Smaller firms lag on ESG reporting

Smaller companies in the ASX 101-200, make up 80 per cent of the poorest environmental, social, and governance (ESG) reporters, according to the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI).

ACSI’s latest ESG report found ESG reporting had improved almost 20 per cent over the past five years and over half of Australia’s largest listed companies provided in-depth disclose and assessment of their material ESG risk.

However, 16 ASX 200 companies were identified as providing no ESG information.

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The companies that had not reported any ESG information over the last two years were ARB Corporation, Domino’s Pizza, Janus Henderson Group, Regis Resources, Speedcast International, and Washington H. Soul Pattinson and Co.

Across the ASX 200 subgroups the ASX 101-200 were the worst performers in terms of ESG reporting as only 35 had either a ‘detailed’ or ‘leading’ level of ESG information. All the ASX 20 were either at the ‘detailed’ or ‘leading’ level.

ACSI chief executive, Louise Davidson, said: “Information about ESG practices is a critical piece of business intelligence. Investors need to understand how companies are tackling ESG issues to make their investment decisions”.

The report noted that there were no requirements to report workplace fatalities. While 22 people died in workplace fatalities in 2018, this information did not have to be available to the market and was only collected by state-based agencies which could be difficult to locate.

Over 70 per cent of these fatalities were contractors suggesting there was a disconnect between the safety practices of companies and the standards they required of contractors.

“Safety data is material to our members. We are concerned that the lack of transparency about workplace deaths may mask the extent of this tragedy and slow the identification of systemic risks,” Davidson said.

ACSI found that 67 companies did not disclose safety information, including eight companies that paid executives bonuses based on safety outcomes.

 

 




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