Applying Scenario Analysis in Understanding your Climate-related Risks and Opportunities

 

by Lim Sze Wei & Stefan Ullrich.

Investors are beginning to get on board with the global fight against climate change, a movement that was until recently the territory of non-profit organisations and environmentalists. According to the inaugural Global Climate Index 2017 for Asset Managers by the Asset Owner Disclosure Project (AODP), a majority of 60% of asset owners are now taking action on climate change, while 40% continue to ignore the associated risks and opportunities. The report also found that the world’s top 50 asset managers are well ahead of their asset owner clients in their approach to managing the financial impact of climate change on investment portfolios [1]. Blackrock, the world’s largest investor with US$6.317 trillion [2] assets under management (AUM) has warned that high-level directors could be voted out of companies that are failing to mitigate climate-related risks posed to individual firms [3].

Investors are increasingly paying more attention to companies’ environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues, urging them to disclose the impacts of climate change on their business and assessing how these topics are managed. It is therefore very likely that shareholders will increasingly demand responses to ESG related topics, specifically climate-related risks, in the near future.

In response to the growing demand for organisations to properly assess, understand and report climate-related risks, and at the request of G20 leaders, the Financial Stability Board (FSB), a body that makes recommendations on the global financial system, established the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) in December 2015.

In its recommendations for organisations from both the financial and non-financial sectors, published in June 2017, the Task Force concluded that a key forward-looking tool to grasp the complexities of climate change is scenario analysis and recommended that companies explore physical, strategic, and financial risks and opportunities that could emerge from a range of climate-related scenarios, including a 2oC scenario. (Note: An increase of global temperature by more than 2°C has come to be the majority definition of what would constitute intolerably dangerous climate change. The UNFCC Paris Agreement’s key aim is to keep global temperature rise to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and to ideally limit the increase to no more than 1.5°C.)

What is scenario analysis?

Scenario analysis (sometimes called “scenario planning” or “scenario and contingency planning”) is a structured process for organisations to analyse possible future events by considering several scenarios i.e. stories about how the future might unfold and how it will affect them. It is a tool that intends to explore alternatives that may significantly alter the basis for “business-as-usual” assumptions, therefore enhancing critical strategic thinking.

While scenario analysis is a relatively recent tool to asses climate-related risks and opportunities and their potential business implications, it is an established method for developing strategic action plans that are flexible and robust to cover a range of future states.

Scenario analysis is also a good ‘storytelling’ tool in connecting the various and complex interactions, behaviours and emergent properties of our natural, economic and social systems. It recognises the ‘human science’ perspective in the diverse epistemologies of the climate, economic, and social narrative. It assists multiple business actors to broaden the focus to encompass a richer set of considerations thus providing decision makers with the understanding of complex systems associated with climate-related risks and opportunities, effects from various forms of intervention, and to then tailor strategic and targeted approaches in managing these risks.

The tool is also useful in helping transcend sustainability and climate change discussions from just the sustainability department, into the boardroom and the offices of the CFO, COO, CIO, etc. – thereby strengthening internal relations of an organisation and its ability to respond quickly and effectively to emerging threats and opportunities.

Given that the foundation of scenario analysis is based on forward-looking assessments, it is also a useful communications tool for informing stakeholders about the organisation’s position pertaining to climate-related risks and opportunities.

How to use the scenario analysis?

If your organisation is just beginning to use scenario analysis, the TCFD recommends that you can begin with qualitative scenario narratives of storylines. As your organisation gains experience with qualitative scenario analysis, the scenarios and associated analysis of development paths can be guided by quantitative information such as using datasets and models (e.g. developed in-house or provided by third-party providers) to illustrate pathways and outcomes.

In identifying scenarios, the TCFD recommends using a range of scenarios that enlighten participants on the future exposure to both transition and physical climate-related risks and opportunities, tailored to the industry, economic sector, and geographical location of the organisation’s value chain.

A key scenario recommended by the Task Force is business-as-usual, which is critical for identifying the likelihood of physical risks (e.g. water scarcity, land degradation, flooding, extreme weather events), their magnitude and the necessary adaptation measures. This scenario will assist organisations with understanding the physical impacts from acute and chronic weather events which will interrupt businesses and operations across the supply chain.

Another key scenario which the Task Force recommends is a scenario which is consistent with keeping global warming below 2oC. This scenario assesses transition risks and its impacts under the assumption of meeting the science-based targets (SBT), in alignment with agreed international climate change commitments. This scenario will assist organisations to identify reduction targets and measures required for transitioning into a low-carbon economy. For information on SBT, please refer to https://paiaconsulting.com.sg/science-based-targets/

The typical categories of transition risks and/or opportunities an organisation should consider when applying scenario analysis are summarized in the table below:

Market and Technology Policy and Legal Reputation
As markets respond to climate change, supply and demand will shift for certain products and services. For example, reduced market demand for higher carbon products/commodities, and increased demand for energy-efficient, lower carbon products and services.

Organisations may also be impacted by improvements in technology, including technology that accelerates the transition to a lower-carbon economy. These new technologies will disrupt and displace parts of the current system.

How will these changes impact the financial security of investments? And what should key decision makers do to mitigate these disruptions?

International, national and state level legislations are evolving in response to the need for mitigation of climate change and to catalyse climate change adaptation. Organisations that fail to change are at risk of non-compliance.

For example, there is an increased threat to securing license to operate for high-carbon activities, and an increased risk of legal action against companies that have contributed to the causes of climate change.

Secondly, with the introduction of policies on pricing externalities (e.g. carbon tax), there is also an emerging concern about increased operating costs.

Stakeholders such as investors, lenders, and consumers are increasingly expecting responsible conduct from businesses. Failure to appropriately demonstrate adaptation risks loss of trust and confidence in management.

A client case study

In 2018, Paia Consulting was commissioned by a South East Asian client in the financial sector to conduct focus-group discussions (FGD) with a broad range of stakeholders, including senior management, representatives from all business units, and key external stakeholders.

The objective of the discussion is to solicit feedback from key internal and external stakeholders on the organisation’s sustainability strategy, materiality, and potential focus areas.

As part of the FGD, Paia applied the scenario analysis approach and presented two scenarios highlighting

  • physical risks from a business-as-usual approach, and
  • transition risks from government legislations and policies in meeting the national climate change commitments, i.e. the Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDC) under the Paris Agreement.

During the scenario analysis exercise, participants were asked to discuss and identify the effects of the scenario on the organisation, the organisation’s response to improve its resiliency, and initiatives which can be undertaken to achieve a different outcome or to thrive in these changing environments.

As a result of this scenario analysis exercise, participants were able to grasp and consider the multi-faceted ESG risks which can affect their organisation, and suggested potential solutions the company should develop to overcome key ESG risks.

[1] Global Climate Index 2017, Asset Owners Disclosure Project.

[2] https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/literature/press-release/1q-earnings-2018.pdf

[3] https://www.blackrock.com/corporate/about-us/investment-stewardship/voting-guidelines-reports-position-papers#2018-priorities

3 common hurdles of writing a Sustainability Report and ways to overcome them.

Complexity can be stressful for anyone so we completely understand what you’re facing when asked to put together a Sustainability Report for your organisation when you simply don’t know how and frankly don’t have the time. The hurdles you face are shared by many and we want to help by addressing these issues and suggest real ways in which you can overcome them.

Challenge #1: Lack of commitment from management towards allocating sufficient time, budget and training to do this task.

Define the ‘Why’ of why you’re putting this report together. Understand what sustainability is and why there is a need for reporting on it. Is it merely to comply with SGX Sustainability Reporting Guidelines or to meet investor needs? Do you need this information to respond to media enquiries? You can improve your company’s reputation by telling the sustainability story of your company. Does the board need to understand the impact of what your company does?

Be sure to define the ‘Why’ clearly. What will be the benefits of reporting? Once upper management is committed, it will pave the way for suitable budget and time allocation, as well as, ensure cooperation from both upper management and colleagues in sharing the metrics required to complete your report.

Challenge #2: Do not have the skills to write this report but need to. Are you concerned that you do not have the pre-requisite knowledge? 

Do you feel like you’ve been thrown in the deep end and you’re scared to mess it up? Our Sustainability Reporting Toolkit Package has been put together just for you by people who have extensive experience in writing sustainability reports and aims to simplify the process for new reporters. The package includes a Handbook which outlines the essential sections of a sustainability report, guiding you on what content to focus upon and where to obtain the relevant information. The package also includes Tools and Templates to help you build the data required to populate the report. This is complemented by a one day training course held within a small group setting allowing our experienced reporter to help you understand how to use the Tools and Templates provided to compile your company’s sustainability report.

Challenge #3: Availability and accuracy of data

Sustainability performance data is required to comply with SGX reporting requirements. Our experts provide pragmatic guidance of how to source the relevant data to do a report. Our Toolkit guides you, step by step through the data collection process so that companies can cost effectively establish a data collection system to go alongside financial data, as these reports are likely to require third party audit in the near future as stated in SGX’s reporting requirements. Hence putting in place a robust data collection system from the very beginning.

 

Contact us today and lets have a conversation about your sustainability reporting journey. We are here to help.

What else would you like to learn more about? We would love to hear your views so please email your contributions to training@paiaconsulting.com

2018 – Year of Climate Action and the Carbon Tax: What companies in Singapore should know

The 2017 hurricane season was one of the most intense in recent history [1] and left extensive damage in Texas, Florida, and the Caribbean while Typhoon Hato wreaked havoc in Hong Kong [2]. Financial losses related to these natural desasters were significant. Several large reinsurers, including Munich Re, have reported big losses resulting from the cost of the disasters [3]. In the medium term, such events will also lead to assets being uninsurable [4].

 

Climate change is a factor increasing the frequency and intensity of climate-related disasters such as hurricanes [1]. Singapore has been experiencing more heavy storms in recent years and also dry spells such as the one in early 2014. As a low-lying coastal state, Singapore is also vulnerable to rising sea levels and floods, and is taking measures: the fifth Changi terminal will be built on land raised 5.5m above mean sea level, and the government has increased minimum heights of reclaimed land and coastal areas [5].

 

Climate-related impacts in other parts of the world will also have an impact on Singapore’s supply of food, water and raw materials. Globally, $4 trillion worth of assets will be at risk from climate change by 2030 [6].

 

But are companies aware of climate change risks, and are they doing enough to mitigate and adapt to climate change impacts? According to a survey by KPMG, almost three quarters of large and mid-cap companies worldwide and in Singapore do not acknowledge the financial risks of climate change in their annual financial reports. In addition, only 17 per cent of Singaporean firms have set carbon reduction targets, compared with the global average of 50 per cent [7].

 

To instil awareness of climate change and to inspire action among citizens of Singapore, 2018 has been designated as the Year of Climate Action.

 

The Year of Climate Action, together with a Climate Action pledge, was launched by Minister for Environment and Water Resources, Masagos Zulkifli, at the Singapore Sustainability Academy last Friday morning (26th of January 2018) [8]. According to Mr Masagos, 2017 was the hottest year in record for Singapore. For Singapore, the rate of warming from 1951 to 2012 was 0.26°C per decade, more than double the global average of 0.12°C over the same period. Singapore’s mean sea level is currently estimated to rise by about one metre by 2100 [9].

 

Under the 2015 Paris Agreement and as part of a global effort to mitigate climate change, Singapore has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions per dollar of GDP (otherwise known as “emission intensity”) by 36 per cent from 2005 levels by 2030. Singapore has also pledged to stop any increase in its total GHG emissions by 2030 [10].

 

To meet these targets, Singapore’s strategies include implementing a carbon tax on large emitters. From 2019-2023, each tonne of CO2 is taxed at S$5. The tax rate is expected to increase to between S$10 and S$15 per tonne by 2030 [11]. The Singapore government has also increased its focus on renewables and low-carbon technologies, especially solar power [12].

