Here's why ESG awareness is on the rise... and it isn't what you think
Now in its 18th year, The Asset Corporate Awards recognize this year’s ESG leaders, with six outstanding achievers winning the highest honours for the 10th consecutive year
Regulations on environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) are accelerating the adoption of ESG standards in Asian businesses, Asset Benchmark Research (ABR) finds in a new survey.
Interestingly, belief that ESG factors play a key role in broader financial performance also motivated many businesses to embrace ESG, says ABR. Companies are waking up to opportunities around ESG with research supporting the fact that operations with better ESG standards typically record stronger financial performance and beat their benchmark.
But meeting legal obligations has superseded moral factors and ethical values as factors driving interest in ESG. Altruism and ethical values have long been considered the main factors driving companies’ interest in ESG. Moral duty, after all, has helped shape ESG principles.
Rising regulatory pressure in Asia, where stock exchanges are demanding transparency in disclosures, is compelling companies to integrate ESG principles in their businesses. Companies are being asked to provide social responsibility reports and disclose carbon emissions in their environmental reports.
Overall, more companies are adopting better ESG standards in Asia, says the survey.
The majority of Asia-listed corporates that participated in The Asset Corporate Awards 2018 survey have shown improvements in sustainability practices, from assigning independent non-executive directors to empowering women, and measuring carbon footprint.
Set against this backdrop, ABR is pleased to announce that 62 companies are stars in this year's honours. This achievement reflects the growing acceptance that not only is good governance core to a company's performance, but that contributions to broader society and environmental responsibility are also critical, as is transparency with investors and other stakeholders.
This year, 37 companies have achieved the highest Platinum ESG level. Of these, six merit a special mention for having won Platinum awards for 10 consecutive years: China Telecom Corporation Limited, Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, Li & Fung Limited, PTT Public Company Limited, Public Bank Berhad, SM Investments Corporation. Another 15 companies are new to the awards in 2018.
For the full list of ESG winners, please click here.
*Note: Asset Benchmark Research has been measuring the performance of companies in corporate governance for 18 years. In 2008, the process was extended to reflect the growing acceptance of ESG targets in corporate performance. Last year, The Asset launched the ESG Forum to provide ideas, insights and inspiration to promote sustainability in business.