China Center Chart of the Week: Reporting on corporate environmental and social performance – still a long way to go
This China Center Chart of the Week shows disclosure rates regarding key sustainability practices for constituent companies of the SSE 50, and compares it with the S&P Global 1200. The SSE 50 index comprises the 50 largest Chinese A-share stocks deemed to be of good liquidity and representativeness from the Shanghai stock exchange.
Adoption rates for "policies" related to climate change, emission reductions, and energy efficiency by the SSE 50 are very high in international comparison. However, getting companies to take action on measuring and reporting actual performance in these areas remains hugely challenging—as can be seen from the very low disclosure rates for quantitative metrics like total GHG emissions, total CO2 emissions, and energy consumption.
A similar pattern is apparent for metrics on social practices. Adoption rates for policies relating to human rights, health and safety, and fair remuneration are very high in international comparison (for example, of the Chinese companies analyzed, 82 percent state to have adopted a human rights policy, compared to only 44 percent for the S&P Global 1200), but there is a serious lack of quantitative data to accompany the high levels of policy adoption claims, so actual performance in these areas is difficult to assess (for example, only two companies in the sample disclose their number of work accidents).
Overall, sustainability disclosure is improving, but still very weak in China. Please download the full chart to examine the data and read the complete analysis.