ESG Assurance in the United States

97 Pages Posted: 21 Nov 2022 Last revised: 16 Aug 2023

See all articles by Brandon Gipper

Brandon Gipper

Stanford University Graduate School of Business

Samantha Ross

UC Law, San Francisco

Shawn Shi

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business

Date Written: August 14, 2023

Abstract

We provide the first, large sample evidence on third-party verification of firms’ environmental and social metrics in ESG reports (“ESG assurance”) in the United States. Focusing on S&P 500 firms from 2010-2020, we document a striking increase in ESG assurance, such that assurance rates are converging to peer countries. Unlike financial audits, ESG assurance varies widely in form and substance, including the choice of metrics assured, the level of assurance, and assuror identity, among others. We show that firms’ decision to obtain ESG assurance is primarily driven by their adoption of ESG reporting frameworks, such as GRI, and to a lesser extent, peer effects. The firm characteristics documented in prior literature—which primarily uses international settings and early periods—play a minor role.

Keywords: ESG reporting, ESG assurance, auditing, sustainability

JEL Classification: G11, G18, G30, M14, M41, M42

Suggested Citation

Gipper, Brandon and Ross, Samantha and Shi, Shawn, ESG Assurance in the United States (August 14, 2023). Stanford University Graduate School of Business Research Paper No. 4263085, UC San Francisco Research Paper No. Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4263085 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4263085

Brandon Gipper (Contact Author)

Stanford University Graduate School of Business ( email )

655 Knight Way
Stanford, CA 94305-5015
United States
(650)498-4350 (Phone)

Samantha Ross

UC Law, San Francisco

Shawn Shi

University of Washington - Michael G. Foster School of Business ( email )

Box 353200
Seattle, WA 98195-3200
United States

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