 

Given these direct and indirect impacts of climate change on companies’ financial viability, businesses have begun to incorporate climate change considerations into financial and business decisions. Several local companies, specifically CDL, DBS, Olam, SGX, and Singtel, have endorsed recommendations by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD). Issued by the G-20’s Financial Stability Board (FSB), the TCFD recommends companies to disclose their climate-related financial risks and opportunities [13].

 

Internationally, companies such as Glencore and ConocoPhilips, have already conducted climate change or carbon scenario planning. For companies that are just starting out, tracking GHG emissions will be the first step. Stakeholders are increasingly expecting companies to report on their GHG performance and management plans – the Carbon Disclosure Project requests such information from corporations all over the world and makes it available to investors and customers.

 

Climate change as well as the global response to it by regulators and businesses are likely to have a significant impact on your business, regardless of the industry you are in. To respond to these developments and ensure that your company is prepared for new challenges, you may want to consider the following:

 

 

[1] https://news.nationalgeographic.com/2017/09/hurricane-irma-harvey-season-climate-change-weather/

[2] https://www.cnbc.com/video/2017/08/23/typhoon-hato-not-business-as-usual-after-hurricane-hits-hong-kong.html

[3] https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/26/business/dealbook/munich-re-hurricanes-insurance.html

[4] https://www.ft.com/content/d8c727ee-44e0-11e6-9b66-0712b3873ae1

[5] https://www.bundesbank.de/Redaktion/EN/Topics/2017/2017_10_09_climate_risks.html

[6] https://www.cdp.net/en/climate

[7] https://home.kpmg.com/xx/en/home/media/press-releases/2017/10/companies-not-noting-financial-risk-of-climate-change.html

[8] http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/environment/singapore-launches-its-year-of-climate-action-masagos-urges-people-and

[9] https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/singapore-to-declare-2018-year-of-climate-action-9414346

[10] http://www.todayonline.com/singapore/spore-declares-2018-year-climate-action

[11] https://www.todayonline.com/singapore/carbon-tax-set-s5-tonne-ghg-emissions-next-five-years

[12] https://www.mewr.gov.sg/climateaction

[13] http://www.eco-business.com/opinion/climate-change-and-sustainability-disclosure-why-we-must-start/

World Environment Day 2017 – Growing efforts from the public and private sector, with increased focus on waste reduction

On World Environment Day this year, both the public and private sectors in Singapore upped up their efforts for environmental protection with a series of plans and initiatives. These include:

  • the unveiling of the Public Sector Sustainability Plan 2017-2020 by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean,
  • the introduction of mandatory reporting of packaging data and packaging waste reduction plans and the Logo for Products with Reduced Packaging by National Environment Agency,
  • the launch of ReCYCLE, a nationwide electronic waste recycling programme by Singapore Post and Singtel
  • the official opening of the Singapore Sustainable Academy by CDL and Sustainability Energy Association ofSingapore.

Under the Public Sector Sustainability Plan, environmental targets are set with regards to the use of electricity, water, building, waste and solar energy for FY2020 and achieve them through better resource management. Transparency and Disclosure is one of the main components guiding the Plan [1]; we can expect progress against targets to be communicated. The Plan reinforces Singapore’s commitment to the Paris Agreement of reducing emissions intensity by 36 per cent by 2030 from 2005 levels [2].

The Public Sector Sustainability Plan is published by the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources (MEWR), under the Sustainable Singapore campaign.

The National Environment Agency, an agency under MEWR, also introduced initiatives to reduce packaging waste. The launch of the Logo for Products with Reduced Packaging (LPRP) will help inform consumers of products that has reduced packaging and hence generate less waste. Mandatory reporting of packaging data and packaging waste reduction plans will also be introduced by 2021, for businesses that uses packaging on consumer goods [3].

The announcement of mandatory reporting of packaging data and Waste Reduction Plans by 2021 was made by Mr Masagos Zulkifli, Minister for the Environment and Water Resources, during the 10th Anniversary celebrations of the Singapore Packaging Agreement (SPA) [1]. Reduction of packaging waste makes business sense for winners of the 10th SPA awards.  Greenpac for example avoids 4.13 tonnes of packaging material and reaps about $17,200 a year in material cost savings after redesigning a microscope packaging to use lighter polypropylene (PP) corrugated sheets instead of wood [4]. Sunfresh Singapore has estimated annual cost savings of $1,320 with a reduction of 0.28 tonne of plastic packaging waste by eliminating plastic liners in their deliveries of aluminium cups [4].

Given that one-third of about 1.66 million tonnes of waste disposed in 2016 by Singapore was packaging waste [1], these initiatives are appropriate and timely.

Waste reduction was the theme of some initiatives by the private sector as well.

Singapore Post and Singtel for instance launched ReCYCLE, a nationwide electronic waste recycling programme. Consumers can now drop unwanted electronic devices into the ReCYCLE bins at selected Singtel outlets and Post Offices at no charge. Valuable metals and components in the devices would be recovered [5].

At the official opening of the Singapore Sustainable Academy (SSA), winners of the 6th CDL Singapore Sculpture Awards presented artwork that utilised the SSA’s residual building materials, in line with this year’s theme of ‘Towards Zero-Waste!’ [6].

The SSA is a training and networking facility on sustainability jointly created by City Developments Limited (CDL) and the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS), a non-profit organisation. Among other sustainability-related events, the SSA will be a platform for CDL’s Women4Green initiative, the first sustainability network for women in Singapore. The SSA will also partner Eco-Business to set up a Sustainability Studio for the production of sustainability-related films [6].

The ReCYCLE programme and the Singapore Sustainable Academy are great examples of how partnerships between sectors can work together to achieve better environmental outcome. Indeed, that collective effort by all sectors in the economy are required to make progress, and it is heartening to see initiatives by both the public and public sector this World Environment Day.

World Environment Day started in 1974 by the United Nations, and is celebrated on 5 June by over 100 countries every year [7].

 

References

[1] https://www.mewr.gov.sg/news/press-release—singapore-launches-sustainability-plan-to-chart-green-course-for-public-sector

[2] http://www.pmo.gov.sg/newsroom/dpm-teo-chee-hean-opening-ceremony-singapore-sustainability-academy

[3] http://www.nea.gov.sg/corporate-functions/newsroom/news-releases/nea-to-introduce-mandatory-reporting-of-packaging-data-waste-reduction-plans-by-2021

[4] Singapore Packaging Agreement, ‘3R Packaging Awards 2016’

[5] http://recycle.sg/

[6] http://www.cdl.com.sg/images/press_release/20170605.pdf

[7] http://worldenvironmentday.global/en/about/what-is-it

 

 

Human Rights in the Workplace

What constitutes Human Rights in the Workplace

Human rights are often seen as perplexing, complex issues that most organisations find hard to grapple with or think these are simply not applicable to their business. Human rights are in fact, very much a part of the daily workings of an organisation. Common human resource issues, contractual agreements, health and safety of employees, discrimination, fair wages – all form part of human rights.

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (or the ‘Guiding Principles’) which is the global standard in this field and endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council[1] defines human rights as being inherent to all individuals – some outlined in the Principles include rights to life and security, rights to freedom of thought, expression and religion, freedom of association and of movement, rights to education and work, to family life and privacy, to food and water, freedoms from torture, slavery or forced labour, rights to freedom of movement, rights to fair and decent work conditions and non-discrimination and rights to a fair trial[2]. The Principles are applicable to all states and businesses and set expectations about how to prevent, address and mitigate negative impacts on human rights by business.

In addition to the Guiding Principles, there are other internationally recognized human rights which Singapore specifically adheres to such as the Universal Declaration on Human Rights, which was adopted by the United Nations, the ILO Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work, Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Convention to Eliminate all forms of Discrimination against Women, Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC).

Why are Human Rights becoming more relevant in the workplace and what are the expectations from companies?

It is evident that companies can preserve or adversely affect human rights of their employees and contract workers, their customers, workers in their supply chains, the local communities in which they operate and the final users of their products and services.

The Guiding Principles make clear that all companies have a responsibility to respect human rights, and the responsibility applies not only to company’s own operations but also to all their business relationships, including those throughout their value chain. The UN Guiding Principle 11 expects companies to ‘avoid infringing on the human rights of others and should address adverse human rights impacts with which they are involved’.

The first Corporate Human Rights Benchmark (CHRB) launched earlier this month benchmarking the human rights performance of 98 of the world’s biggest businesses from the apparel, agriculture and ICT sectors[3]. This study determines global leaders and laggards and is the result of detailed and wide-ranging multi-stakeholder consultations, across a wide range of stakeholders (companies, governments, civil society organisations, academics, legal experts etc.). The tool benchmarks business performance on how well they are doing at embedding the UN guiding principles on business and human rights across 6 main categories: their Governance and policies, evidence of embedding Respect and Human Rights Due Diligence, provision of Remedies and Grievance mechanisms, performance of companies Human Right practices as well as their response to allegations and the transparency of their disclosure. Some of the leading companies that emerged were global brands like Marks and Spencer, H&M, Nestle, Unilever, Total and Adidas to name a few. Surprising for some were BHP Billilton, Rio Tinto and TOTAL raking high points.

The benchmarking exercise, like the Modern Slavery Act (in the UK) is instigating business to reconsider their existing governance practices within their operations as well as their supply chains, and to think hard about what the rights of their stakeholders are. The published report does acknowledge that developing strong and enhanced human rights practices is not something that can happen overnight for companies. It takes time to change practices and mindsets, develop frameworks and policies and embed them into the organisation.

Melanie Yap, Founding Partner of A Very Good Company (AVGC) Singapore, a boutique agency which brings together teams of experts to create and implement programmes that bring financial and social value contends ‘businesses, especially those with a global outlook are aware that they run a very real risk of reputational damage with investors, customers and future talent if they fail to take action to prevent and remedy human rights violations. We have seen in particular, investors and consumers pay increasing attention to supply chains where labour rights and industrial relations pose a risk not just to the reputation of a business but to the business itself.’

In Singapore, companies are beginning to talk about human rights, very much in line with international expectations. We still have a long way to go but it is apparent that are benefits to businesses of respecting human rights such as improved risk management, greater access to business opportunities, positive recognition including being seen as a socially responsible organisation, leading to better reputation and ultimately improved relationships with stakeholders – all leading to the greater trust and transparency. Increasingly, as investors look to non-financial, social and governance performance aspects of companies, companies cannot shy away from addressing these slightly complex issues.

 

[1] In 2011

[2] http://www.ungpreporting.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/UNGPReportingFramework_withguidance2017.pdf

[3] http://www.triplepundit.com/2017/03/worlds-leading-companies-human-rights/#

Are the GRI G4 Sector Disclosures still relevant?

With the new GRI Standards, using the G4 Sector Disclosures is a ‘reporting requirement’ – a
‘should’, not a ‘reporting requirement’ (GRI 101 Foundations, pg. 18). What does this mean for
reporters?
Simply put, it is now a recommendation, and not a requirement, that reporting organisations consult
the sector disclosures to assist with identifying its material topics and indicators to report on. To
prepare a report in accordance to GRI Standards, you do not have to consult the sector disclosures,
but Paia recommends that you do. GRI Standards requires that attention be paid to the sustainability
context, which includes the sectoral context. One of the tests of materiality is that it includes “main
topics and future challenges for a sector, as identified by peers and competitors” (GRI 101
Foundations, pg. 18) , suggesting that a sector-specific approach still remains useful.

