November 21, 2022
New G&A Institute Research Shows Sustainability Reporting by Largest U.S. Public Companies Reached All-Time Highs in 2021

96% of S&P 500® Companies and 81% of Russell 1000® Companies Published ESG Reports; SASB Became Most Used Reporting Standard 

The findings of Governance & Accountability Institute have announced their 2022 Sustainability Reporting in Focus research on companies in the S&P 500® Index and the Russell 1000® Index.

The largest U.S. publicly-traded companies’ publication of sustainability reports are closely followed and tracked by G&A’s, with this year representing the 11th year of research.

The report showed unprecedented increases throughout the board in sustainability reporting for the Russell 1000 companies in 2021.

Key results from G&A’s research include:

  • 81% of Russell 1000 companies published a sustainability report in 2021, an impressive increase up from 70% in 2020
  • The smallest half by market cap of the Russell 1000 index saw the largest increase in reporting with 68% publishing a report in 2021, up substantially from 49% in 2020
  • As never before, SASB was the most-used reporting standard in 2021 among the Russell 1000, with 67% using SASB, compared to 54% aligning with GRI, 34% TCFD.
  • The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic was included in 89% of sustainability reports published by Russell 1000 companies


Click here to read the full report for more comprehensive reporting breakouts and details on the S&P 500 and Russell 1000 companies.

Louis Coppola, G&A’s Executive Vice President and Co-Founder, commented, “The results of our 2022 research clearly demonstrate that sustainability reporting has become a best practice among the largest U.S. publicly-traded companies. The percentage of S&P 500 companies publishing sustainability reports is nearly 100% and reporting by the smaller half of companies in the Russell 1000 doubled in 2021. We believe these trends highlight the importance of ESG and sustainability to investors and other key stakeholders, as well as the desire of public companies to demonstrate accountability and transparency to these stakeholders. When seeing these results, you have to wonder – just what are the 4% of non-reporters in the S&P 500 waiting for?”

Hank Boerner, G&A’s Chairman, Chief Strategist and Co-Founder, added, “G&A’s 2022 research continued to see increased use of newer reporting frameworks like TCFD, as well as alignment with climate initiatives like SBTi and CDP. We believe this is being driven by increased stakeholder focus on climate change impacts and the potential mandate of emissions reporting by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. We continue to work with publicly-traded companies to help them manage ever-changing reporting frameworks and standards, along with changes to disclosure regulations in the U.S. and around the world.”

In 2012, just 20% of S&P 500 companies published sustainability reports or disclosures as found by G&A. Research was expanded in 2019 to include all companies in the Russell 1000 Index, finding that 60% of Russell 1000 companies published sustainability reports in 2018. These percentages have dramatically risen each year since then and reached all-time highs in 2021 as 96% of S&P 500 companies, 81% of Russell 1000 companies, and just over two thirds (68%) of the bottom half by market cap of Russell 1000 companies released sustainability reports.

G&A’s 2022 Sustainability Reporting in Focus report analyses the content of the identified reports to examine which frameworks and standards are used (GRI, SASB, TCFD), alignment with initiatives such as SBTi and the United Nations SDGs, and trends in external assurance and CDP reporting. The report also contains a breakout of non-reporters in the S&P 500 and Russell 1000 according to sector.

Source: G&A Institute