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Corporate Governance Asia - Sustainable Asia Award

The Sustainable Asia Award presented by Corporate Governance Asia aims to recognize and celebrate companies operating in Asia that demonstrate exceptional commitment and performance in integrating sustainability into their business operations. The methodology is designed to assess corporates based on their alignment with key sustainability frameworks and places significant emphasis on transparency, accountability, and effectiveness of their sustainability initiatives.

Significance of sustainability

Investing sustainably denotes that firms are dedicating their resources towards areas ranging from mitigating climate change, improving work conditions and diversity of personnel, to tackling inequality and enhancing transparency. Recent years have reinforced that investors are increasingly keen on investing sustainably, combining investing for a financial return with a positive contribution to the environment and the wider society.

We continue to highly encourage companies to be more conscious of their social responsibility by incorporating best sustainability practices into their operations and strive for higher reporting standards. Corporate Governance Asia recognizes corporates that have exerted substantial time and resources to incorporate sustainability into their business models and value chain. These firms have demonstrated that they fully understand the investor community’s needs for long-term sustainable investment performance and their aspirations for a better world.

 

Creating the criteria

• The awardee must have must a previous publicly-acclaimed track record for sustainability (This can be in the form of other sustainability-related awards);
• The awardee must have engaged in a specific publicly-known activity/activities (legislation, surveys, studies, etc.) directly related to improving or enhancing the standards of sustainability during the past 12 months.

The assessment will be based on the following criteria, with each aspect reflecting its importance in evaluating a corporate's sustainability efforts:

Governance Structure and Oversight:

  • Evaluation of the company's governance structure, including the composition and independence of the board of directors, the establishment of sustainability committees, and the integration of sustainability into corporate governance policies.

  • Assessment of board oversight mechanisms for sustainability performance, such as regular reporting, stakeholder engagement, and risk management related to environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors.

Integration of Sustainability in Strategy and Operations:

  • Examination of how sustainability principles are integrated into the company's overall business strategy, including long-term planning, risk assessment, and innovation.

  • Review of sustainability-related goals, targets, and KPIs set by the company and their alignment with global sustainability frameworks such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.

  • Assessment of the extent to which sustainability considerations are embedded into day-to-day operations, supply chain management, and product/service development processes.

Environmental Performance:

  • Evaluation of the company's environmental performance based on factors such as energy efficiency, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, water conservation, waste management, and biodiversity conservation.

  • Analysis of the company's efforts to mitigate environmental risks and capitalize on opportunities for sustainable resource use and renewable energy adoption.

Social Responsibility and Stakeholder Engagement:

  • Examination of the company's social responsibility initiatives, including labor practices, human rights protection, community development, and diversity and inclusion policies.

  • Assessment of stakeholder engagement processes, including dialogue with employees, investors, customers, local communities, non-government organizations, and government authorities.

  • Consideration of the company's efforts to address social challenges such as poverty alleviation, education, healthcare, and affordable housing.

Transparency and Reporting:

  • Evaluation of the company's transparency in disclosing ESG-related information, including the publication of sustainability reports, adherence to international reporting standards (e.g., GRI, SASB), and participation in voluntary disclosure initiatives.

  • Assessment of the quality and comprehensiveness of sustainability reporting, including the disclosure of material ESG risks, performance data, targets, and progress against goals.

Innovation and Leadership:

  • Recognition of innovative approaches and best practices in sustainability management, including the adoption of cutting-edge technologies, collaboration with partners and stakeholders, and thought leadership in addressing sustainability challenges.

  • Assessment of the company's leadership role in driving sustainability initiatives within its industry sector and broader society, including advocacy for policy reforms and industry standards that promote sustainability.

Alignment with Sustainability Indices and Frameworks:

  • Consideration of the company's inclusion in leading sustainability indices as an indicator of its overall sustainability performance.

  • Examination of the company's alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and its contribution to advancing the global sustainability agenda through its business activities and partnerships.

 

Data Collection and Evaluation

Companies will be evaluated based on publicly available information, including annual reports, sustainability reports, corporate disclosures, and relevant third-party assessments. Data will be collected and verified using standardized methodologies to ensure consistency and reliability.

 

Scoring and Ranking

Each criterion will be scored based on predetermined indicators and benchmarks, with higher scores indicating stronger performance. The total score for each company will be calculated by summing up the weighted scores across all criteria. Companies will be ranked based on their total scores, with the highest-scoring companies receiving recognition through the Sustainable Asia Award for Corporate Governance.

Winning companies will be announced and honored at an annual Sustainability Awards ceremony, showcasing their achievements in championing sustainability. The results will be communicated through various channels, including press releases, social media and industry publications to raise awareness and inspire other companies to emulate best practices.

The Sustainable Asia Award for Corporate Governance methodology provides a comprehensive framework for evaluating and recognizing companies that demonstrate leadership in sustainability and responsible business practices. By aligning with established frameworks such as the Dow Jones Sustainability World Index, Hang Seng ESG Index, and United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the award aims to promote greater accountability, transparency, and innovation in corporate governance across Asia.

 

Development of the Assessment

Many of the criteria may reflect best practices that go the extra mile past the requirements of national legislation. In addition, it draws from the existing body of work and rankings in the region to guide the inclusion of items in the assessment.

The assessment of corporates is based primarily on information gained from annual reports and corporate websites. Other sources of information are company announcements, circulars, articles of association, minutes of shareholders’ meetings, corporate governance policies, codes of conduct, and sustainability reports. Information that is publicly available is used in the assessment.

This Sustainable Asia Award methodology provides a comprehensive framework for evaluating companies' sustainability initiatives and governance practices. By recognizing and rewarding companies that demonstrate leadership in sustainability, the award aims to inspire others to adopt similar practices and contribute to the transition towards a more sustainable future in Asia and beyond.

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