Corporate sustainability reporting improves worldwide

22nd October 2020

Web financial report istock 186765491 0

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Corporate governance ,
  • Reporting ,
  • sea ice loss ,
  • Global ,
  • Sustainability


Gutteridge Haskins and Davey Ltd (GHD)

Almost eight out of 10 leading global companies have improved their sustainability reporting over the last three years, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has found.

In its eighth annual Reporting Matters review, the WBCSD revealed that, out of 158 global firms studied, 78% have improved their overall scores since the baseline year of 2017, while 26% have improved their materiality score.

The analysis of corporate reports – published in partnership with consultancy firm Radley Yeldar (RY) – also found that 41% combine financial and non-financial information, up from 35% in 2017.

Moreover, 96% of reports reviewed acknowledge the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in some way, with 93% prioritising specific goals and presenting some evidence of alignment and contribution.

“Every year I am encouraged by the improvement in companies' reporting and 2020 is no exception,“ said Louise Ayling, director of sustainability strategy at RY.

“COVID-19 has certainly placed more weight on its importance coupled with the momentum we've seen towards sustainability action as we enter this new decade and the revitalisation of companies' sustainability strategies.“

This year's findings also show that 84% of corporate reports reviewed reference the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), 78% of which claim to be in accordance with the core or comprehensive levels.

In addition, 28% of reports integrate the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB) into the materiality assessment process, or produce a separate SASB index, up from 7% in 2017, and 15% provide a digital-first experience.

Peter Bakker, CEO of the WBCSD, said: “COVID-19 has shown how fragile our systems are. It is up to all of us to build forward better as we navigate the next phase of the global pandemic, without losing sight of systemic issues lingering beneath the surface.

“Transformation should be supported by a sustainable financial system, and for that we need robust, comparable and transparent reporting on relevant environmental, social and governance (ESG) aspects so the financial system can reward the most sustainable companies and scale sustainable solutions.“

Image credit: iStock


Subscribe to IEMA's newsletters to receive timely articles, expert opinions, event announcements, and much more, directly in your inbox.

Transform articles

Majority of environmental professionals fear green skills gap

Almost three-fifths of UK environmental professionals feel there is a green skills gap across the country’s workforce, or that there will be, a new survey has uncovered.

4th July 2024

Read more

Climate hazards such as flooding, droughts and extreme heat are threatening eight in 10 of the world’s cities, new research from CDP has uncovered.

3rd July 2024

Read more

Ahead of the UK general election next month, IEMA has analysed the Labour, Conservative, Liberal Democrat, and Green Party manifestos in relation to the sustainability agenda.

19th June 2024

Read more

Nine in 10 UK adults do not fully trust brands to accurately portray their climate commitments or follow the science all the time, a new survey has uncovered.

19th June 2024

Read more

Just one in 20 workers aged 27 and under have the skills needed to help drive the net-zero transition, compared with one in eight of the workforce as a whole, new LinkedIn data suggests.

18th June 2024

Read more

With a Taskforce on Inequality and Social-related Financial Disclosures in the pipeline, Beth Knight talks to Chris Seekings about increased recognition of social sustainability

6th June 2024

Read more

Disinformation about the impossibility of averting the climate crisis is part of an alarming turn in denialist tactics, writes David Burrows

6th June 2024

Read more

David Symons, FIEMA, director of sustainability at WSP, and IEMA’s Lesley Wilson, tell Chris Seekings why a growing number of organisations are turning to nature-based solutions to meet their climate goals

6th June 2024

Read more

Media enquires

Looking for an expert to speak at an event or comment on an item in the news?

Find an expert

IEMA Cookie Notice

Clicking the ‘Accept all’ button means you are accepting analytics and third-party cookies. Our website uses necessary cookies which are required in order to make our website work. In addition to these, we use analytics and third-party cookies to optimise site functionality and give you the best possible experience. To control which cookies are set, click ‘Settings’. To learn more about cookies, how we use them on our website and how to change your cookie settings please view our cookie policy.

Manage cookie settings

Our use of cookies

You can learn more detailed information in our cookie policy.

Some cookies are essential, but non-essential cookies help us to improve the experience on our site by providing insights into how the site is being used. To maintain privacy management, this relies on cookie identifiers. Resetting or deleting your browser cookies will reset these preferences.

Essential cookies

These are cookies that are required for the operation of our website. They include, for example, cookies that enable you to log into secure areas of our website.

Analytics cookies

These cookies allow us to recognise and count the number of visitors to our website and to see how visitors move around our website when they are using it. This helps us to improve the way our website works.

Advertising cookies

These cookies allow us to tailor advertising to you based on your interests. If you do not accept these cookies, you will still see adverts, but these will be more generic.

Save and close