Sources: GRI 101 Foundations Document, 2016
(https://www.globalreporting.org/standards/media/1036/gri-101-foundation-2016.pdf#page=17)

Earth Day Film Screening at NUS: Leonardo Dicaprio’s ‘Before the Flood

The NUS Energy Studies Institute (ESI) and the US Embassy jointly organized a screening of the 2016 documentary film about climate change, ‘Before the Flood’, on the 6th of April 2017. Held at the NUS University Hall Auditorium, the film screening was prefaced by a panel discussion on climate change.

‘Before the Flood’ is a powerful documentary, driven by an engaged and empathetic Leonardo DiCaprio. He takes on the role of investigative journalist as he travels across the globe to interview politicians, researchers, innovators – subjects interviewed include former President Barack Obama, Elon Musk and Pope Francis. It is in the linking of multiple places in the world that presents climate change as a multifaceted reality, connecting groups of people in the face of an unrelenting threat. DiCaprio masterfully journeys from the flooded crops in India, to the smog-hit industrialized cities of Beijing, to the melting ice sheets of Greenland, the political impasse of the White House, the magnitude of factory-farming in the US, and even to Hollywood, to explore the effects of climate change. The documentary shows with stunning clarity the different ways in which people are organizing against climate change. In China, DiCaprio is educated on the importance of data, and how grassroots movements have called for more transparency and reporting by companies. This has created momentum for citizen-built data collection and data sharing platforms, providing citizens with leverage to demand accountability from companies and specific policy changes from their government. In the US, DiCaprio sees instead a move towards carbon pricing across the economy, from the private industry through to government legislation.

‘Before the Flood’ is a very visual, educational documentary, focused not just on showing the effects of climate change, but also the ways in which things like data, reporting, innovation and policy can be used to develop short and long term solutions. For more information on the film, please visit: https://www.beforetheflood.com/

What makes the cut? Charting materiality amongst Singapore’s sustainability reporters.

Carrie Johnson, Wong Dan Chi, Nicolas Heath & Lim Sze Wei

With the Singapore Stock Exchange’s (SGX) announcement this year that sustainability reporting is to be introduced on a “comply-or-explain” basis for all listed companies from the end of FY2017, understanding Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) material issues has never been more important. Up to 700 companies will soon have to start reporting on their ESG risks and ultimately tackle the all-important question, which is: when it comes to sustainability, what is considered relevant?

This is where the idea of materiality becomes important. Material issues, as defined by the Global Reporting Standards (GRI) are issues “that reflect a reporting organisation’s significant economic, environmental and social impacts”. The process that a company goes through in defining these issues (often termed a ‘materiality assessment’) will form the inevitable backbone of the reporting process for new reporters.[1]

Hundreds of companies are now embarking on the process of assessing their material issues and prioritising risks and opportunities. Paia has, through conducting research, identified the material issues that matter to current sustainability reporters in Singapore.  Which issues stand out, and what processes are companies using to decide on their material issues? Paia attempts to provide insight to this question by analysing the material issues and materiality process of all 40 Singapore companies currently producing sustainability reports to an internationally recognised standard.

What do reporters consider most material?

The majority of Singapore’s reporters have aligned themselves to the guidelines set by the Global Reporting Initiate (GRI). The GRI is the global standard for sustainability reporting, and its materiality determination process often forms the basis of the materiality assessments undertaken by companies.  On the whole, Singapore’s reporters align their material issues with GRI’s predefined topics.  The updated GRI Sustainability Reporting Standards (released in 2016) encourages companies to align their material issues to GRI’s predetermined list, so that companies are reporting on standardised issues, and therefore standardised KPIs. This encourages comparability across companies and their reports. Some companies also include sector specific topics, which are reporting recommendations under the new GRI Standards. This is most prominent among agricultural reporters who tend to prioritise sector-specific issues such as smallholder rights and peatland degradation, making their reports more meaningful in the process.

Paia’s has identified the 6 most reported material issues out of the 40 Singaporean companies, as shown in the following chart:

 

Top 6 Materiality Sustainability Issues

Note: In identifying the top material issues reported, Paia considered material issues that were ranked as highly important by companies. In the absence of ranking or prioritisation of material issues, all listed material issues were included in the analysis.

From Paia’s analysis, Singapore’s most material issue is ‘Occupational Health & Safety’. It is material to 80% of all GRI reporters. Paia also found that companies that didn’t include this as a key material issue primarily fell into the financial services sector.

Paia also found that even for issues not ranked as a key material issue, companies often still disclosed performance data. For example, companies that did not rank ‘Energy’ or ‘Water’ as key material issues typically still disclosed performance data around these issues, as this practice was seen to be in-line with reporting expectations.

Paia’s analysis also attempted to identify the most reported KPIs. Our results are shown in the table below, indicating the KPIs that were reported on by more than 75% of Singaporean companies:

ASPECT DESCRIPTION GRI G4 INDICATOR % OF COMPANIES
Training & Education Average hours of training per year per employee by gender, and by employee category LA9 90.0
Training & Education Percentage of employees receiving regular performance and career development reviews, by gender and by employee category LA11 90.0
Energy Energy consumption within the organization EN3 87.5
Economic Performance  Direct economic value generated and distributed EC1 85.0
Occupational Health & Safety  Type of injury and rates of injury, occupational diseases, lost days, and absenteeism, and total number of work-related fatalities, by region and by gender LA6 85.0
Water Total water withdrawal by source EN8 82.5
Employment Total number and rates of new employee hires and employee turnover by age group, gender and region LA1 80.0
Local Communities Percentage of operations with implemented local community engagement, impact assessments, and development programs SO1 77.5
Energy Reduction of energy consumption EN6 75.0
Emissions Energy indirect greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Scope 2) EN16 75.0

More than 50%, but less than 75% of Singaporean companies report on the following indicators:

ASPECT DESCRIPTION GRI G4 INDICATOR % OF COMPANIES
Emissions Reduction of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions EN19 70.0
Environmental Compliance Monetary value of significant fines and total number of non-monetary sanctions for non-compliance with environmental laws and regulations EN29 70.0
Emissions Direct greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (Scope 1) EN15 67.5
Diversity and Equal Opportunity Composition of governance bodies and breakdown of employees per employee category according to gender, age group, minority group membership, and other indicators of diversity LA12 67.5
Anti-Corruption Communication and training on anti-corruption policies and procedures SO4 62.5
Training and Education Programs for skills management and lifelong learning that support the continued employability of employees and assist them in managing career endings LA10 62.5
Anti-Corruption Confirmed incidents of corruption and actions taken SO5 60.0
Emissions Greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions intensity EN18 60.0
Occupational Health & Safety Percentage of total workforce represented in formal joint management-worker health and safety committees that help monitor and advise on occupational health and safety programs LA5 60.0
Non-Discrimination Total number of incidents of discrimination and corrective actions taken HR3 60.0
Society Compliance Monetary value of significant fines and total number of non-monetary sanctions for non-compliance with laws and regulations SO8 57.5
Effluents and Waste Total weight of waste by type and disposal method EN23 57.5
Employment  Benefits provided to full-time employees that are not provided to temporary or part-time employees, by significant locations of operation LA2 55.0
Anti-Corruption Total number and percentage of operations assessed for risks related to corruption and the significant risks identified SO3 55.0
Energy  Energy intensity EN5 52.5
Customer Health and Safety Percentage of significant product and service categories for which health and safety impacts are assessed for improvement PR1 52.5
Customer Health and Safety Total number of incidents of non-compliance with regulations and voluntary codes concerning the health and safety impacts of products and services during their life cycle, by type of outcomes PR2 52.5
Effluents and Waste Total water discharge by quality and destination EN22 50.0
Product and Service Labelling  Results of surveys measuring customer satisfaction PR5 50.0

Note: Although the GRI Standards are the most updated version of the sustainability guidelines set out by GRI, Paia’s analysis focused on GRI G4 indicators as most reports prior to 2017 used this standard.

 

The Materiality Determination process

Material issues essentially represent a company’s key ESG risks and opportunities.  As such, a robust, auditable process should be used to identify which issues are most material. SGX’s reporting guidelines require companies to disclose the process used to determine its material issues. Companies are also required to engage internal and external stakeholders in this process. At present, only 68% of Singapore’s reporters state that stakeholder engagement was a part of their materiality process. Of this, only 7.5% provided meaningful disclosure on how stakeholder engagement informed their chosen material issues.  Paia also discovered that the majority of those who engaged external stakeholders did so through the use of an online survey.

Engaging external stakeholders is crucial in building a relevant sustainability report. If key issues that are considered critical by external stakeholders are not taken account, the validity of these reports can be called into question.  Through our work over the years, Paia has observed that reporters who embrace stakeholder engagement from the outset are more able to produce meaningful reports that address key material issues.

SGX also expects senior management and the Board of Directors to be involved in the materiality assessment process.  At present, only 45% of Singapore’s reporters made reference to senior management being involved in the materiality process.  Senior management teams and Boards of Directors are increasingly playing a vital role in determining the material ESG issues affecting long-term performance.  Paia increasingly observes the materiality assessment process being driven by the CEO or CFO and being reviewed by the Board.  This reflects a significant shift towards sustainability issues being viewed as business risks and opportunities.  Senior management and Board engagement is where we see rapid uptake of global leading practices within companies locally.

 

Conclusion

As the next generation of Singapore’s sustainability reporters start to release their reports, the materiality landscape will surely change. However, there is much that reporters can learn from the current state of reporting. To reiterate these lessons, we list the main points of our research here:

  • There are topics that will emerge as being material to most companies. Currently, ‘Occupational Health & Safety’ is one such topic.
  • There are reporting expectations that will encourage companies to disclose KPIs on issues that might not be directly material to them – for example, it is standard practice for companies to disclose performance related to energy and water consumption
  • Getting material issues right from the outset is at the crux of meaningful reporting and driving long term performance

We hope that Paia’s analysis has increased your understanding of the materiality determination process, and in particular, the state of reporting on material issues in Singapore.

[1] GRI Standards 101: Foundation 2016 pg. 27

 

Singapore’s 2019 Carbon Tax…does it matter to you?

Nurul Amillin Hussain.

A carbon tax on emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG) will be implemented in 2019, as announced on the 20th of February in the 2017 Budget, delivered by the Minister of Finance, Heng Swee Keat. This move towards carbon pricing follows other policy initiatives to reduce Singapore’s emissions intensity to 36% below 2005 levels by 2030, a target pledged under the 2015 Paris climate change pact.

This is not the first time the issue of carbon pricing has cropped up in Singapore’s agenda. In the 2016 Climate Action Plan, the Government said that carbon pricing was being studied as a method to enhance energy efficiency across industries.

What is carbon pricing?

Carbon pricing is a market-based method aimed at reducing emissions by charging emitters. The charge imposed on emitters is called a carbon price, which is the amount that must be paid for the right to emit one tonne of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. There are 2 kinds of carbon pricing – a carbon tax, or cap-and-trade, which allow emitters to purchase permits to emit carbon dioxide.

Using carbon taxation to manage GHG emissions has been a strategy in the stable of environmental regulation for decades. Finland, for example, was the first country in the 1990s to impose a carbon tax. Other countries that have implemented a carbon tax include Zimbabwe, India, Japan, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, the UK and Canada. There are also various countries within the Asian region and beyond where the carbon tax has been proposed, but not yet implemented – South Korea, Taiwan, South America, New Zealand and France are some examples. Larger users of carbon resources, such as the United States, Russia and China, have been actively resisting carbon taxation despite growing calls to engage in more market-based solutions to curb GHG emissions.

What does this mean for you?

The carbon tax that the Singapore government aims to implement in 2019 is aimed at curbing GHG emissions upstream, targeting power stations and other large direct emitters, rather than individual, domestic electricity users. The impact of the tax will be more significant in industries that are larger contributors to Singapore’s GHG emissions, such as the manufacturing sector. Making up 59% of total emissions in 2012, the sector has specifically been part of Singapore’s commitments towards reducing emissions, with a target set up to improve energy efficiency in the sector by 1-2% a year from 2020 to 2030.

