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Sustainability Reporting Trends in North America

February 4, 2016


Which are the Sectors widely Reporting and what are the Guidelines mostly used

 The latest CSE research focuses on the sustainability reporting trends of companies and organizations in North America, on the use of specific reporting standards and guidelines, and on the external assurance practices mostly followed.

This research was conducted by analyzing more than 400 unique sustainability reports in US and Canada that have been published in 2014. These reports were published by companies and organizations of all sizes (Large, Multinational and Small-Medium Enterprises) and belong to a variety of sectors. Financial Sector, Energy & Energy Utilities and Mining are the top three reporting sectors.

Major trends for Reporting have been identified and among them are the following :

There is a clearly visible trend of public (listed companies) to publish sustainability reports in order to disclose information  and be transparent about their sustainability performance. The vast majority (82%) of the companies that published a sustainability report in 2014 are public (listed) companies. Overall more than 1000 Reports are expected to be published in North America in the next two years.

There is a growing trend for Small-Medium Enterprises to publish sustainability reports in order to increase their transparency, attract customers and grow their business. The number of SME’s which publish sustainability reports is expected to grow in the following years.

The reporting guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) remain the most widely used reporting guidelines for conducting sustainability reports. Suprisingly, there are still large brands which do not use GRI or other guidelines.

The percentage of companies and organizations in North America that seek external assurance remains well below the global average, raising questions about the level of transparency and credibility of the data disclosed.