Click here for more information.

About Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc.
Founded in 2006, G&A Institute is a NYC-based sustainability consulting firm, advising corporations in executing winning strategies that maximize ROI at every step of their sustainability journey.  G&A helps corporate and investment community clients recognize, understand and address stakeholder and shareholder sustainability issues and concernsG&A is the exclusive Data Partner for the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in the USA, UK and Ireland.  Over the past 6-plus years, in this pro bono role, G&A has analyzed more than 5,000 sustainability reports and databased more than 100 important data points.

G&A’s sustainability-focused consulting services fare in three buckets: Sustainability/ESG Consulting; Communications and Recognitions, and Investor Relations. 

*S&P 500®
According to S&P Dow Jones Indices / McGraw Hill Financial: “The S&P 500® is widely regarded as the best single gauge of large cap US equities with over US$7 trillion benchmarked to the index, and index assets comprising approximately US$1.9 trillion of this total. The index includes 500 leading companies and captures approximately 80% coverage of available market capitalization.”  The S&P 500 is a trademarked® property of S&P Dow Jones Indices, McGraw Hill Financial. Ticker: SPX


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