Mainstreaming Standardized Sustainability Reporting: Comparing Fortune 50 Corporations’ and U.S. News & World Report’s Top 50 Global Universities’ Sustainability Reports

Hamilton SN, Waters RD (2022). “Mainstreaming Standardized Sustainability Reporting: Comparing Fortune 50 Corporations’ and U.S. News & World Report’s Top 50 Global Universities’ Sustainability Reports.” Sustainability 14(6): 3442. https://doi.org/10.3390/su14063442

Abstract: Research has shown that sustainability reporting can positively influence organizational accountability and transparency. However, little research has been done to compare how sectors present their sustainability efforts. This research uses content analysis to examine how the two sectors leading reporting efforts detail their work. Specifically, sustainability reports published in 2020 were sought from the Fortune 50 and the top 50 institutions from U.S. News & World Report (USNWR)’s Best Global University rankings to examine compliance with the standard reporting frameworks and how the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals were presented. Results suggest Fortune 500 companies and educational institutions did not report sustainability in the same fashion, nor did either grouping follow a standardized reporting framework. For-profit corporations were more likely to publish a stand-alone sustainability report and more likely to address more of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.

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