Carbon pricing systems are a timely addition to larger, multi-lateral plans to reduce GHG emissions and address the pressing issues of climate change. It offers a balanced solution between addressing climate change risks and ensuring economies stay competitive in the long-term. Contact us if you would like to know more about how we can offer our customised help and strategic expertise in this area.

 

Budget 2017: Sustainable Development for a Resilient Singapore

 

The 2017 budget which was announced by Singapore Finance Minister Heng Swee Keat outlined initiatives to boost sustainable growth and productivity amidst global political and economic uncertainties

Here are some key sustainability-related points from the Budget Statement:

Economic

  1. Plans to help companies manage economic transition
  • In view of continued weakness, the Government will defer foreign worker levy increases in Marine and Process sectors by one more year
  • Increase in wage and training support for workers moving to different sector under Adapt and Grow initiative
  • New Attach and Train initiative for up-and-coming sectors to provide work and training attachments

 

  1. Support for companies hiring older workers
  • The Special Employment Credit which provide employers with support for the wages of older workers will be extended till end-2019.
  • MOM will raise the re-employment age from 65 to 67 years, with effect from 01 July 2017
  • Employers will get wage offsets of up to 3% for workers who earn under S$4,000 per month and who are not covered by the new re-employment age of 67

Environmental

  1. Carbon tax on the emission of greenhouse gases to be implemented from 2019
  • To curb emissions of greenhouse gases, the tax will be applied upstream, on power stations and other large direct emitters, rather than electricity users
  • The government is looking at a tax rate of between $10 and $20 per tonne of greenhouse gas emissions
  • Revenue from the carbon tax will help to fund measures by industries to reduce emissions

 

  1. Restructuring diesel tax
  • Introduce a volume-based duty at $0.10 per litre on automotive diesel, industrial diesel and the diesel component in biodiesel
  • Permanently reduce the annual Special Tax on diesel cars and taxis by $100 and $850 respectively

 

  1. Current Carbon Emissions-based Vehicle Scheme (CEVS) will be replaced with a new scheme that would consider four other pollutants on top of carbon dioxide
  • The new Vehicular Emissions Scheme (VES) would include nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons, particulate matter, and carbon monoxide to account more holistically for the health and environmental impact of vehicular emissions
  • The new VES would run for two years starting from 1 January 2018. Meanwhile, the current CEVS would be extended until 31 December 2017

 

  1. Water prices, which was last revised in 2000, will increase by 30% in two phases starting from 1 July 2017
  • When increase is fully phased in July 2018, increase in monthly water bills will be less than S$18/month for 75% of households while increase will be less than S$25/month for 75% of businesses
  • Lower income households to get help to manage increases in household costs

 

Social

  1. Support for families
  • CPF housing grant increased from $30,000 to $50,000 for couples who purchase 4-room or smaller resale flats, and from $30,000 to $40,000 for couples who purchase 5-room or bigger resale flats.
  • Capacity for centre-based infant care will be increased to more than 8,000 places by 2020
  • Increase in annual bursaries for post-secondary students, and revision in income eligibility criteria for such bursaries to extend them to more families

 

  1. Support for people with disabilities and those with mental health conditions
  • Government expects to spend around S$400 million per year on initiatives supporting persons with disabilities
  • The government will launch the third Enabling Masterplan, to better integrate Persons with Disabilities into the workforce, and to give more support to their caregivers
  • The government will spend an additional S$160 million on community mental health efforts
  • A Disability Caregiver Support Centre will also be set up to provide caregiver training and peer support
  • The number of Dementia Friendly Communities will also be expanded

 

  1. More support for community sports and sports excellence
  • More than S$50 million has been set aside to support community sports
  • The Sports-in-Precinct Programme will be expanded so that more Singaporeans can play sports near their home
  • The SportCares programme, which encourages disadvantaged youth to discover their strengths through sports, will also be expanded
  • The Government will commit an additional S$50 million in grants over the next five years to help aspiring athletes reach their full potential

 

Source: Budget Speech 2017, published on 20 February 2017 by the Singapore Government

SGX offers companies subsidised sustainability reporting workshops from February 2017

Paia will be running the following SGX subsidised workshops primarily focused to assist Singapore Exchange (SGX) listed companies to meet the new requirements.

Carrie Johnson, Director of Paia Consulting, said, “It is great that SGX has appointed GCNS to organise the workshops which will encourage companies to start reporting early. Having helped SGX-listed companies on sustainability reporting for over a decade, early starters are more likely to gain from the business opportunities that sustainability management can bring.”

Industrials – Transportation on 27/02/2017 @ 9:00am Ended

Industrials – Commercial & Professional Services on 27/02/2017 @ 9:00am Ended

Industrials – Capital Goods on 27/02/2017 @9:00am Ended

BOOK NOW

Industrials – Capital Goods on 13/03/2017 @ 9:00am

Industrials – Commercial & Professional Services on 13/03/2017 @ 9:00am

Industrials – Transportation on 13/03/2017 @ 9:00am

Consumer Discretionary on 20/03/2017

Consumer Staples on 22/03/2017 @ 9:00am

Click here for More Information on the SGX Workshops. Find the recommended workshop for your company.

 

CDP … just another sustainability acronym, or worth my time?

The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) is currently publishing the 2016 results of its climate change, forest, water and supply chain surveys, having started with the UK results end of October. Soon, some Singaporean companies will get scores, some will be publicly named as not responding, others won’t be mentioned. Should you care?

CDP runs a global disclosure system for investors, companies and policy makers to manage their environmental impacts. They praise themselves to have built “the most comprehensive collection of self-reported environmental data in the world”, and many agree on that. Investor analysts draw a lot of their information from CDP’s database, with CDP’s network representing over US$100 trillion. CDP itself chooses the companies for its surveys; in addition, you can volunteer to participate for a fee.

Thus… next time your company receives a CDP questionnaire, you might want to consider responding to it, at least partially. Keep a lookout in May each year, to meet their deadline end of June for the Climate change, forests and water programs, end of July for the supply chain program.

If you are already participating, make sure you are familiar with the updated scoring approach for climate change. CDP has changed its methodology in 2016, putting more emphasis on materiality assessment, management (actions, policies and strategies to address environmental issues), governance and leadership. CDP also recognises your target for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, provided it is aligned with global emissions budgets, i.e. for Singapore with the Government’s climate action plan – a criteria you should keep in mind while developing targets as required by SGX. Also, be prepared that CDP will introduce sector-based questionnaires in Q4 2017. CDP hopes to enable better peer-to-peer comparison and benchmarking.

If you want to learn more about CDP, read here, register for Paia’s Sustainability Reporting training, or contact us so that we can offer our customised help.

Congratulations to our client CDL for being named as Asia’s Top Property Developer and Top Singapore Corporation for third year in a row

Congratulations to our client, City Developments Limited (CDL) for being named the Top Property Developer in Asia and Top Singapore Corporation, for the third year running.

CDL is now in the 2nd spot in the list of top 100 most sustainable companies in Asia. It is also the only Singapore company and property developer in the top 20 list for 2016.  CDL is the only Singapore company to have made it to the top 10 list for three consecutive years since the inception of Channel NewsAsia Sustainability Ranking in 2014. The Ranking highlights the overall top 20 companies and the top three businesses per country. It provides investors and consumers insights into corporate sustainability practices, and enables companies to benchmark their sustainability performance against other regional businesses.

Mr Grant Kelley, CDL Chief Executive Officer said, “Sustainability is fast becoming mainstream in today’s global business environment. CDL has always been a firm proponent of integrating sustainability into our corporate vision and business strategy. This has created long-term value not only for CDL, but also our investors, customers, the broader community and the environment. CDL will continue to push forward with sustainable innovations and practices across our operations and supply chain. With the rise of green consumerism and global expansion of Socially Responsible Investment Funds, we believe our sustainability commitment will enable us to tap more growth opportunities ahead.”

CDL has spearheaded numerous groundbreaking innovations in green properties, including the first CarbonNeutral® development in Asia Pacific and Singapore, 11 Tampines Concourse; Singapore’s first Eco-mall, City Square Mall; and Tree House condominium, which achieved a Guinness World Record for the largest vertical garden.

CDL Tree House sustainability

As shared in its 2016 Integrated Sustainability Report titled ‘Integrating our Strengths, Creating Future Value’, CDL has also introduced robust targets for reduction in energy and water use. These new targets are in addition to CDL’s carbon emissions intensity3 reduction targets set in 2011 – 22% by 2020 and 25% by 2030, from baseline year 2007.

In 2016, CDL further took the lead as one of the first Singapore companies to align its material
issues to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) launched in September
2015. The SDGs are expected to form a global standard that will inform future policy decisions and
legislation by governments. Businesses that support the SDGs are thus more likely to be aligned
with emerging policy priorities, potentially enhancing their licence to operate.

CSR and Social Innovators Forum 2016

The Paia team attended the CSR and Social Innovators Forum (CSRSIF) held at Suntec Convention and Exhibition Centre, 1-2 September 2016. The first joint event between Global Compact Network Singapore (GCNS) and Social Innovation Park Ltd (SIP), the CSRSIF combines the fields of corporate social responsibility and social innovation with the theme “Co-creating the Future Economy through Sustainability and Innovation”.

Day one of the forum was opened by Mr Ho Ming Kiat, Vice President of GCNS, Ms Penny Low, Founder and President of Social Innovation Park, and guest-of-honour Mr Tharman Shanmugaratnam, Deputy Prime Minister and Coordinating Minister for Economic and Social Policies. DPM Shanmugaratnam recognized the importance of ground-up initiatives in shaping intrinsic motivations. He also emphasised that while not every company has a social mission, every employer can be an inclusive employer. In response to a question from the floor on how ground-up initiatives can better partner with traditional businesses, Singapore Business Federation was identified as the intermediary to create networks for such partnerships.

Plenaries that followed had high-profile speakers from corporations, non-profit organisations, and the investment community, including Mr. Oscar Wezenbeek, Managing Director of AkzoNobel Marine Coatings, Prof. Simon Zadek, Co-Director of the Inquiry into Design Options for a Sustainable Financial System, UNEP, and Ms Yeo Lian Sim, Senior Advisor of the Singapore Exchange (SGX). They shared insights on how CSR and innovation are opportunities and adaptive measures to risks and destabilizing forces, and how collaborations can help fill gaps found in each sector. Dr. Parag Khanna, Co-Founder and Director of Hybrid Reality Institute, is an advocate of the co-creation model, and he shared how hybrid structures could strengthen the capabilities of governments.

Day two of the forum was equally engaging, with Ms Grace Fu, Minister of Culture, Community and Youth as the guest-of-honour. Ms Fu emphasized the government’s support in strengthening the social compact, including a tax deduction scheme when companies engage in volunteer work. Apart from plenaries by sector experts, delegates also had the opportunity to participate in masterclasses in smaller, more intimate group settings and interactive breakout sessions. The session ‘Design Thinking & System Change: Turning Food Waste to Gold’ led by the Strate School of Design for instance took participants through a systematic brainstorming process that generated more 6 different solutions to food wastage in 90 minutes. The closing plenary ‘Smart Nation: Top Social Innovations Changing Our World’ continued to draw many questions from the delegates – indeed, the questioning will continue beyond the forum.

The CSRSIF definitely highlighted each sector’s role in the areas of CSR and innovation, and the importance of collaborations in driving them. The right policies and regulations, from the government and from the investment community such as the SGX, can drive innovation, while initiatives from the ground and from social enterprises make the change happen. The youth was repeatedly identified as a significant player in the scene – as consumers and employees with high sustainability awareness and drive for change, we are hopeful about the future of CSR and innovation.

