Study reveals responsible business potential of Hispanic America
Published date: 02 February 2021
Sustainability reporting is spreading in the region, according to new research
Research into corporate transparency practices in Hispanic American capital markets has set a benchmark for the prevalence of sustainability reporting in the region. The GRI study involved all 762 listed companies in five countries – Argentina, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Peru – and found that 37.5% produce a report.
This is the first assessment of sustainability reporting in the region that covers all companies – large and small – as listed on the Argentina Exchange, Colombia Securities Exchange, Lima Exchange, Mexican Exchange, and Santiago Exchange.
The findings point to significant variation by country. In Colombia, where GRI’s Hispanic America Regional Hub is based, 69% of listed companies conduct sustainability reporting, which is followed by Mexico (55%), Argentina (36%), Chile (34%) and Peru (23%).
A more detailed analysis, with a random sample of 90 reporting companies, reveals that the vast majority (87.8%) use the GRI Standards. In addition to GRI, 24.4% follow the IIRC framework,11.1% reference SASB, and 4% the TCFD recommendations. Half of this group apply external verification, ranging from 87.5% in Colombia to 10% in Peru.
An assessment of the five stock exchanges found they all produce a sustainability report, have introduced a good corporate governance code and are members of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges initiative.
Andrea Pradilla, Director of GRI Hispanic America, said:
“This research offers a valuable insight into sustainable business practices in the major economies of Hispanic America. It reveals that many listed companies are starting to appreciate the value of sustainability reporting, reflecting growing expectations from investors and others for businesses to be transparent about their impacts and contribute to the region’s sustainable development.
The progress in some markets offers an example that others can follow. In particular, the strong growth in sustainability reporting by companies in Colombia – with most following the GRI Standards and ensuring independent assurance – is very welcome. Stock exchanges set expectations for listed companies to be accountable, therefore it is encouraging that they are leading by example.
What is clear is that the corporate sustainability journey of Hispanic America has only just begun. Exchanges are strengthening their leadership and we look forward to working with many organizations throughout the region to improve transparency, raise reporting levels and enable lasting improvements in sustainability performance.”
The full report (in Spanish) is available: Divulgacion ASG y de Sostenibilidad en Mercados de Capitals. The research was commissioned by GRI Hispanic America and conducted by AG Sustentable. GRI thanks the Government of Sweden for supporting this project through the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).
The study was conducted between June and November 2020 and covered the five largest capital markets in Hispanic America. It assessed which companies had produced sustainability reports since 2017. Of the 286 companies conducting sustainability reporting, 73.1% use the GRI Standards.
In August 2020, a GRI-led Declaration in favor of Responsible Investment in Colombia was signed by 17 organizations, committing them to align with the Sustainable Development Goals.
Global research by KPMG in December found that, of the 5,200 largest companies across 52 countries, 80% carry out sustainability reporting, with two thirds following GRI.
Carrots & Sticks (2020), the flagship resource on non-financial and sustainability reporting regulations, revealed a global trend of increased disclosure requirements and policies.