FLASH REPORT: 81% of the S&P 500 Index Companies Published Corporate Sustainability Reports in 2015

FLASH REPORT: 81% of the S&P 500 Index Companies Published Corporate Sustainability Reports in 2015

G&A Institute:
Disclosure and reporting on the corporate sustainability journey has become the consistent norm for large-cap companies in the U.S. capital markets. The S&P 500 Index® is the best single gauge for large-cap U.S. equities, capturing 80% of available market capitalization. G&A Institute has analyzed the index company components’ sustainability reporting activities for the past five years.

G&A Institute charts the rapid and significant uptake in corporate sustainability reporting among the 500 companies — over the years sustainability reporting rose from just 20% of the companies reporting in 2011 to 81% in 2015. This body of corporate reporting underscores the importance of setting strategies, measuring and managing ESG issues in response to growing stakeholder and shareholder expectations — and in many cases, demands for such reporting, including information requests from major customers.

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NEW YORK, March 15, 2016 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — In the fifth annual monitoring and analysis of S&P 500 Index® company reporting completed by the Governance & Accountability Institute research team, the findings are that 81% of the companies included in this investment benchmark published a sustainability or corporate responsibility report in 2015.

The S&P Index is one of the most widely-followed barometers of the U.S. economy, and conditions for large-cap public companies in the capital markets. G&A in tracking prior year(s) reporting found that:

  • in 2011, under 20% of S&P 500 companies reported;
  • in 2012, 53% (for the first time a majority) of S&P 500 companies reported;
  • by 2013, 72% reported — 7-out-of-10 of all companies in the benchmark;
  • in 2014, 75% of the S&P 500 were publishing reports.

At the start of 2016, just 19% of the S&P 500 were not publishing sustainability reports. The practice of reporting by the 500 companies is holding steady with minor increases year-after-year. See graphic chart: http://www.ga-institute.com/fileadmin/user_upload/Graphics/S_P500_Chart2016_WebFullSize.jpg

 Corporate Sustainability Reports – Comments

Louis D. Coppola, Executive VP of G&A Institute, who designs and coordinates the annual analysis, notes: “We continue to see clear demonstrations of the U.S. corporate community embracing sustainability reporting. Measuring, managing, and reporting on ESG (Environmental, Social, and Corporate Governance) issues is established as a mainstream practice in both the corporate community. Leaders increasingly understand the critical importance of adopting and implementing strategies, programs and initiatives reflecting the 21st century business environment, and the interest of investors and important stakeholders.”

“Corporate reporters have also become more sophisticated in the disclosure and reporting activities, with increased focus on using reporting concepts such as materiality, stakeholder engagement, comparability, balance, context, timeliness, and reliability to make ESG data more useful for decision making by both management and stakeholders including investors.”

The Missing Among Corporate Sustainability Reporters
This chart presents the number and percentage of companies from the sectors in the S&P 500 study that are not reporting on their sustainability journeys with comparisons from 2014 – 2015.

Consumer Discretionary 24 24 0
Financials 24 24 0
Information Technology 20 15 +5
Industrials 18 11 +7
Health Care 15 13 +2
Energy 12 8 +4
Consumer Staples 4 1 +3
Telecommunications Services 3 1 +2
Materials 2 0 +2
Utilities 1 2 -1
TOTAL 123 99 +24


 Corporate Sustainability Reports – Governance & Accountability Institute’s GRI Data Partner Report Analyst Research Team of talented interns contributed significantly to this research:

  • Julia Casciotti
  • Alexander Cohen
  • Kristina Jette Mullen
  • Ashley Thomsen
  • Alvis Yuen

For more information on our GRI Data Partner Report Analyst Research Interns, please visit
www.ga-institute.com/ the-honor-roll.html

About Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc.
G&A Institute is a sustainability consulting firm headquartered in New York City, advising corporations in executing winning strategies to maximize return on investment at every step of the sustainability journey. The G&A team helps corporate and investment community clients recognize, understand and address sustainability issues to address stakeholder and shareholder concerns. G&A Institute is the exclusive Data Partner for the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in the USA, UK and Ireland. A G&A team of six+ performs this pro bono work on behalf of GRI. Over the past 5 years, G&A has analyzed more than 5,000 sustainability reports in this role and databased more than 100 important data points for each of the reports.

*S&P 500®
According to S&P Dow Jones Indices / McGraw Hill Financial: “The S&P 500® is widely regarded as the best single gauge of large cap U.S. equities. There is over US$7 trillion benchmarked to the index, with index assets comprising approximately US$ 1.9 trillion of this total. The index includes 500 leading companies and captures approximately 80% coverage of available market capitalization.” The S&P 500 is a trademarked® property of S&P Dow Jones Indices, McGraw Hill Financial. Ticker: SPX

CONTACT: Governance & Accountability Institute News Media Contacts
Louis D. Coppola
646.430.8230 ext 14
[email protected]
Hank Boerner 
646.430.8230 ext 19
[email protected]