Only 3 percent of the world’s largest listed companies report on all basic sustainability metrics, according to a study by investment advisory and research firm Corporate Knights Capital.
In its third annual study, Measuring Sustainability Disclosure: Ranking the World’s Stock Exchanges, Corporate Knights Capital researched how well global stock exchanges encourage listed companies to disclose basic corporate responsibility data.
The firm analyzed the extent to which the world’s publicly traded companies are disclosing the seven basic “first-generation” metrics: employee turnover, energy, greenhouse gas emissions, injury rate, payroll, water consumption and waste.
Just over a third of large listed companies (39 percent) report on the amount of greenhouse gases they are emitting, but only a quarter disclose their water consumption (25 percent).
The study also found that although the number of large companies disclosing basic sustainability indicators is increasing, the rate of uptake is flatlining. For example, the percentage of large listed companies that disclosed their energy use increased by 88 percent from 2008 to 2012 but only by 5 percent from 2011 to 2012. There is a similar slowdown in reporting occurring on the other sustainability indicators.
The study ranks the world’s stock exchanges on sustainability reporting performance. It shows:
- The Helsinki Stock Exchange was the top-ranked exchange, moving up from second position in last year’s assessment.
- The Euronext Amsterdam took second spot, followed by the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the only stock exchange in the top 10 based in an emerging market.
- This was followed by Euronext Paris and the Copenhagen Stock Exchange. The London Stock Exchange is ranked ninth — the largest exchange inside the top 10 — climbing from 11th place over the past three years.
- North American exchanges are noticeably absent.