MPA to co-fund SGX-listed maritime companies to encourage the maritime sector on becoming early adopters of sustainability reporting.

Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA) organised a Maritime Sustainability Workshop in M Hotel on Monday 22nd August 2016 where Paia was proud to showcase its work. The purpose of the workshop was to assist and encourage the maritime sector to embrace the new SGX requirement for Sustainability Reporting. SGX’s new sustainability reporting rules require listed companies to publish sustainability reports. Ms Yvonne Chan, MPA’s Director of Corporate Development and Chief Financial Officer, announced a new co-funding initiative to assist SGX-listed maritime companies in Singapore with the production of their Sustainability Report.

MPA will co-fund 50% of the qualifying costs, up to a cap of $50,000 per company.  The funding to the first 10 approved applications is on a reimbursement basis.

Mr Andrew Tan, Chief Executive of MPA, said, “MPA is the first local maritime organisation to publish both an Integrated Report and Sustainability Report last year, and we hope to encourage the rest of the maritime industry to adopt the best practices and mitigate any risks to the environment arising from their operations. The so-called triple bottomline – people, planet and profits – will enhance their shareholder value.”

Source: Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore encourages SGX-listed maritime companies to adopt Sustainability / Integrated Reporting

CDL and SEAS announce the launch of the Singapore Sustainability Academy

Singapore Sustainability AcademyCity Developments Limited (CDL) and the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore (SEAS) announced the launch of the Singapore Sustainability Academy (SSA) on Friday, 5th August 2016. It is the first major People, Public and Private (3P) ground-up initiative in support of the national goals to tackle climate change articulated in the Sustainable Singapore Blueprint and recently-released Climate Action Plan.

The SSA aims to promote a low-carbon economy, resource efficiency, and sustainable practices among businesses and the community, in particular, youths. It will focus on the key areas of advocacy, building capacity and collaboration, education and training, information and resource as well as user engagement.

The 4,300 square feet academy will be the first in Singapore to have its construction materials, Cross Laminated Timber (CLT) and Glued Laminated Timber (Glulam) verified by the Nature’s Barcode TM system as coming from responsible sources. This entails scientific tests like DNA analysis, to reduce the risk that the wood comes from illegal logging.

Supported by the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, the National Environment Agency, the Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Building and Construction Authority, this timely initiative is aligned with Singapore’s efforts to address climate change. Ahead of the Paris Agreement adopted in December 2015, Singapore has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions intensity by 36% compared to 2005 levels by 2030.

Dr Amy Khor, Senior Minister of State, Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, said, “There is tremendous potential for the private sector to play a major role in our journey towards mitigating and adapting to the devastating effects of climate change. The Singapore Sustainability Academy by CDL and SEAS is an excellent 3P ground-up initiative in the push forward to become a more sustainable Singapore.”

SGX Briefings for CEOs on Sustainability Reporting

SGX has recently introduced sustainability reporting by listed companies on a ‘comply or explain’ basis in response to growing international interest in sustainability. SGX is inviting CEOs of all SGX listed companies to a 2 hour briefing for clarity and understanding of the new requirement. The briefing will convey the purpose and meaning of SGX’s sustainability requirements, the essentials of a good report from a sustainability consultant and practical advice from a company with reporting experience. Sessions will be held at 9am on the morning of 11, 18 and 25 Aug 2016.

A slice of SGX Reporting for Breakfast at Paia

Paia held a Breakfast Briefing, July 15th to help Singaporean corporate reporters on their journey to producing meaningful, useful and compliant sustainability reports.

Paia Associate Director, Alex Nichols and Principal Consultant, Ms Wong Dan Chi gave us valuable insights and recommendations on how to build a good sustainability report and meet the new requirements of SGX’s Sustainability Guide.

The group of twenty breakfasting participants discussed why companies report and how embarking on a sustainability journey can lead to opportunities and benefits for a company. Paia’s experience is that companies always benefit from the ‘act’ of reporting, particularly the process of prioritising the issues to report on – i.e., the “materiality process”. Doing this well – with the involvement of top management – can lead to better employee engagement, knitting the teams together. It can improve relationships with external stakeholders such as customers, suppliers and investors. This can benefit the company business model – creating and protecting value.

Wong Dan Chi, took us through what to expect in practice from SGX requirements: the nuts and bolts of dealing with the 711A/B rule and how to organise your sustainability report. An example we discussed was about targets for each material issue and how to report SGX-compliant targets (they can be qualitative at first). We also discussed how to measure the opinion of external stakeholders and resolved that a simple approach will be sufficient at first, with depth and wider application of it as a business technique later in your sustainability journey. Other discussions looked at practicalities of whether a physical report is required, or whether a standalone report is required (no, and no).

Paia’s Sustainability Reporting Toolkit-Training package is for companies who wish write their report in-house. We have worked hard to generate a way for companies to learn intensively what they need to do in practice to meet SGX requirements for mandatory sustainability reporting (and beyond). A one-day training is complemented by a Handbook specially developed for training participants, along with bespoke Excel-based tools and a Sustainability Report Sample Tool.

Are you an new reporter (large, medium or small) requiring help with sustainability reporting? Please contact us at info@paiaconsulting.com for more on our “Sustainability Report Toolkit”.

Transition to GRI Standards

The GRI G4 Reporting Guidelines are on their way to becoming a ‘Standards’ for reports published from January 2018 onwards. Our Senior Consultant Saskia Jung attended the 5th Global GRI Conference in May this year and was able to provide early feedback on drafts of the standards, which will be finalised in October 2016.

The G4 guidelines are in transition mode to becoming ‘Standards’, and although this can sound daunting, it really is not. The main content and concepts have been carried over. One of the biggest changes is that the Standards will be modular and evolving, i.e. new topics or clarifications will be added to the existing ones more easily, without introducing a complete new version (that is why these are ‘Standards’ and not ‘G5’). The guidance has overall been strengthened, many changes are structural with some content from G4 being relocated or merged, to make it easier to find and navigate. The merging has resulted in the total number of topics being brought down from 46 to 33.

There are currently 33 topic-specific Standards drafts, organized in three series: a) Economic topics (400 series) – this includes the G4 Aspects from the Economic Category, plus Anti-corruption and Anti-competitive behaviour b) Environmental topics (500 Series) – this includes most G4 Aspects from the Environmental Category c) Social topics (600 Series) – this includes most G4 Aspects from the Social Category. The sub-categories under Environment, Health and Social have been removed.

There are changes in terminology, format and presentation, ultimately improving clarity to make these easier to understand and apply. For terminology for example, each standard will now be called an SRS (Sustainability Reporting Standard), previous ‘Aspects’ are now called ‘Topics’, ‘Shall’ means mandatory instructions i.e. the company is required to disclose to be in accordance, ‘Should’ means it is advised to disclose but it is not a requirement, and ‘Guidance’ means additional, helpful information.

What are the main changes and how will they affect you as a reporting company? If you are already a G4 reporter, the changes are limited.

  1. Companies have to apply all Reporting Principles (previously covered in G4-18) and comply with all applicable reporting requirements;
  2. The main elements of materiality remain the same as the centre piece of a company’s sustainability report, as they were in G4;
  3. Emphasis on the management approach (previously called DMA) has been taken further, for each material topic, the purpose of the management approach has to be reported, and a description of each of the components used to manage the topic (e.g., policies, specific actions);
  4. Boundary: This topic has been further clarified, so that topic ‘Boundary’ relates to a description of which entities cause the impact related to a material topic, wherever the impact occurs, and not just whether the impacts occur inside or outside of the organisation. Simply put, companies are required to disclose material impacts along their entire value chain.
  5. Impacts: this term has been clarified, and in the context of the GRI Standards, unless otherwise stated, ‘impact’ refers to an organization’s impact on the economy, the environment, and/or society – in other words, the organization’s contribution (positive or negative) to sustainable development.
  6. GHG Emissions: The details on how to report Energy Indirect (Scope 2) GHG Emissions have been specified.
  7. Worker / Employee: clarification for this term has been provided. Any indicators referring to workers should not only include employees, but also interns, apprentices, self-employed persons, and in general persons working for the organizations.

Some items have been moved around in where they are placed. A few Aspects have been merged (e.g. SRS 614: Supplier social assessment combines the three assessments for labour, human rights and society). Some disclosures have been relocated or combined (e.g. G4-57 and G4-58 on ethics and integrity have been combined). Some Aspects have been discontinued, with their content incorporated elsewhere (e.g. Transport).

Sector Disclosures are still very much there to supplement the GRI Standards, but in the new Standards they are referenced as guidance, not as a requirement. And the GRI Content Index is more outcome based and is no longer required in a particular format such as a table. It can also be put online, apart from the printed report.

We have managed to outline the major changes for you to give you a flavour of what is to come. Let us know if you want to know more. And stay tuned – we will update you when the Standards are confirmed, and any important news till then.

SGX launches Comply or Explain Sustainability Reporting

SINGAPORE Exchange (SGX) has officially released the Guidelines and Rule on Sustainability Reporting yesterday, June 20 2016.  These guidelines are in line with the global trend of stock exchanges requiring companies to report on their environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues for financial year 2017. The SGX guidelines expect that companies ‘comply’ or ‘explain’, that is, commit themselves to producing an annual guidance on environmental, social and governance (ESG) in the form of a sustainability report, or ‘explain’ why they are not doing so.

It is important to know that globally, twenty stock exchanges have already committed to producing a guidance for listed companies on ESG disclosures as part of the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative (SSE). This required all stock exchanges that are members of the SSE and the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE) to provide listed companies with guidance on sustainability reporting by the end of 2016.  SGX has supported this initiative like many others and sees the introduction of these “Comply or Explain” guidelines for companies listed on their exchange, as a necessary step towards ESG and sustainability reporting so that companies can improve their communication with investors, analysts and stakeholders.

Getting non-financial information about a company has been difficult for investors. The main aim of these requirements is to provide a more complete profile of a company for investors and stakeholders. If your company wants to embark on your sustainability reporting journey, you may find Paia’s Sustainability Reporting Toolkit  that we are rolling out to simplify the reporting process specifically for SMEs. This Toolkit provides SMEs with the necessary tools to produce a sustainability report in line with SGX’s requirements.

Paia is also rolling out training sessions and workshops catered to companies wishing to produce quality sustainability reports. For more details, please visit our Training page

SGX tonight released their Guide and Rule for Sustainability Reporting

SGX tonight released their Guide and Rule for Sustainability Reporting. Stay tuned for more.

SMRT Sustainability Report

Congratulations to our client SMRT Corporation Ltd (SMRT) for publishing their inaugural Sustainability Report recently.

Congratulations to our client SMRT Corporation Ltd (SMRT) for publishing their inaugural Sustainability Report recently. The Road to a Sustainable Future shows how sustainability is integral to SMRT’s business.

SMRT Sustainability Report

We are pleased to see an increase in sustainability disclosure by Singapore companies.

New trends in sustainability from the 5th GRI Global Conference, 18 to 20 May 2016

These are some of the newest developments and challenges in sustainability worldwide discussed at the 5th GRI Global Conference, 18 to 20 May 2016 in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Paia participated in this conference with more than 200 speakers and 1162 attendants from 73 countries – involving representatives from the Global Reporting Initiative GRI, the United Nations (UN Global Compact, UNEP, UNCTAD), many governments and stock exchanges including NASDAQ, investors associations and analysts such as Bloomberg and MSCI, in addition to hundreds of companies from all sectors, associations and academics.

