RESEARCH RESULTS:  Using The GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework Improves The Quality of ESG Disclosures – Joint Research From G&A Institute and Baruch College Shows

NEW YORK, July 18, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Governance & Accountability Institute, exclusive data partner for the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) in the USA, UK and Ireland, monitors, collects and analyzes all sustainability reports published in the three countries. The results of this pro-bono work feed the GRI’s “Sustainability Disclosure Database,” largest sustainability database in the world, with 41,734 sustainability reports as of June 30th, 2017.

G&A has analyzed the corporate sustainability reporting of the S&P 500® universe of companies for six years, releasing its first benchmark studies on the 2010 reporting year.

For 2010, G&A Institute determined that 80% of the leading large-cap companies of the USA included in the index were laggards — not publishing sustainability reports. This result clearly demonstrated that US companies lagged many corporate peers in Europe where the rates of reporting on Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) issues were higher and reporting is increasingly mandated.

Fast forward:  There has been a dramatic increase in the S&P 500 universe companies, with 53% of the companies reporting in 2012; 72% in 2013; 75% in 2014; 81% in 2015, and in the most recent flash report issued by G&A 82% are reporting (for 2016). More: http://www.ga-institute.com/press-releases/article/flash-report-82-of-the-sp-500-companies-published-corporate-sustainability-reports-in-2016.html.

The dramatic rise in corporate reporting on sustainability is holding steady, with an increasing number of companies disclosing their strategy and performance on ESG metrics.

As more companies publish Sustainability Reports the questions are: What is the Quality of the Content of These Reports? Does Reporting Using The GRI Sustainability Reporting Framework Result in Higher Quality Reports?

To explore the answers, G&A teamed with The CSR-Sustainability Monitor® (CSR-S Monitor) research team at the Weissman Center for International Business, Baruch College/CUNY, to combine their partners’ “Big Data” sets to extract deeper intelligence on the subject.

Baruch’s CSR-S Monitor uses a content analysis approach to score CSR / Sustainability reports published by the world’s largest companies as identified in Fortune 500 and Global 500 rankings. The scoring methodology categorizes the content of reports into 11 components called “Contextual Elements,” which cover the most commonly reported sustainability topics:  Chair’s / Executive Message, Environment, Philanthropy & Community Involvement, External Stakeholder Engagement, Supply Chain, Labor Relations, Governance, Anti-Corruption, Human Rights, Codes of Conduct, and Integrity Assurance.

More info on these 11 contextual elements at: http://www.csrsmonitor.org/methodology/contextual_elements.pdf
(Note only disclosure in the form of a standalone or web-based CSR report or Integrated Annual Report is considered for the purpose of scoring on the CSR-S Monitor.)

Is there a difference between the world’s leading companies following the GRI guidelines and those not doing so? Answer: Yes! CSR-S Monitor found that a supermajority of the large-cap companies do follow the GRI guidelines, and this makes a big difference in most categories.

Highlights of the Analysis
The partners’ data sets matched up on 572 companies (the Universe for this study). Data are taken strictly from reports published during CY 2014. CSR-S Monitor analysts scored companies on disclosure on 11 contextual elements, based on quality of information and degree of verification. G&A Institute data were used to separate the scored reports into those that utilized the GRI framework, and those that did not. A total of 481 (84%) companies used the GRI framework; 91 (16%) companies were not.

Results of Analysis
Companies using the GRI framework consistently achieved average contextual element scores higher than the companies not using GRI for their reporting (scores are 0-100 with 100 best).

  • Overall, the score was 45.7% for GRI reporter, vs. 29.6% for non-GRI;
  • For the Environment element, GRI reporters scored 64.9% vs. 51.0% for non-GRI;
  • For Labor Relations, GRI reporters scored 55.8% vs. 36.7% for non-GRI;
  • For Supply Chain, GRI reporters scored 46.6% vs. 28.2% for non-GRI;
  • For Anti-Corruption, GRI reporters scored 26.4% vs 10.4% for non-GRI;
  • For Integrity Assurance, GRI reporters scored 31.0% vs. 13.3% for non-GRI;
  • The largest differential was for Human Rights, with GRI reporters scoring 45.0% vs. 15.0% for non-GRI reporters.

The Complete Scoring

    GRI Non-GRI
    n = 481 n = 91
CONTEXTUAL ELEMENTS Human Rights 45.0 % 15.0 %
Ext. Stakeholder Engagement 35.3 % 15.2 %
Labor Relations 55.8 % 36.7 %
Codes of Conduct 47.5 % 28.7 %
Supply Chain 46.6 % 28.2 %
Integrity Assurance 31.0 % 13.3 %
Anti-Corruption 26.4 % 10.4 %
Environment 64.9 % 51.0 %
Chair’s Message 54.2 % 44.0 %
Governance 28.4 % 19.2 %
Philanthropy 67.1 % 63.3 %
OVERALL 45.7 % 29.6 %

More information is available from the research partners

Contact G&A
Louis D. Coppola, EVP & CoFounder
646.430.8230 x14 or lcoppola@ga-institute.com

Notes About 

Primary Logo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *