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U.S. Corporate Sustainability Reporting Doubles Since 2005

Twice as many top U.S. companies publicly released sustainability data in 2008 compared with three years earlier, with ethics outweighing economics for the first time as the primary reason for the disclosures, according to a KPMG analysis of corporate reports.

Of the top 100 U.S. companies by revenue, 74 percent published corporate responsibility information in 2008 either as part of their annual financial report or as a separate document, up from 37 percent in 2005. Globally, 80 percent of the Global Fortune 250 companies now release CR data, up from 64 percent in 2005.

Seventy percent of all companies studied wrote in their 2008 reports to stakeholders that ethical considerations were a primary driver for making CR disclosures, while 50 percent cited economic concerns as the leading reason. By comparison, in 2005 the drivers were reversed, with economic considerations cited by 74 percent of the companies as the reason for reporting CR data, compared with 53 percent of the companies citing ethical reasons for the disclosures.

Three-quarters of the largest global companies’ reports focused on a corporate responsibility strategy, including defined objectives, while 61 percent of the U.S. companies disclosing CR data had a formal sustainability strategy.

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