In its 2016 Corporate Reporting in Australia report, the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) found that of the 174 ASX 200-listed companies surveyed in both 2015 and 2016, 48 upgraded their ESG reporting level.
Only eight companies downgraded their reporting level, ACSI found. Overall, 90 per cent of ASX 200 companies provided some level of ESG reporting in their 2015 disclosures.
The continued increase in ESG reporting by publicly listed companies is likely due to the fact that 2015-16 is the first year that ESG reporting has been compulsory for ASX-listed companies, on an ‘if not, why not’ basis.
Under Recommendation 7.4 of the ASX Corporate Governance Principles (Third Edition), ASX-listed companies must report on sustainability issues in their business.
The ACSI report found the number of ‘no reporting’ companies in its research dropped from 26 in 2015 to nine in 2016 – and, for the first time, there are zero ‘no reporting companies’ in the ASX 100.
“Looking at the 102 companies in the ASX 200 that have been rated every year since 2009, there are no longer any ‘no reporting’ companies, and approximately 70 per cent are now in the ‘leading’ or ‘detailed’ categories,” said the report.
“In almost all sectors there is now a ‘leading’ reporter setting the standard across the industry group. This important development obviates any argument that there are some industries that do not have a material exposure to ESG issues,” it said.
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