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Sustainability Reporting Is Rising Dramatically

Sustainability Reporting Is Rising Dramatically

Oct. 29, 2020
“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.”

“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.”

Reporting on sustainability efforts continues to increase. A study released on Oct. 26 by the Governance & Accountability Institute (G&A Institute) found 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.  

"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,” said  Hank Boerner, Chairman & Co-Founder of G&A Institute. “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.”

 This research by G&A Institute on the Russell 1000 expands on its 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.

 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

"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,” said Louis Coppola, Co-Founder of G&A Institute.

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