“Inour paper, we examine the evolution of ESG reports for S&P 500 companies and explore how the content of ESG reports has evolved in the absence of regulation. We also document how this content changed around the introduction of voluntary disclosure standards that defined a comprehensive set of financially material ESG issues…
We also find evidence that firms in the same sector increasingly use similar language over time, as do firms across sectors, meaning that firms may be coalescing around a common ESG vocabulary.”
[COMMENTARY] The research shown in this article is highly encouraging in that it shows not only are companies providing much greater ESG metrics but that the metrics used tend to become somewhat standardized within each industry. This allows — even without regulation — for increasingly greater insight into ESG relationships on an intra-industry basis.
The Evolution of ESG Reports and the Role of Voluntary Standards, by Ethan Rouen, Kunal Sachdeva, and Aaron Yoon, November 21, 2022, Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance, USA.