The ESG Initiative at the Wharton School


Political spending increasingly seen as ESG metric as transparency rating reaches new milestone

Outlet: IR Magazine

One fifth of S&P 500 firms rank as ‘trendsetters’ in 2023 CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability.

A record number of companies have achieved ‘trendsetter’ status for their transparency around political spending in the 2023 CPA-Zicklin Index of Corporate Political Disclosure and Accountability.

One hundred S&P 500 firms have received the designation of trendsetter – assigned to a firm scoring 89 percent or higher across multiple factors, including board oversight of political spending

These 100 companies represent the highest number of top-scoring companies in the index, co-authored by the Center for Political Accountability (CPA) and the Zicklin Center for Governance and Business Ethics at the Wharton School, since it was expanded beyond the S&P 100 in 2015. That year, 28 companies had trendsetter status.

‘The political climate is toxic and hyper-partisan, and the next elections are expected to set records for political spending,’ says Bruce Freed, CPA president, in a statement. ‘Companies face more risk from their political spending, yet more corporations than ever are doing a great job of applying guardrails.

‘What’s more, despite a blistering crusade against ESG principles, companies that have voluntarily made sunlight and accountability for political spending a norm are not wavering.’