  • More regulation for sustainability reporting is a global trend, with 23 governments or stock exchanges putting regulation in place by end of 2016, on top of the existing 15 requirements. Among them is the Directive 2014/95/EU which will require non-financial disclosure by companies of public interest with more than 500 employees in the European Union, and of course the SGX Guideline, asking all listed companies to comply or explain from financial year 2017 onwards. Two thirds of the members of the World Federation of (Stock) Exchanges’ sustainability working group come from emerging markets.
  • More and more companies manage to embed their material issues in their corporate strategy. The materiality assessment is not done for external stakeholders and reporting purposes, but part of internal strategy development. Paia, who is part of GRI’s GOLD Community, was invited to moderate at a Roundtable on Materiality which discussed how to make materiality analyses more effective.
  • As IT improves, “big data” becomes easier to collect. The challenge is how to systematise it and use it efficiently. The conference also offered insights in newest software solutions for EHS data management.
  • GRI is calling for a “new era of collaboration”, with a special focus on technology and innovation over the next five years. It will continue to ask companies to extend their sustainability practices beyond their own borders – reaching out to their supply chain as well as all finding new partners in the public, private or community sector.
  • GRI also announced its newest technology initiative, the Digital Reporting Alliance. The Alliance will address the lack of structured data and the lack of demand for digital reporting.
  • Regardless of using the term “Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), to Sustainability, EHS, ESG, and now new expressions such as “quality of life”, the discussion focussed on how to make “the S word” deliver to solve word-scale challenges. The United Nations expects companies to be the principle driver in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
  • Experts and practitioners worked together to further develop sustainability standards and frameworks as well as Sustainability Assurance, including GRI’s transition from G4 Guidelines to Sustainability Reporting Standards (stay tuned with Paia to learn more soon!), Integrated Reporting and new ISO standards (e.g. ISO 45001 on safety).
  • Trust and Transparency for building better businesses, stronger economies and a more sustainable world was the theme of the closing plenary of the conference. “Delivering a better future is not just an option, it’s a necessity. There is no Plan B,” urged Lise Kingo, Executive Director, UN Global Compact.

Paia’s Senior consultant Saskia Jung was one of only five representatives from Singapore.

Follow us for more updates via Twitter and LinkedIn.

Follow @PaiaConsulting for latest developments at GRI2016 through our Twitter account

Our Senior Consultant, Saskia Jung is at the GRI Global Conference 2016 on Sustainability and Reporting in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Follow @PaiaConsulting to stay upto date with her tweets.

Paia appointed as exclusive training partner for GRESB in Singapore

GRESB Premier Partner

Paia is pleased to announce that it is the exclusive training partner in Singapore and a Premier Partner of GRESB, the global standard for sustainability assessment of real estate portfolios and infrastructure assets.

“We are excited about our partnership with Paia. We look forward to tap into Paia’s unparalleled experience in sustainability within the real estate sector in this region.”
– Ruben Langbroek, Head of Asia Pacific, GRESB

GRESB’s Real Estate Assessment is widely recognized as the leading benchmarking initiative in the real estate sector.

GRESB is an industry-driven organization committed to assessing the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance of real assets around the globe, including real estate portfolios (public, private and direct). On behalf of more than 60 institutional investors, GRESB has assessed more than 1,000 property companies and funds globally.

Participation in the GRESB Real Estate Assessment provides companies and fund managers with an opportunity to both measure sustainability performance and also benchmark their portfolio against industry peers. Thus, they are better able to optimise the position of their portfolio in the face of ever increasing market volatility. Participation is free.

“The GRESB Scorecard made available to all participants – for free – serves as a critical input for companies in assessing their strategy. Through the trainings, we want to help funds and companies in the region become more resilient, and find value-creating opportunities.”
– Carrie Johnson, Director, Paia Consulting

Currently GRESB offers two training programs:
Participant Training, where delegates learn to assess and enhance their current performance, to more efficiently prepare their GRESB response, and to improve the quality of their submission.
Investor & Analyst Training, which focuses on ESG integration in real estate investment decision-making and applying GRESB data and tools to assess and improve portfolio performance.

For more information on GRESB, please reach out to:

Paia Consulting
+65 3157 6033
info@paiaconsulting.com

Ruben Langbroek
Head of Asia Pacific, GRESB
+65 8285 4465
r.langbroek@gresb.com

GRI introduces a new report review service!

GRI introduces a new report review service! Contact GRI GOLD Community by 10 May 2016 to analyse your published sustainability report & suggest improvements!

Congratulations to our clients CDL, ComfortDelGro, Fraser Centrepoint, FCT, FCOT, FHT, IndoAgri, Keppel TT, MPA, Sembcorp Industries, Sembcorp Marine, ST Engineering on the recent release of their Sustainability Reports

We are pleased to see not only a growth in the number of companies producing GRI Sustainability Reports in Singapore, but also a significant increase in the quality of disclosure. We are proud to have worked with the below companies on their recent reporting projects many of whom have demonstrated leading edge practices in their disclosures.

City Developments Limited (CDL)

ComfortDelGro Corporation Ltd

Frasers Centrepoint Trust

Frasers Commercial Trust

Frasers Centrepoint Ltd

Frasers Hospitality Trust

Indofood Agri Resources Ltd

Keppel Telecommunications and Transportation Ltd (Keppel T&T)

Maritime and Port Authority of Singapore (MPA)

Sembcorp Industries Ltd

Sembcorp Marine Ltd

Singapore Technologies Engineering Ltd

NUS’s CGIO and ASEAN CSR Network look into Sustainability Reporting in ASEAN

On the 25th of February 2016, Paia’s Principal Consultant, Wong Dan Chi was invited as an industry panellist to comment on a report led by the Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organisations (CGIO) at National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School.

Paia is pleased to support research efforts on sustainability and governance, and is especially heartened to see the enthusiastic involvement of the student teams involved.

In 2015, CGIO was commissioned by ASEAN CSR Network to study on sustainability reporting in Indonesia, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand. The research project, led by Associate Professor Lawrence Loh, Director of CGIO, is carried out by some 20 students from the BBA Honours programme.

At the event, five teams of BBA Honours students from the NUS shared their findings about the scope of reporting and levels of disclosure found in the 3 countries. The students did this by studying the top listed companies from each country, and assessed them by comparing levels of disclosures found in their respective sustainability reports according to the Global Reporting Initiative’s framework.

Along with industry experts including corporate leaders such like Singtel, Keppel Land, and CDL, Dan Chi, provided critique and assessments of the teams’ conclusions and recommendations. The dialogue and feedback broadened the conversation around sustainability in the region and leave with a better understanding of the state of sustainability reporting in ASEAN countries.

The report will be reviewed and launched during the Conference on Corporate Governance and Responsibility in July this year.

More information is available on the university blog:
CGIO presents update on its Sustainability Reporting project

Congratulations to CDL for being Top Sustainable Real Estate company in the world

Congratulations to our client City Developments Limited (CDL) for being ranked the Top Real Estate Company and Top 10 Corporations in the prestigious Global 100 Most Sustainable Corporations in the World in 2016.

SGX releases Consultation Paper on Sustainability Reporting

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) released a consultation paper, ‘Sustainability Reporting: Comply or Explain’ on 5 Jan 2016. In the consultation paper, SGX provides a background and reasons for sustainability reporting, before putting forward amendments to both mainboard and catalist rules, and reporting guidelines. The proposed amendments and the guidelines will be open for public comment until 5 Feb 2016.

The primary components proposed to be included in sustainability reports are:

  1. Environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors material to the company,
  2. Policies, practices and performance of the company in relation to each material ESG factors,
  3. Targets for the forthcoming year,
  4. The Sustainability Reporting Framework used, and
  5. A Board Statement confirming compliance with SGX’s guidelines or explaining incompliance

The guidelines also provide some flexibility to companies. A phased approach for implementation of sustainability reporting is recommended, such that newly reporting companies are given time to ensure that their sustainability disclosures have quality and depth. Companies are also not expected to provide independent assurance of their reports in the early stages.

SGX is also seeking feedback for the inclusion of Anti-corruption and Diversity as part of the primary components. Other features awaiting comment include matters relating to stakeholder engagement, materiality, responsibilities of the board, and frequency of reporting. For the latter, SGX proposes that reports be published annually, within 5 months after the end of each financial year. All listed companies will begin sustainability reporting for any financial year ending on or after 31 December 2017.

In line with SGX’s Guidelines, Paia is rolling out a Toolkit to simplify the reporting process specifically for SMEs. This Toolkit provides SMEs with the necessary tools to produce a sustainability report in line with SGX’s requirements. Read more about it here.

 

More information about the consultation paper:

  • Business Times, “Designing a sustainability reporting regime”, 6 Jan 2016
  • Business Times,“SGX offers flexibility in proposed sustainability reporting rules”, 6 Jan 2016
  • The Straits Times, “SGX to seek feedback for sustainability report guidelines”, 5 Jan 2016
  • Channel News Asia, “SGX seeks public feedback on proposed rules for sustainability reporting”, 5 Jan 2016

Paia rolls out Toolkit for companies who want to publish sustainability reports in-house.

 

In line with SGX’s Guidelines requiring listed companies to produce sustainability reports, Paia is rolling out a Toolkit to simplify the reporting process specifically for companies who want to write their report in-house. This Toolkit provides the necessary tools to produce a sustainability report in line with SGX’s requirements.

What you will learn

Paia’s toolkit includes a five-stage approach in fulfilling the company’s requirements in sustainability reporting:

 

Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 Stage 4 Stage 5
Gap Analysis & Sustainability Strategy Materiality Assessment & Stakeholder Engagement Data Collection & Compilation Drafting of first sustainability report Project Review & Recommendations

SIGN UP EARLY TO GET A DISCOUNT!

 

For more information, please contact Paia at 3157 6033 or send us an email at training@paiaconsulting.com
Download the Paia  Toolkit brochure here.

Benefits from reporting, based on testimonials from over 400 SMEs [1]:

 

1. Develop vision and strategy on sustainability

During the reporting process, you are able to identify a link between the implementation of the reporting process and your strategic development.

 

2. Improve management systems, internal processes and set goals

A key benefit of the reporting process is that it allows your company to track progress and highlight areas needing improvement, so that you can manage what you measure and make changes where necessary.

 

3. Identify strengths & weaknesses

The reporting process provides early warning of trouble spots – and shows up unexpected opportunities. These discoveries can help your company’s management to evaluate potentially damaging developments before they emerge as unwelcome surprises (i.e. risk management), and/or grab opportunities before your competitors. It is also common that your company will identify critical issues which had not been considered before.

 

4. Attract, motivate and retain employees

Your company’s high performance standards and reputation are “intangibles” that help to attract and motivate employees. This will increase the trust between your company as an employer and its employees and so enhance your reputation. In the end, your workforce will contribute more and stay longer if it is motivated, empowered, and in agreement with strategic objectives.

 

5. Enhance reputation, achieve trust and respect

Your company’s key stakeholders are influenced by the reputation, respect and trust you have earned. As such, there are always concerns about how much the reputation of your company might be damaged by public disclosure on potential risks or bad news. The natural instinct is for you to avoid such admissions; however, balanced reporting can create trust and respect. This means reporting both on what goes well and also on where there is room for improvement.

 

6. Attracting funding

Providers of financial capital are asking tough questions of companies these days. Lending institutions and investors increasingly take into consideration performance in different aspects of sustainability issues when evaluating companies, e.g. good governance, ethical values, social priorities and environmental actions. Non-profit organizations are in a similar situation where they are dependent on donors and/or sponsors to fund their project activities. Implementing a GRI reporting process can help your company to improve the general management of sustainability issues and be prepared to talk openly about your performance. This demonstrates high-quality performance management which can provide access to funds.

