G&A Institute Update (Issue 1, August 2011): US Corporate Sustainability & Responsibility Reporting

Aug 24, 2011 1:00 PM ET

G&A Institute Update: US Corporate Sustainability & Responsibility Reporting

G&A Institute closely monitors the sustainability reporting of US domestic corporations and the US subsidiaries of non-US companies.  (We monitor as well sustainability reports published by trade and professional associations, non-profits, government agencies, professional practices, universities, and various types of institutions.)

These reports may carry varying titles: “Sustainability Report,” (Ford Motor Company, its 11th report); “Corporate Responsibility,” (Intel), “Environmental Responsibility,” (Amgen), and “Corporate Citizenship” (Exxon’s latest report).

In the month of July we identified 17 reports published by US companies (with date stamps of 2010, or 2010/2011). We monitor these reports through our own network, and receive reports direct from companies.

Since its inception, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has been the de facto global standard for corporate reporting. The number of US companies publishing reports following the comprehensive GRI Framework (the principles for disclosure and performance reporting) has been increasing. GRI reports have steadily increased overall since 2000; the 2010 overall increase in reporting was 22%, according to GRI.  For North America, there was a 53% increase in reporting in Canada and a 22% increase in the United States; the USA tops the list (of the Top 10 countries by number of reports).

Almost 20% of the Fortune 500 companies – 1-in-5 large-cap companies -- have now issued sustainability reports.  Small and Medium Enterprise (SMEs) reporting has steadily increased over the past decade as well.

The GRI Framework sets out the principles and Performance Indicators that organizations can use to measure and reports on their economic, environmental and social performance.

Reflecting the continuing embrace of the GRI Framework by American corporations, the following 17 companies published reports in July 2011; the Application Level of the report is indicated where the company has elected to include this information:



  • Hess Corporation (Level: A+)

  • Constellation Energy (A)

  • General Electric (A)


  • Air Products (B)

  • Baxter International (B)

  • Best Buy (B)

  • International Paper (B)

  • Owens Corning (B)

  • US Postal Service (B) – roughly comparable to a private sector company; complies with Sarbanes-Oxley responsibilities


  • El Paso Corporation (C)

  • Marathon Oil (undeclared level – company followed guidelines)

  • Marsh & McLennan (undeclared level – followed guidelines)


Important Note: 
The level of the report (A,  B, C) indicates the scope and extent of disclosure and selection of performance indicators and other factors. This is not a “grade” assigned to the report by GRI. The level is to be viewed as a description of the scope of the report—what is included, what is not. The more disclosure and inclusion of key indicators, the higher possible the level. The plus sign (+) indicates that an independent third party Assurance Provider has checked the report.



  • Bank of America

  • Coca Cola Company

  • Marsh & McLennan

No reference to GRI

  • Entergy

  • Mohawk Industries

Corporate Sustainability Reporting Year-to-Date

We’ve identified 81 US reports published/issued since January 1, 2011.  The reports are collected by the G&A Institute team, analyzed for certain characteristics, and entered into a database that is made publicly-available.  For GRI Framework reports: the inclusion of a formal Content Index lets user easily find specific disclosure and performance indicators information (by page number or direct hyperlink).

The G&A Institute team maintains an Excel database of 2011 reports (January through July) on our Sustainability Headquarters™ web platform, as reported to GRI, click here for information.

The complete global roster of reporting organizations is available at the Global Reporting Initiative web site, along with reporting statistics, and useful information that reveals trends and patterns in reporting practice:  www.globalreporting.org/ReportServices/GRIReportsList/

G&A Institute is the US Data Partner for the GRI organization.  The data gathered that we gathered and analyzed in July will be added to the GRI organization’s global database for reporting.


We are seeing more reports that are available on line only.  Companies are continuing to publish print reports and placing these on line. The on-line format allows for easier cross-referencing of key performance indicators – access to both data and narrative.


We invite managers to submit their company’ or organization report directly to: reports@ga-institute.com 

For more information about the G&A Institute, visit our web site: www.ga-institute.com.


G&A Institute Update™ is published by Governance & Accountability Institute, Inc.
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