The road ahead. Survey of corporate responsibility reporting



KPMG has published the 10th edition of its Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting. This report is the most extensive since these reports were first compiled, and analyzes the annual financial statements and corporate responsibility reports of 4,900 companies in 49 countries around the world*.

The research starts by analyzing** what it views as the global trends in corporate responsibility reporting, areas that enable it to provide an overview of the state of affairs today, of which we would highlight the following:

The corporate responsibility report is now standard practice for large firms around the world. 75% of the large firms around the world included in our N100 sample report their corporate responsibility policies, a 63% increase over the first edition of the KPMG report, back in 1993. Of the companies included in our G250 sample, the reporting ratio reaches 93%.

Most major companies integrate financial and non-financial data in their annual financial reports, suggesting that they believe that corporate responsibility information is important for investors; looked at by sector, for the first time since the beginning of the nineties, every sector has a corporate responsibility reporting rate of 60% or more.

Integrated Reporting”, embedding data integration to give a 360º perspective of companies, has taken off in countries such as Japan, Brazil, Mexico and Spain; the separate corporate responsibility report is generally found in Latin America.

What is more, assurance of corporate responsibility data, understood as the reliability, accuracy and credibility of the information supplied in this type of report, has doubled over the last 12 years, up by 37% to reach 67%.

However, the non-financial information model in Europe has still not been standardized, although this situation is expected to change once the Royal Decree transposing EU Directive 2014/95/UE on reporting non-financial and diversity information comes into force.

The final global trend is the existence of 9 countries that have corporate responsibility reporting ratios of over 90%. In other words, 90 of the 100 biggest companies in each of these countries provide information about the impact of their activity on society and the environment. These countries include the United Kingdom, France, Denmark, USA and Mexico.

In addition, the survey focuses on four issues it classifies as emerging trends in the contents of corporate responsibility reports:

28% of the world’s major companies already acknowledge the financial risk associated with climate change in their annual financial reports; of these, 76% provide an impact statement. The countries that report most on these issues are: Taiwan, France, South Africa, USA and Canada. Finally, by sector, healthcare and transport & leisure are the least likely to acknowledge these issues, whereas the chemicals and forestry & paper industries top the list in terms of acknowledging them.

39% of the companies analyzed link their corporate responsibility activity to the SDGs, an encouraging finding that shows the importance and resonance that the 17 global goals set by the United Nations in 2015 have for these companies. The top countries for connecting their corporate responsibility activity with the SDGs include France, Sweden, Italy, Spain, Colombia and Mexico, among others.

73% of companies acknowledge human rights as a corporate responsibility issue that their company needs to tackle. This figure goes up to 90% in the G250 sample.

67% of the 250 most important companies in the world disclose their targets for cutting carbon emissions, although nearly 70% of these do not relate their own targets with the climate goals set by governments, regional authorities or the UN.

The data published in the report shows a consolidation of the trend by companies of reporting on their CSR activity and resources. This is an outcome of the awareness, created by the regulations, that is nudging companies and organizations into defining their corporate strategy.


* The 100 largest companies in each country

**Analyzes 3 samples:

  • N100E: sample of 4,900 companies that includes the top 100 companies by revenue in the 49 countries where the research is conducted
  • G250: 250 largest companies by revenue, based on the Fortune 500 ranking
  • N100E: 100 largest companies in Spain by revenue