 

7. Transparency and dialogue with stakeholders

The sustainability reporting process is an important tool to achieve transparency and disclose sustainability performance to your company’s stakeholders. As an SME, your stakeholders are likely to be clients, suppliers, local community pressure groups, providers of financial capital, employees and owners.

Through the relationships which the reporting process can create between your company and its stakeholders, you can receive feedback on your business operations, which will enable you to review processes and identify business opportunities.

 

8. Achieve competitive advantage and leadership

Sustainability reporting is still not common practice across all regions and sectors, especially for SMEs. For this reason, your company can be identified as a “leader in sustainability”. This is especially important because an increasing number of larger companies screen potential and current suppliers for their economic, social and environmental performance and the impact this may have on their own supply chain. By being able to show existing and potential clients your company’s commitment to conducting business in a sustainable manner, you increase your chances of being selected as a preferred supplier by larger companies.

 

 

[1] Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) Ready to Report. Introducing sustainability reporting for SMEs

Link: https://www.globalreporting.org/resourcelibrary/Ready-to-Report-SME-booklet-online.pdf

 

 

COP 21 Paris Agreement: the first global consensus on climate change

On 12 December 2015, the first ever universal agreement on climate change was adopted by 195 nations. The deal was made at the Paris Climate Change Conference, also known as the 21st Conference of the Parties (COP21) to the 1992 United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

Major points of the agreement include a capping of global temperature rises at 1.5oC above pre-industrial levels, and net-zero emissions by second half of the century. These climate change mitigation goals are accompanied by financing and review mechanisms, taking into account countries’ differentiated levels of responsibility and vulnerability to climate change.

 

The Paris Agreement also sends a clear signal to global markets to move to a low-carbon economy. As noted by Singapore’s Foreign Minister Vivian Balakrishan, and Edward Cameron, managing director of partnership and research at non-profit Business for Social Responsibility, the universal and legally-binding nature of the agreement, together with a transparent method of tracking each country’s performance provides the assurance to businesses that governments will support low-carbon projects for the long term.

Singapore Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean, who is also the chairman of the inter-ministerial committee on climate change said Singapore will work towards the pledge of reducing emissions intensity by 36% from 2005 levels, by 2030, and stabilising emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030.

2015 GRESB Masterclass: Sustainability and Best Practices in ESG as a part of the AsiaPac Property Leaders Summit 2015 in Singapore

Paia recently attended the GRESB Masterclass held in Singapore. GRESB, an industry-driven organization committed to assessing the sustainability performance of real estate portfolios (public, private and direct) conducted a Masterclass. GRES, has a pivotal role in transforming the current landscape as more organisations develop a strong business case to incorporate sustainability in their operations. The focus of the discussions was on rapidly changing regulatory climate and expectations in the Asia Pacific property industry.

Green buildings and spaces are seen as a solution to the crowded, unsustainable cities of the previous decades. Despite higher costs, there is a strong business case for retrofitting buildings as they age leading to huge savings. There is a marked interest in renewable energy (solar voltaic panels) and green buildings by investors, owners, tenants, regulators and other stakeholders who are investing in real estate which is capable of sustaining itself in terms of energy and water usage. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues are becoming central to the long-term future of businesses as stakeholders demand more transparency. This becomes imperative as new regulatory developments lead to more stringent laws for energy usage and disclosure. Increased demand for information and transparency on the sustainability performance of property companies and fund managers is also another cause for the drive towards greener spaces. This is also evident as we see a rapid development of standards, benchmarks and certification schemes globally.

Companies such as Keppel Reit Management, one of the largest real estate investment trusts (REITs) listed on the Singapore Exchange, Redwood Group Asia, a specialized logistics warehouse real estate investment firm with a geographic focus on Asia, offices in China and Japan and Capital Land Limited, one of Asia’s largest real estate companies – were present to talk about how sustainability is incorporated into their businesses and new operations. The sustainability leaders from these organisations provided valuable insights into sustainability practices across the global property industry. Capital Land was proud to share insights into their Hangzhou Raffles City project, which is the 1st LEED Gold project in Zejiang at the GRESB Masterclass.

Based on the questions from the audience, which included investors, fund managers and real estate companies, about developing a stronger business case for incorporating sustainability and for green buildings for investors – it seems that sustainability is here to stay at the forefront of business’s agendas.

Integrated Reporting – ACCA Finance & Accounting Technical Conference 2015

Integrated Reporting

Paia was invited to share recent developments in Integrated Reporting, at the ACCA Finance and Accounting Technical Conference 2015, on 23rd October 2015.

Wong Dan Chi, Senior Consultant, discussed the significance of integrated reporting and the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) framework. Taking a practical approach, she highlighted common misconceptions and illustrated how the principle-based framework can be applied with examples.

The event had attracted 200 finance, accounting and business professionals and garnered positive feedback from the guests and delegates.

International Integrated Reporting Council

Paia is pleased to be supporting ACCA’s prominent leadership in integrated reporting. Chief Executive of ACCA, Ms Helen Brand, sits on the Board of IIRC. Closer to home, Chiew Chun Wee, Asia Pacific Head of Policy, also serves as a member of the IIRC Working Group. ACCA Singapore has also been instrumental in supporting IIRC’s efforts in the region and raising awareness of integrated reporting by hosting events from back in 2011.

2015 – The Tipping Point for Meaningful Change?

The Paia team attended the Responsible Business Forum for Sustainable Development 2015 (RBF) held at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre and Gardens by the Bay, 3 to 4 November 2015. The RBF saw over 600 business leaders, policy makers and NGOs from around the world gather to share innovative solutions for creating sustainable growth and delivering the Sustainable Development Goals.

2015 is indeed being hailed as a historic year for the world. The discussion at the RBF could not have been more timely, focusing on two major events this year. First, this year has seen the launch of the new post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) to ensure prosperity and environmental protection for future generations. Second, this year will end with a new treaty to be agreed upon in Paris where the United Nations Climate Change Conference COP 21 will take place. This is where the worlds nation states will decide to limit the greenhouse gas emissions and prevent global warming beyond the two degrees that is expected. In addition, the current haze situation in the region was a hot topic that raised a few questions for the policy makers from around the region. In the opening plenary address, Singapore’s Minister for Foreign Affairs, Vivian Balakrishnan called it a ‘man-made tragedy’ and asserted that growing consumer awareness on sustainable business practices and companies’ supply chains, means that businesses have to be more transparent in their operations and policies.

Day one of the conference saw business leaders, international government officials and sustainability experts across several sectors such as agriculture and forestry, palm oil, consumer goods, building and infrastructure, energy, mining and financial services hold pertinent discussions about how improvements in innovation and technology, mind-set shifts and transparency are necessary for businesses. In the face of an ever increasing population, a consumerist society, strain on the earth’s natural capital coupled with rising carbon levels, businesses must embrace sustainability at all levels and restructure their conventional practices if they want to continue operating in this climate.

This paradigm shift has already occurred for some innovative companies such as Autodesk, April, and DSM – who have embraced transformational sustainability changes such as new closed-loop and circular business models and have become leaders in their own right. The various panels explored the possibility of transitioning to a low carbon economy, and the benefits and challenges of placing a monetary value on natural capital. Almost all agreed on the imperative need to integrate this valuation into future decision making. Organisations present were WWF, Ersnt & Young, South Pole Group, A*STAR, Rolls Royce, Aviva, Trucost, Autodesk, DHL, and NTU, to name a few.

The Sustainable Development Goals were discussed in great detail on day two by policymakers from around the region, business leaders and NGOs. The speakers ranged from businesses such as Levis Strauss & Co, Novartis, INDISKA, Sime Darby, Wilmar, HMP Family, policy makers from the Philippines, Indonesia and Malaysia, and NGO’s such as UN Women Singapore, WWF etc. The SDGs were combined into broad topics and the speakers shared their thoughts on approaches and programmes that will contribute to a transformative, inclusive, low-carbon economy where a dignified standard of living can be achieved by communities. NGOs had a special role to play on this day, as they shared their thoughts on forging effective, multi-stakeholder partnerships which are crucial for successful collaboration.

Look out for more on this page by the Paia team on Green Freight Asia (GFA) Forum: Bringing Green Freight Practices to Scale.

Green Freight Asia (GFA) Forum: Bringing Green Freight Practices to Scale

Green Freight Asia (GFA) held the Annual Forum in conjuncture with Responsible Business Forum for Sustainable Development from 2 to 4 November 2015 at Marina Bay Sands. The topic was Bringing Green Freight Practices to Scale and the discussion panel consisted of invited guests representing shippers (DHL, UPS), clients (IKEA, HP, Heineken) and NGOs (Clean Air Asia, Smart Freight Centre), chaired by Green Freight Asia CEO Stephan Schablinski. Here are some of the key points that were raised at the forum.

Why is green freight important?
Transport accounts for at least one fourth of total energy consumption in Asian countries and other parts of the world. Transport is also the number one consumer of oil, of which most comes from road transport. The significant impact freight have on the environment has led to several initiative by governments and private companies. Companies with large number of deliveries, such as HP, recognises the responsibility that comes with this much transport and are changing the way the think about logistics.

Green Freight has been included in the upcoming ASEAN strategic transport plan 2016-2025. Also, in May 2015 the UN Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) released a Global Green Freight Action Statement and Plan with the aim to enhance the environmental and energy efficiency of goods movement in ways that significantly reduce the climate, health, energy, and cost impacts of freight transport around the world. The plan can be downloaded here.

What are the benefits of green freight?
There is a common notion that the choice is either you save cost or you go green, but in this forum the answer to this was clear: There are great opportunities for cost savings in green freight. IKEA saved half a billion dollars on shifting shipping by air to sea, whereas the Green Freight India Working Group recorded that a simple implementation of driver training at TATA Steel resulted in more than 40% fuel improvement.

Suppliers are moving towards higher expectations, and requests to have deliveries by non-fossil fuel are increasing. Vendors ask their partners, what are you doing about green freight? If the answer is nothing, they lose out because the vendors change to using providers who are performing well in green freight.

Partnerhips in green freight
Green freight can be greatly facilitated through collaboration and partnerships. The transport sector which is highly fragmented needs leadership to set direction for transformational change and find approaches to influence public policy.

Companies are also engaging third parties to achieve better transparency. It is difficult to measure CO2 accurately, so organisations such as GFA or Global Logistics Emissions Council can assist by creating a universal and transparent way of calculating logistics emissions across the global supply chain.

On a practical level, Green Freight India Working Group Freight provided an excellent example on direct benefits of collaboration for green freight. Freightbazar.com is sharing platform in India, which connects vendors with shippers to avoid empty freight volumes in their transports resulting in an increased efficiency when transporting goods.

Link for more information on the Green Freight Asia and the GFA label can be found here.

Congratulations to our clients Keppel Land and CDL

Congratulations to our clients Keppel Land and City Developments Limited (CDL) for winning the prestigious Sustainable Business Awards Singapore 2015! Keppel Land Limited won in the category ‘Strategy & Sustainability Management’. CDL received the award for its performance in the category ‘Land Use, Biodiversity and Environment’.

Congratulations to our clients: MPA, Sembcorp Industries and CDL

Paia congratulates our client Maritime & Port Authority (MPA) on winning the Singapore Sustainability Awards 2015 (Large Enterprise Category). The Singapore Sustainability Awards, initiated by the Singapore Business Federation in 2009, recognise organisations for their outstanding sustainable business practices.

Congratulations also to our clients Sembcorp Industries and City Developments Limited (CDL) for winning the Most Transparent Company Award at the SIAS Investors’ Choice Awards 2015. SIAS Investors’ Choice Awards (ICA) recognise public listed companies which have demonstrated exemplary Corporate Governance and Transparency practices.

