This is not just an accounting of corporate sustainability practices. What you are about to read is a close examination of some of the major business and finance trends of the past year—topics that will continue to be front and center well into the future.
Consequently, the themes presented in this report should be of great interest not just to ESG practitioners but to business leaders everywhere. The talented authors have used S&P Global’s best-in-class ESG data and analytics to explain how companies are adapting to rapid changes. They cover everything from the transition to a low carbon economy to the state of corporate diversity and the dramatic shifts in the labor market we saw in 2021 to the growing recognition that businesses have an important role to play in protecting biodiversity.
Last year, more companies than ever participated in S&P Global’s Corporate Sustainability Assessment (CSA). The CSA forms the backbone of the research on which this report is based. We thank the companies that participated in this process, demonstrating their ongoing commitment to transparency about their ESG performance.
In 2021, public-private sector cooperation helped power the move to a more transparent and trustworthy ESG investing ecosystem. At the COP26 climate change conference in Glasgow, the IFRS Foundation announced the formation of the International Sustainability Standards Board to “develop a comprehensive global baseline of high-quality sustainability disclosure standards.” At S&P Global, we welcomed this news.
In addition, the Impact Taskforce (ITF), a private-sector-led, independent body supported by the UK’s government under its presidency of the G7, released recommendations focused on driving private financing to promote impact-driven economies and societies. It was a privilege to represent S&P Global as chair of the ITF workstream dealing with the steps that are needed to produce greater transparency, harmonized disclosure standards, and better data that will facilitate the flow of capital toward projects with positive impact on people and the planet.
These initiatives, as well as others, make me hopeful that we can achieve more transparency and better comparability and standardization of sustainability-related data. Doing so would be a huge benefit for companies and the financial system.
In closing, I want to thank Manjit Jus, S&P Global’s Global Head of ESG Research and Data, and his team who are responsible for this report. They have done a fabulous job advancing our understanding of corporate behavior, and they continue to contribute to the global dialogue about corporate disclosure. I am grateful for their work.
Douglas L. Peterson
President and CEO
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