Corporate sustainability reporting on the rise
The study, conducted by KLD Research & Analytics, analysed the disclosure of environmental, social and governance policies by companies listed in the S&P 100 Index, made up of large, blue chip companies in a variety of industries. The first such study was conducted in June 2005 and has now been updated.
The results show that more than three quarters of the S&P 100 Index, or 79 companies, have special website sections detailing social and environmental policies and performance. This is a sharp increase from 2005, when 59 companies provided this information.
Forty-three companies in the Index issue corporate social and environmental responsibility reports annually, up from 39 the previous year. According to SIRAN, this represents the addition of 12 companies that have begun issuing Corporate Responsibility reports, and the deletion of 8 companies that have either moved to web-based reporting only, issued a report in 2004 but not 2005, or dropped out of the S&P 100.
A dozen new companies also issued corporate social responsibility reports for the first time, including Cisco Systems, General Electric, Time Warner, and Wells Fargo. Further companies such as American International Group and Black & Decker are planning to issue their first such reports later this year.
Many of the companies (34), base their sustainability reports on recognized standards set by the Global Reporting Initiative, a multi-stakeholder network dedicated to making environmental, social and governance reporting as routine as financial reporting. In 2005, only 25 companies in the S&P 100 used the GRI’s Sustainability Reporting Guidelines.
Since its launch in 1997, the GRI has released several guideline updates, and works with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Global Compact. Sustainability guidelines are provided for voluntary use by organizations that wish to report on the economic, environmental, and social aspects of their business.
Hundreds of companies worldwide have adopted the GRI standards. Key G3 sponsors include: Alcan, BP, European Commission, Ford, General Motors, Government of the Netherlands, HP, Microsoft, Royal Bank of Canada and Shell. The next set of draft guidelines, known as G3, can be found on the GRI website.
The following seven questions were used in the study by SIRAN:
- Company has separate CSR/Sustainability section of web-site?
- Company has annual CSR/Sustainability Report?
- Company references GRI in report?
- Company has GRI content index?
- Company report has goals and benchmarks?
- Company is GRI Organizational Stakeholder?
- Company report is GRI “In Accordance”?