A record number of companies are disclosing ESG data, according to the S&P Global Sustainability Yearbook 2021 released Monday.
The yearbook, published since 2004, covers a record 7,032 companies, compared with 4,700 in 2020, across 40 countries and 61 industries, and is now publicly available.
Of those, 70 earned Gold Class status by achieving an S&P Global ESG Score within 1% of their industry's top-performing company's score. Silver Class and Bronze Class distinctions represent companies achieving an ESG score within 5% or 10%, respectively.
European companies led the Gold Class with 27 firms, followed by 20 in emerging markets, which have been on an upward trend the past five years, according to S&P Global.
Emerging market companies also placed second in the Silver Class, behind European ones.
In the Bronze Class, Europe led with 44 companies, followed by 22 each for the Asia-Pacific region and emerging market firms.
The scores are based on S&P's global corporate assessments of the 7,000-plus companies and are a key factor for companies being selected for the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices, the ratings firm said in a news release.
Evan Greenfield, ESG chief operating officer at S&P Global, said in the news release that the record number of companies completing the assessment this past year was encouraging and "is a testament to the need for transparency and comparability for all market participants to better address ESG risks and opportunities."