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New G&A Institute Research Shows Sustainability Reporting by Largest U.S. Public Companies Reached All-Time Highs in 2021

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New G&A Institute Research Shows Sustainability Reporting by Largest U.S. Public Companies Reached All-Time Highs in 2021

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96% of S&P 500® Companies and 81% of Russell 1000® Companies Published ESG Reports; SASB Became Most Used Reporting Standard

Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc. (G&A), a leading consulting firm on corporate sustainability and ESG, today announced the findings of its 2022 Sustainability Reporting in Focus research on companies in the S&P 500® Index and the Russell 1000® Index. This marks the 11th annual report in G&A’s research series tracking the publication of sustainability reports by the largest U.S. publicly-traded companies.

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G&A’s 2022 Sustainability Reporting in Focus research showed all-time highs across the board in sustainability reportingfor the Russell 1000 companies in 2021. Key takeaways from G&A’s research include:

  • 81% of Russell 1000 companies published a sustainability report in 2021, an impressive increase from 70% in 2020
  • The smallest half by market cap of the Russell 1000 index saw the largest increase in reporting with 68% publishing a report in 2021, up substantially from 49% in 2020
  • The largest half of the Russell 1000 index (i.e., the S&P 500 companies) is nearing 100% reporters with 96% publishing a report in 2021, an increase from 92% in 2020
  • For the first time, SASB was the most-used reporting standard in 2021 among the Russell 1000, with 67% of sustainability reports aligning with SASB compared to 54% aligned with GRI
  • The use of TCFD doubled among Russell 1000 companies in 2021, with 34% of sustainability reports aligning with TCFD compared to 17% in 2020
  • 89% of sustainability reports published by Russell 1000 companies in 2021 discussed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic

Click here to view a graphical representation of the data noted above.

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, commented, “The results of our 2022 research clearly demonstrate that sustainability reporting has become a best practice among the largest U.S. publicly-traded companies. The percentage of S&P 500 companies publishing sustainability reports is nearly 100% and reporting by the smaller half of companies in the Russell 1000 doubled between 2018 and 2021. We believe these trends highlight the importance of ESG and sustainability to investors and other key stakeholders, as well as the desire of public companies to demonstrate accountability and transparency to these stakeholders. When seeing these results, you have to wonder – just what are the 4% of non-reporters in the S&P 500 waiting for?”

Hank Boerner, G&A’s Chairman, Chief Strategist and Co-Founder, added, “G&A’s 2022 research continued to see increased use of newer reporting frameworks like TCFD and alignment with climate initiatives including SBTi and CDP. We believe this is being driven by increased stakeholder focus on climate change impacts and the potential mandate of emissions reporting by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. We continue to work with publicly-traded companies to help them manage ever-changing reporting frameworks and standards, along with changes to disclosure regulations in the U.S. and around the world.”

G&A’s 2022 Sustainability Reporting in Focus report analyzes the content of identified reports to provide detailed breakdowns of reporting frameworks and standards used (GRI, SASB, TCFD), alignment with initiatives such as SBTi and the United Nations SDGs, and trends in external assurance and CDP reporting. The report also includes a breakout of non-reporters in the S&P 500 and Russell 1000 by sector.

Source: Governance & Accountability Institute

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