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Corporate Good Citizenship: Meeting Expectations for Environmental, Social and Governance Reporting

Executive Resource
Is your company considering undertaking an ESG reporting program? Weaver provides helpful information as to what other companies are doing.
December 23, 2021

In today’s business climate, company leaders can no longer focus solely on financial performance. Institutional investors and other stakeholders increasingly demand clear and transparent reporting on the impact that companies have on their communities and the environment. Companies that fail to proactively manage and disclose key environmental, social and governance (ESG) information along with their financials can face reputational, investment and other consequences.

However, as expectations shift, leaders can find it difficult to understand what they are being asked to do and to report. What do shareholders, institutional investors and customers expect? And how are the most successful companies responding?

ESG Reporting Analysis

In a recent study, Weaver set out to identify how public companies are structuring their sustainability/ESG reports, including both the types of information that companies include and the levels of assurance on the disclosures. We reviewed the latest reports for nearly 25 companies across multiple sectors, including energy, health care and life sciences, technology, construction, manufacturing, real estate, and consumer products and services. Our goal was to identify trends, differences by industry and best practices.

Currently, there is no one framework that has been universally adopted for ESG reporting. Of the companies we surveyed, 75% used the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Standards framework. Out of five major frameworks, GRI and the Sustainability Accountability Standards Board (SASB) are the most widely used. All companies reported emissions or climate mitigation data.

Environmental Reporting

  • Various frameworks include different environmental reporting categories. Emissions reporting (such as greenhouse gases), climate mitigation and waste management are high priorities across all industries.
  • Other common disclosures included reporting on water management, carbon footprints and environmental compliance; half of the companies included information on these categories.
  • 25% of the companies also included information about biodiversity, land management and impacts on wildlife habitat.

Social Reporting

  • All companies overwhelmingly reported on operational health and safety, training and education, supply chain, human rights assessments, customer assistance.
  • Community outreach and philanthropic activities were standard among all companies.
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) were nearly universal topics across all companies and industries, with key disclosures regarding labor standards, benefits, retention and recruiting efforts, culture-focused programs, and their organizational commitments to DE&I within the workforce.
  • More than 90% the sampled reports included this information.
  • Nearly 50% of companies included disclosures about emergency preparedness, public policy, data privacy and child labor.

Governance Reporting

  • Governance reporting varied widely among the different ESG frameworks.
  • Governance reporting varied across industries. For example, the energy, manufacturing, real estate, and construction sectors included disclosures for Anti-Corruption and Bribery. In the Consumer Products & Services sectors, however, disclosures were focused around Anti-Competitive activities.
  • Ethics and Code of Conduct disclosures are universal, included as a key disclosure across all of the surveyed industries.
  • Other standard disclosures included reporting about leadership roles, anti-corruption and bribery; almost 75% of the companies included information on these categories.
  • 50% of companies included information about anti-competitive activity.

Other Findings


Emissions reporting has been widely adopted as a key environmental metric that is important to both companies and shareholders. Sustainability reporting is rooted in environmental disclosures, and the “E” in ESG continues to be treated as a key disclosure category.

The COVID-19 pandemic has also put a spotlight on many of the “S” issues and how companies are supporting the well-being and health of their employees and communities. It is also telling that ethics, anti-corruption and anti-bribery statements were included in most reports. Many companies have had ethics programs in place for years, particularly public companies with sophisticated entity-level programs.

With growing expectations for thorough and transparent ESG reporting, companies that are proactive in developing an ESG reporting strategy and maximizing the reliability of these metrics will be better-positioned to satisfy institutional investors and other stakeholders who have a strong interest in ESG performance.

Weaver Assurance and Advisory Experience

Understanding the need to deliver transparency, maximize opportunities and manage risks related to ESG information, Weaver’s ESG assurance and advisory professionals help asset managers and U.S. businesses face the challenges of ESG reporting and disclosure. Our services include providing assurance over ESG disclosure information and advising clients on their ESG reporting strategy.

Weaver also provides a range of risk advisory services, including enterprise risk management, business process improvement and internal audit. Our experienced team is familiar with the standards, as well as the process challenges that go with collecting, compiling and reporting key information for the marketplace.

If you are interested in exploring ESG reporting assurance options or advisory needs for your company, contact us.

Authored by Greg Englert, CIA, Umair Haroon, CPA, CA, and Alyssa Martin, CPA.

© 2021