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The 11th edition of KPMG’s Global Survey of Sustainability Reporting 2020 shows that sustainability reporting is nearly universal, with a small minority of companies globally yet to adopt it. KPMG Australia’s supplementary research on the ASX100 demonstrates Australia is no different. The ASX100 have continued to improve their rigour and robustness in reporting with use of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework, disclosures on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) increasing.

This Global report and Australian supplement are intended for corporate reporting, investor relations and sustainability professionals who want to understand the standards set by the leaders. While also helping investors, lenders, asset managers and rating agencies assess the standard of sustainability reporting and where improvement is required.

Global survey

The Global Survey of Sustainability Reporting is widely acknowledged as the most comprehensive and authoritative global research on sustainability reporting trends.

In 2020, 52 KPMG member firms participated in the research covering reporting from 5,200 companies making this the most extensive survey on record.

The report compares the performance of the global N100 (the average of the 5,200 companies) to the performance in the G250, the world’s largest 250 companies according to the Fortune 500.

 

Key Global highlights

Key global trends in sustainability reporting

Risk of biodiversity loss

Climate risk and carbon reduction

UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs


Australian supplement – Sustainability reporting is mainstream

The Australian supplement shows the status of sustainability reporting within the ASX100, showing just how Australian companies stack up against the rest of the world.

The supplement details that while the level and quality of sustainability disclosures has improved in Australia, to the point where sustainability reporting is expected in our top companies, we still have some way to go in catching up to the globe on use of frameworks and obtaining external assurance over sustainability information.

 

Key Australian highlights

Annual Reporting

Sustainability information when included in the annual report elevates it to inform broader business performance. The recently released edition of the ASX Corporate Governance Principles have continued to put pressure on this area.

  • 92% of ASX100 companies report sustainability information in the Annual Report. This is ahead of the G250, where 76% of companies report here.

Sustainability frameworks

The percentage of ASX100 companies using external frameworks for their reporting has increased between 2017 to 2020. GRI is still the most frequently used framework globally.

  • 66% of ASX100 companies now report in accordance with the GRI framework, up from 42% in 2017.

  • 13% of ASX100 companies release an integrated report. This is behind the G250 where 22% release an integrated report.

Biodiversity

With the formation of the working group for the Task Force for Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD), we expect nature and biodiversity-related disclosures to grow in coming years.

  • 17% of at-risk ASX100 companies believe that biodiversity loss is a risk to their business.

  • In both Australia and globally, the Mining sector leads in acknowledging biodiversity risk. While food and beverages and general retailers are well behind their global peers.

Sustainability Development Goals

The 2020s are often referred to as the ‘decade of action’ on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Our insights highlight the ASX100 are up for the challenge.

  • 67% of the ASX100 now link their business activities to the SDGs, up from just 29% in 2017.

  • This is on-par with the 72% of G250 companies and the 69% of N100 companies who use the SDGs as a framework to inform their reporting.

 
 

Climate risk

Interested in how the world’s largest 250 companies report on climate risk?

How do the largest Australian companies compare?  

KPMG conducted a global and Australian survey of the world’s largest companies. Please read our insights in Towards net zero: How the world’s biggest companies report on climate risk and decarbonisation.

Further insights