Flash Report: 72% of S&P 500 Companies Now Publishing Sustainability / Responsibility Reports

by Hank Boerner – Chairman G&A Institute

For the past several years the G&A Institute team has been tracking and analyzing the disclosure / reporting trends of the companies included in the S&P 500 (r) Index managed by McGraw Hill Financial.

We’re seeing a dramatic escalation of sustainability reporting by the leading companies in American business (those included in the index/benchmark)..

In year 2013, our analysis shows 72% of the S&P 500 published in some form a sustainability or responsibility (or “citizenship”) report.

In 2012, our analysts reported that just over half (53%) were reporting. In 2011, the first year of our analysis, we found just under 20% of S&P 500 companies were publishing reports.

Stated another way —

– that means that in 2011, 80% of the Index companies were not reporting;
– in 2012, we reported that for the first time more than half of the S&P 500 were reporting…and
– now for 2013, the proportion is reversed from 2011, with only 20% not reporting.

These are dramatic findings, which demonstrate that at least at the top ranks of the American corporate sector, boards and managements are developing sustainability strategies, organizing internally, operationalizing the strategies, creating teams, engaging with third parties, and achieving significant gains in reducing energy use, waste, emissions, etc.

And all of these efforts comprise the content of the structured report that these companies are now publishing.

Trend to watch: As these leading American companies focus on their supply chain, suppliers are increasingly requested to provide information on their operations to the major customer. We believe that over the coming year we will see similar reporting trends beyond the S&P 500 companies, particularly in key industries and sectors where the customers are requesting reporting (auto, electronic, apparel, retail, food, agriculture, mining, others).

We thank our talent corps of interns who worked diligently over the past year on the S&P 500 project:

Qi (Ella) Chen – Columbia University
Siyuan Fang- Columbia
Colleen Gearns – New York University (2013 graduate)
Anna Gunther – Columbia
Selene Lawrence – Hunter College, CUNY
Yekta Karimi – Columbia

Louis Coppola, EVP of G&A, has been the architect and coordinator of the S&P 500 Index analysis projects for 2011, 2012 and 2013.  Well done, team!

There’s more information about the S&P 500 companies and their reporting activities on our corporate web site — www.ga-institute.com

To keep in mind: The S&P 500 is the broadest barometer of US corporate equities and the US economy, and represents about 80% coverage of available market capitalization. From the investor point-of-view, more than US$5 trillion in assets is benchmarked to the index, with indexed assets being $1.6 trillion of the total. The S&P 500 is a very important capital market resource – and, it’s a great event when a US company is included in the S&P 500.

For the record, the S&P 500 is managed by S&P Dow Jones Indices, a unit of McGraw-Hill Financial. The index is a registered trademark.

2 thoughts on “Flash Report: 72% of S&P 500 Companies Now Publishing Sustainability / Responsibility Reports

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