Today, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Climate Disclosure Standards Board (CDSB) released a new report that maps global and regional Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) reporting trends.
The report shows that in the past 25 years, environmental topics have been the most prevalent reporting requirements across 60 countries, while governance topics have been the least. This trend is consistent across all four regions of analysis – Asia-Pacific, Europe, North America and South America – but the research shows some clear differences in the growth of all ESG reporting requirements across those regions.
The report also looks at the type of provisions that have become more popular in recent years, finding that over the past 10 years, the number of voluntary reporting requirements around the world has increased from under 10 to 182, with 80% being issued by non-governmental organizations. This underscores that ESG issues are rising in importance for the finance community and business.
There is also a clear trend driving sustainability into the annual reporting cycle. From 2013 to 2017, nearly a quarter of all reporting requirements focused on the mainstream report as the preferred channel for disclosure. This helps sustainability to be viewed as an integrated part of corporate reporting and performance, and not as a separate silo.
In pointing out global reporting complexities, the report underscores that it’s critical to work towards aligning reporting practices both nationally and internationally.
This report is part of series that explores the trends in corporate sustainability reporting that emerge from the research behind the Reporting Exchange, showcasing how the Reporting Exchange can be used as an important tool for bringing clarity to the reporting space.