September 7, 2021

ESG Assurance Becoming More Common – But It’s Not Consistent

The Center for Audit Quality recently published this analysis of S&P 500 ESG reporting. Here are some key takeaways:

– 95% of S&P 500 companies had detailed ESG information publicly available.

– The information the CAQ examined was primarily outside of an SEC submission in a standalone ESG, sustainability, corporate responsibility, or similar report. Of the remaining 5%, most companies published some high-level policy information on their website.

– A majority of companies referenced more than one reporting framework – CDP, SASB, GRI, TCFD and/or IR. Nearly 300 companies refer to using 3-5 frameworks.

– 264 companies said they had some form of assurance or verification over ESG metrics. Roughly 6% of S&P 500 companies received assurance from a public company auditing firm over some of their ESG information, and 47% had assurance from an engineering or consulting firm.

The CAQ goes on to compare different types of assurance and assurance terminology. This is definitely still an evolving area, and one that our colleague Lawrence will be continuing to write about on

Liz Dunshee