NEW YORK – A new study by G&A, a sustainability consulting and research firm, indicates a substantial increase in sustainability reporting among U.S. public companies, particularly within the and mid-cap companies in the Russell 1000. The findings, part of G&A’s annual research series now in its 12th year, were released today and highlight a notable shift towards greater transparency and adherence to global reporting standards.
The research, spearheaded by G&A’s Elizabeth Peterson and Natali Alsunna, shows that in 2022, an impressive 98% of S&P 500 companies published sustainability reports. The mid-cap firms in the smallest half of the Russell 1000 also showed a strong increase in sustainability reporting, with 82% releasing reports last year. This surge underscores the growing importance placed on environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues by investors and stakeholders.
A deeper dive into the content of these reports reveals significant strides in alignment with various sustainability frameworks:
- A 90% reporting rate among Russell 1000 companies in 2022.
- A rapid growth in alignment with Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) recommendations, reaching 50% in 2022.
- A consistent alignment with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards at 54%.
- A high usage of Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) standards at 78%.
Additionally, the research noted that discussions related to COVID-19 remained prevalent in these reports at a rate of 87%.
Louis Coppola and Hank Boerner, leaders at G&A, emphasized the evolution of sustainability reporting from a voluntary exercise to an increasingly mandatory practice over the past decade. This trend is further evidenced by half of all Russell 1000 firms aligning with TCFD recommendations and the continued dominance of the SASB standard as the predominant sustainability standard.
The significance of these findings is underscored by the scale of the indices involved; the S&P 500 commands around $11.4 trillion in assets indexed or benchmarked to it. Meanwhile, the Russell 1000 Index comprises about 93% of the total U.S. equity market capitalization.
G&A’s comprehensive corporate sustainability reporting database has been instrumental in aiding organizations to achieve industry leadership through its proprietary process for sustainability reporting since its inception in 2011. The latest research from G&A not only reflects a shift in corporate behavior but also signals a broader movement towards integrating sustainable practices within core business strategies across major U.S. companies.
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