Sustainability reporting for large public companies around the world has become the norm.  Si2’s research this year (2018) found that 78 percent of the S&P 500 issued a sustainability report for the most recent reporting period, most with environmental and social performance metrics.  The rate of sustainability reporting for the world’s largest companies is even higher, with some figures noting as high as 93 percent.

Key findings:

·         A total of 395 companies (78 percent) issue sustainability reports, in either a discrete, downloadable format (68 percent) or only on the web with unclear boundaries (9 percent).  

·         Most lack external assurance; only 36 percent of sustainability reports include it.  

·         Nearly all (97 percent) of reporting companies chose to customize extant sustainability reporting models—in style, format and content—instead of closely following any one framework.

·         A minority of the S&P 500 references a recognized integrated reporting framework.

·         Fourteen S&P 500 companies issued an integrated report in 2018, twice the number in 2013.  

·         Integrated reporters are more likely to treat sustainability information as material to investment decisions, making it easier for investors to review such information as part of normal research processes.  

·         Many more integrated reporters (71 percent) have a board committee overseeing sustainability issues than do general reporters (42 percent).  

·         Integrated reporters noted varying degrees of influence from sustainability reporting models

·         IIRC’s influence may be greater than it seems, however.  Eleven (79 percent) of the integrated reports address the concept of “creating shared value for all,” the central tenet of IIRC. 

·         A surprising share of the S&P 500 includes voluntary sustainability information in financial reports, but the extent varies widely.

Read the entire report here