Monday, June 27, 2011

SGX-listed firms to get sustainability guide

In a bid to boost transparency and stay ahead, the Singapore Exchange (SGX) has launched a sustainability guide for its listed companies.

This guide outlines best practices for companies with regard to sustainability reporting.

In 1992, there were only 26 sustainability reports world wide, compared to the more than 5,000 today.

While sustainability reporting within Asia is at a very early stage, in Malaysia, there is already mandatory requirements for companies to produce some form of sustainability reports.

The move by Singapore to launch a guide for sustainability reporting is seen as a necessary stepping stone.

At the launch of the guide on Monday, SGX CEO Magnus Bocker highlighted the importance of sustainability reporting to stay ahead.

"Hong Kong has said, and intends to do a consult on its reporting guide. I assume it will be later this year," Mr Bocker said.

"Our neighbour Bursa Malaysia instituted four years ago for their CSR as part of listed companies reporting.

"We will never be leaders as a global exchange, unless our companies are global leaders in the way they report, in the way they do business."

SGX said it is the company's board that should guide such initiatives.

But it added it will take time for such a move to become mandatory.

SGX has however added that it is open to suggestions on how to improve the guide.

Analysts say that education is key.

KPMG Singapore head of climate change & sustainability services Sharad Somani said: "Rather than changing the guidelines, I would say they have to do more market education exercise.

"You have to teach the market what they need to do.

"If you ask the industries, I think majority of them are convinced about it, but... don't know what to do."

SGX said the Policy Statement and Sustainability Reporting Guide are applicable to Mainboard and Catalist companies listed on SGX.

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