Annual reports: Survey highlights growing focus on sustainability
The growing number of sustainability indices highlights the stronger focus investors are placing on ESG issues. According to a recent survey, listed companies are on the same page.
Ann Marie Fagan, UK regional manager at CtrlPrint, a provider of reporting tools, discussed the interim findings of a survey on annual report practices at the IR Magazine Conference – UK & Ireland last year (scroll down for video).
At the time of the conference, around 50 organizations had responded to the survey, with more than 80 percent of responses from individuals at publicly listed companies.
When asked about sustainability reporting, more than 85 percent of respondents say it is a growing area of interest. In addition, more than 80 percent say they produce a sustainability, CSR or integrated report.
Among the respondents that do produce one of those reports, it was slightly more common not to use a sustainability-reporting framework, such as the G4 guidelines.
The survey findings also underline the amount of work that goes into the annual report project: a significant proportion of respondents say the project takes up around 10 percent of their total workload. When asked how many people contribute to the process, the most common answer is between 10 and 20, although more than 10 percent of respondents say the figure is 30+.
Assets invested through an ESG lens continue to rise, it was noted on a recent IR Magazine Webinar. ‘We have seen a big increase in investors’ focus on ESG – the latest statistic to come from the US Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment is that 22 percent of assets under management in the US have sustainability,’ explained Gregory Elders, senior Bloomberg Intelligence ESG analyst.