Everyone in the investing world and the corporate suite knows of the importance of the S&P 500 Index®; it's the intellectual property of the S&P Dow Jones Indices unit of S&P Global and is the widely used benchmark by which asset managers track their performance (against the index performance).
Many investments are benchmarked to the index - almost a total of US$8 trillion, in fact. The index is made up of 500 leading (large-cap) public companies and represents roughly 80% of the total market capitalization of these enterprises. The index was launched 60 years ago (in March 1957).
Investopedia explains that the index covers the majority of the US economy and is considered by experts to be a highly reliable indicator of overall stock market performance. The index managers select corporate stocks to be in the index by a number of factors, according to liquidity, market size and industry category; and, the company included represents a proportion of the portfolio. There are small changes year-to-year in the index as companies are selected in and dropped from inclusion.
The G&A Institute team in carefully tracking the increasing embrace of sustainability by US companies, and the reporting on the "sustainability journey" by these large-cap public companies began analyzing the S&P 500 companies' disclosure and structured reporting on sustainability (and related terms, such as corporate responsibility, environmental update, corporate citizenship, and others).
Our first analysis was shared publicly in 2011, for the results of year 2010 company reporting. We found that just about 20% or one-in-five of the S&P 500 universe was publishing a sustainability report in some form. That became our baseline. The 2012 reporting analysis revealed a dramatic increase -- more than half of the companies were then reporting (the tally was 53%).
The number increased considerably in 2013 to 73% and then 75% the following year. By 2015 the tally was 81% (eight of 10 companies in the index) and now we have year 2016 results -- holding steady at 82%. We share the news broadly in our Flash Report at the conclusion of the analysis -- that's our Top Story for you this week.
KEYWORDS: Media & Communications, business & trade, Corporate Social Responsibility, csr, G&A Institute, GRI, Governance & Accountability Institute, G&A, SRI, SWF, socially responsible investing, Sovereign Wealth Funds, sustainability, Corporate Citizenship, esg, S&P500, sustainability reports