How the S&P 500 report on ESG

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The Center for Audit Quality recently released this survey of how the S&P 500 report on ESG. Here are some highlights:

– Most companies have a dedicated ESG page on their corporate investor relations website where the company often discloses ESG information in a standalone PDF report. However, some companies issue ESG information in multiple separate smaller reports such as SASB, GRI, or TCFD indexes and/or reports. Some other companies designed an ESG interface web portal to disclose their ESG information.
– 494 S&P 500 companies disclosed some level of ESG related information for periods ending in 2021. That is 30 more companies than in 2020. However, part of the increase is due to us revising our methodology for what constitutes ESG reporting. For 2020 data, we only considered comprehensive standalone ESG reports or CDP reports as ESG reporting for purposes of our analysis. However, for 2021 data, we also considered purely web-based reports or topic specific reports to be ESG reporting if they contained any of the ESG or related assurance information we were analyzing.
– The number of companies reporting ESG information increased from 93% to 99% of S&P 500 companies (however some of the increase is due to a methodology change we made)
– The number of companies seeking assurance over certain ESG metrics increased by 13% from 2020
– In 2021, the scope of information being subject to assurance increased – this was most pronounced when public company audit firms provided the assurance