ESG Asia conference: Singapore Exchange to survey 100 largest companies on ESG reporting

Study to be carried out by KPMG.

SGX, the Singapore stock exchange, is to carry out a major survey of the sustainability reporting practices of its 100 largest companies with the aim of promoting better implementation. Speaking at the ESG Asia conference in Singapore yesterday (March 27) organised by and Responsible Research, Magnus Böcker, Chief Executive Officer at SGX, said the study work would be done with KPMG, the auditing firm, and would lead to a report on the potential future steps to be taken to improve sustainability reporting. Böcker said a series of seminars would be held from next year to help listed companies make reporting adjustments. Böcker, who before arriving to head up SGX in 2009, was instrumental in the creation of OMX (the Nordic Exchanges Company) and its subsequent merger with Nasdaq in 2008, said the improvement of ESG information in financial reporting was vital for rehabilitating trust in markets and protecting shareholders. To this end he said SGX welcomed proposals being put forward for the Rio+20 UN meeting in June suggesting a global framework be put in place requiring all listed and large private companies to“consider sustainability issues and to integrate sustainability information within the reporting cycle.” The proposal is part of action to promote a green economy found in one of the major strategic UN documents for the summit called the Zero Draft: Rio +20, which provides guidance to UN member states on proposed subjects for discussion.
Exchanges in Asia have been taking encouraging steps on corporate sustainability reporting in recent years.
Last year, SGX released a set of guidelines encouraging its listed companies to adopt sustainability reporting. Similar initiatives have taken place at other exchanges including Bursa Malaysia and the Hong Kong Exchanges. And a report released this week found that 76% of stock exchanges believe they have a responsibility to encourage companies to improve sustainability reporting:
The ESG Asia conference was attended by almost 200 ESG investment professionals from the Asia Pacific region.