sustainability

A new study published by The Conference Board has found that companies are increasing disclosure of environmental sustainability and social practices.

However, there is a need for more improvements in the manner corporates in North America, Europe, and Asia-Pacific report their sustainability practices.

Driving corporates into improving the amount of sustainability information in their reporting are increasing pressure from environmental and gender equality policies states Sustainability Practices: 2019 Edition report.

Other key study findings include:

  • 38% of S&P Global 1200 companies disclosed climate risks, up from 25% the previous year. The highest disclosure rates by sector came from energy companies (71%) and utilities (65%).
  • S&P Global 1200 companies referencing the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures in their annual reports rose from 40 in 2017 to 337 in 2019.
  • More than 50% of US companies, amongst the 250 US firms surveyed, report greenhouse gas emissions.
  • 47% of US companies, compared to 36% last year, disclose the climate risks associated with their operations. Despite corporates’ awareness on climate change, their median amount of greenhouse gas emissions has risen over the last three years.
  • Disclosure of gender pay gap details is gaining traction among US companies, spurred in part by growing pressure from shareholders. In 2019, the gender pay gap was the most frequently voted topic among shareholder resolutions on environmental and social issues.
  • 53% of global companies report gender composition of boards, an increase from 45% last year. However, change in underlying practices has not kept pace. Women account for only 17% of board seats globally.

Thomas Singer, a principal researcher at The Conference Board, said: "The gap between disclosure and practice is likely due, in part, to companies not yet integrating sustainability as an integral part of their business strategy, and thus they lack an incentive to change their practices.

"Major investors are already calling for even greater disclosure, and if the disclosure/performance gap remains, there will be even more investor and government pressure aimed not just at increasing disclosure, but at requiring changes in performance."

Discloseed data on 92 environmental and social practices were analysed for nearly 6,000 companies in 26 countries, as well as for companies in the S&P Global 1200 index.

Click here for more information about the report.