January 07, 2019


The role of business in society is at the heart of what we do at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

We do our best work when we examine complex issues – and that’s what we’ve been doing with Environmental, Social and Governance reporting.

About a year ago, we put our heads together with the Chamber’s capital markets group and identified ESG as an issue of real concern. It’s relevant and impactful – and growing – and unresolved. What should companies report? Who in the company should own that reporting? When? How often? In what form? For whom?

We set out on a serious listening tour. Over the last nine months, we’ve met with investors, corporate directors and secretaries, sustainability officers, CSR executives, marketers and communicators, former regulators, and academics.

The discussions were candid and we learned a lot. Three themes emerged:

  • Everyone’s proud of their work and confident that doing well and doing good can happen at the same time.
  • Many companies are already publishing ESG reports – more than 85% of the S&P – but they’re frustrated with demands imposed by activists and feeling that their intentions are being hijacked.
  • They want clarity, and the flexibility to serve the audiences and investors that matter to them.

Now, we’re happy to share the fruits of our work with the publication of Corporate Sustainability Reporting: Past, Present, Future. This report includes valuable background on ESG, insights from our conversations with stakeholders, and some thoughts about the path forward.

Our goal is to inform readers about this important topic, continue the dialogue we began earlier this year, and have a conversation about what a business-led solution could look like.

Please contact Pamela Wilson on our Emerging Issues team at if you would like to learn more about the Foundation or its work in this area.

Download the report