Lianhe Zaobao reports on Sustainability Reporting

Paia Consulting was featured in Lianhe Zaobao Finance (联合早报 – 财金) on Monday, October 12, 2015. The half-page spread drew on Paia’s in-house research on sustainability reporting, and insights from Wong Dan Chi, our Senior Consultant.

The reporter wrote that following the recent issues with transboundary haze, it is expected that more investors and members of the public will request companies to report on sustainability.

There has been an increase in sustainability reporting over the last few years in Singapore. According to a research Paia conducted earlier this year in May 2015, 50% of the 30 Straits Times Index (STI) firms report on sustainability using the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines. 5 years ago, there were only 3 STI firms producing GRI-level sustainability reports. GRI is the de facto sustainability reporting standard, and reflects a certain standard of reporting quality.

In a study by Global Compact Network Singapore and the National University of Singapore, 160 companies listed on Singapore Exchange (SGX) Mainboard reported on sustainability or made disclosures in 2013, up from 79 companies in 2011. 160 companies make up about 30% of SGX Mainboard companies in 2013.

However, Singapore still lags behind North America, Europe and South Africa in both quantity and quality of sustainability reports. For example, according to a study published by the Governance & Accountability Institute in June this year, 75% of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies disclose their corporate responsibility (or sustainability) reports.

Last October, SGX indicated that they target to implement sustainability reporting on a ‘comply or explain’ basis by FY2017. Many market research reports showed that there is a positive correlation between sustainability reporting and a company’s 10-year and even 20-year financial performance.

Haze and Sustainable Procurement

The haze has hit down hard on Singapore and is affecting us all this month. This has led to a rapid expansion in public awareness on the issue and a movement such as X The Haze towards only using sustainable paper and palm oil products.

Furthermore, the Singapore Environment Council (SEC) and the government are urging the public sector to strengthen green procurement. SEC has announced plans to send letters to more than 2,800 firms asking them to commit to buying only sustainable palm oil and pulp products.

Paia advises companies to review their procurement policies, in particular whether they have a requirement to use FSCTM certified paper and RSPO certified palm oil products. We recommend using paper products certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSCTM), which is the leading global body promoting sustainable management of the world’s forests. RSPO refers to the Roundtable for Sustainable Palm Oil, which provides global standards for the entire supply chain on sustainable oil.
Our experienced and dedicated team at Paia can provide assistance with developing or improving your company’s sustainable procurement policies or environmental management systems.

There are several paper products on the market in Singapore which are from sustainable suppliers who have worked with NGO and certification bodies to ensure that their products are from sustainably managed forests and not involved in any burning or damaging of rainforests. Feel free to contact us info@paiaconsulting.com for details.

Have a clear conscience day!

Banks in Singapore to Implement Responsible Financing

Banks in Singapore will for the first time be expected to disclose environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies for financing, under new industry guidelines set by the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS) to advance responsible financing. ESG aspects include greenhouse gas emissions, labour standards and corporate integrity, which are indicators of sustainability and ethical impact of an investment or business.

ABS released the guidelines on Thursday 8 October 2015. The guidelines were developed since early 2015 in consultation with the banks ABS represents, which include 158 foreign banks and DBS, UOB and OCBC, the three largest local Singapore banks.

The Monetary Authority of Singapore has stated that it welcomes the guidelines, and will work with ABS to monitor the guidelines’ adoption and implementation.

ABS stated in their press release that “at the minimum, banks will share their vision and commitment on responsible financing in their annual reports, and publish their ESG policy framework in 12-18 months’ time”.

The guidelines comprise three principles:
i) Disclosure of senior management’s commitment,
ii) Governance
iii) Capacity building

Disclosure of the senior management’s commitment to responsible financing is expected in banks’ 2015 Annual Report. To facilitate the implementation of these guidelines, banks will need to allocate resources for internal capacity building and skills development. ABS also hopes that banks will “implement robust governance systems through appropriate policies and procedures” to fully comply with the guidelines by 2017.

ABS advises banks to focus their responsible financing policies on industries with “elevated” risk, such as agriculture, chemicals, defence, energy especially oil, gas and coal, forestry, infrastructure, mining and metals, and waste management.

Sources:
The Business Times: New guidelines soon to steer banks on responsible financing
ChannelNewsAsia: ABS releases guidelines on responsible financing
http://www.eco-business.com/news/haze-prompts-singapore-banks-to-set-esg-guidelines/
http://www.abs.org.sg/pdfs/Newsroom/PressReleases/2015/MediaRelease_20151008.pdf

50% of Straits Times Index companies produce GRI-level sustainability reports

As of 12 May 2015, 50% of top 30 companies in Singapore by market capitalisation, which forms the Straits Times Index, produce sustainability reports in accordance with Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). GRI is the most established sustainability reporting guideline internationally, and is cited as a recommended guideline in the Guide to Sustainability Reporting issued by Singapore Exchange (SGX).

There has been a steady rise in the number of organisations that produce GRI-level sustainability reports in Singapore, from only 3 in 2008 to 35 by 2014. New GRI reporters in 2014 include ST Engineering, Thai Beverage PLC and CapitaCommercial Trust. Numbers are expected to rise rapidly as SGX takes steps to implement a comply-or-explain sustainability reporting regime.

GRI-Reporting-in-Singapore

SGX is targeting implementation of comply-or-explain sustainability reporting for financial year 2017. SGX will be engaging listed companies, institutional investors, sustainability professionals and the public on legislating a comply-or-explain sustainability reporting regime in 2015 (see details in SGX’s announcement).

Paia Consulting is a specialist sustainability consultancy based in Singapore.

Best practice for sustainable business growth at the 1st Responsible Business Summit Asia

With about 100 registered participants from Singapore, Hong Kong and China, India, Japan, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Australia, Europe and the US, the first Responsible Business Summit Asia initiated discussions between representatives from corporations, academia, press, non-for profit as well as some government agencies. It was organised by the Ethical Corporation on 6-7 May 2015 in Singapore.

Participants got hands-on advice how to get the company’s sustainability efforts understood by its target audience, how to better engage communities to minimise social risks and build trust, and how to ensure responsible business consistency throughout the supply chain, learning from diverse industries including banking, beverages, chemicals, consumer goods, health, palm oil, resource extraction, telecom, transportation. The guiding question – when and how does sustainable innovation pay off – was answered by in-depth analysis and best practice sharing, including strategies for product innovation by embedding social and environmental standards, and learning from crisis before it happens. The presentations showed that even the classical sustainability themes – stakeholder engagement and reporting – are under continuous development. The most successful cooperation between a company and an NGO (Greenpeace) came – surprisingly? – out of the palm oil industry. The discussion on employee engagement included recommendations how to promote skill-based volunteering. In reporting, the focus on (social, environmental and economic) impacts rather than mere outputs is the international trend, and some companies develop new formats for their sustainability reports, tailor-made for different target groups.

Given the high level of competence and active participation, collaboration and innovation for sustainable business growth in region can be expected as a benefit of the summit. We will keep you informed about follow-up events.

SGX Targets Mandatory Sustainability Reporting for FY2017

Update (21st June 2016) SGX launches Comply or Explain Sustainability Reporting

Update (5 Jan 2016): SGX releases Consultation Paper. Read more here.

On the 6th of May 2015, the Singapore Exchange (SGX) announced plans to implement sustainability reporting on a ‘comply or explain’ basis. Under this regime, companies that do not follow SGX’s guidelines will be expected to explain why.

A new listing rule will be developed using Information SGX receives via an initial consultation exercise with listed companies; the information will be used to review SGX’s existing guidelines to sustainability reporting.

SGX expects the proposed Listing Rule and reviewed Guide to be submitted for regulatory approval by the end of 2015; and targets implementation for financial year 2017.

SGX is inviting stakeholders to participate in what is one of the most broad-ranging consultation exercises conducted by the exchange. In May 2015, SGX will conduct a survey of listed companies and run a series of focus group engagements to understand current sustainability reporting practices and the level of readiness among listed companies. Following this, SGX plans to reach out to institutional investors and sustainability professionals for feedback on the ‘Guide to Sustainability Reporting for Listed Companies’ published in 2011. Finally, SGX will conduct a public consultation (including the investing public) on the Listing Rule and reviewed Guide.

In a statement by SGX chief executive, Magnus Bocker, “We believe that greater transparency from listed companies will attract investors and empower them to make more informed decisions.”

Details can be found on SGX’s announcement ‘Consultation Exercise on Sustainability Reporting’, 6 May 2015.

Read more:

Need more information: Paia offers Sustainability Training to help you meet SGX requirements. Contact Us today.

Congratulations to our clients: CDL, MPA, Sembcorp Industries, Sembcorp Marine, and ST Engineering

Congratulations to our clients City Developments Limited (CDL), Maritime & Port Authority (MPA), Sembcorp Industries, Sembcorp Marine and ST Engineering on the recent release of their GRI G4 reports.

MPA’s inaugural report is both G4 Comprehensive and incorporates the International Integrated Reporting Council (IIRC) Integrated reporting framework. In the latest report, Sembcorp continues its clear and structured reporting, and added a feature articulating the value creation process.

Launch of the Singapore Sustainability Label

The Singapore Business Federation (SBF) has launched the Singapore Sustainability Label to enable organisations to benchmark their sustainability business practices. Companies can apply to be accredited any time throughout the year and may reach Bronze, Silver, Gold or Platinum status depending on their sustainability performance. The Label aims at recognising excellence in the community of new “adopters”, as well as distinguishing those with more established sustainability practices.

The Label is open to all Singapore-registered companies, public institutions and agencies.

Paia Consulting is SBF’s Knowledge Partner for the Label. We have developed the judging criteria and will serve as assessors of applicants.

Paia and SBF have developed a self-assessment tool to enable organisations to estimate their level before applying. After application, SBF arranges a meeting to evaluate the application with the assessors.

If you are interested in the self-assessment or the application, you can register online here.

SGX to mandate ‘comply or explain’ approach to Sustainability Reporting in the near future

17 October 2014

Reported from the Singapore Compact CSR Summit 2014 by Gillian Lim, Paia Consulting

The Singapore Exchange (SGX) announced that it will be enforcing a “comply or explain” approach to Sustainability Reporting in the near future, and hinted that may shift to fining companies for non-compliance further down the line.

The announcement came from Mr Magnus Bocker, Chief Executive Officer of SGX, during his keynote speech at the Singapore Compact CSR Summit on 17 October 2014.

SGX released voluntary sustainability reporting guidelines in 2011 to encourage firms to share relevant environmental and social information with investors. However, take up has been slow with feedback that many companies are waiting for the bourse to make it a rule.

Alluding to the improvements made to Corporate Governance guidelines over the last few years and how they have made SGX a better exchange, Bocker stated that he wishes to approach sustainability reporting in a similar manner. He also mentioned that new tools will be made available to SGX in coming years, including the ability to fine companies for non-compliance. While fining for non-compliance of sustainability reporting may not happen for several years, Bocker pointed out that these new tools are nevertheless expected to improve regulation over time.

He highlighted regional initiatives in Malaysia, India and Taiwan to promote sustainability reporting, practices and responsible investment. Globally, the world is getting increasingly involved in sustainability, including the World Federation of Exchanges, which has set up a sub-committee to look at ESG issues.

Bocker stressed the importance of seeing sustainability reporting as an opportunity to create a business advantage. Reporting helps superior companies show their quality and their investors avoid surprises. He indicated that many banks already give “green” companies lower loan rates and that overseas investors, including pension funds, coming to Singapore have already been asking about sustainability reporting.

Reporting metrics allow for improved understanding of the company and for benchmarking exercises, thereby fuelling competition. “Fear of poor numbers can’t be a reason why we don’t do reporting,” said Bocker. Greater transparency leads to increased profitability for Singapore, which has a strong reputation in governance and transparency.

SGX will be holding a one year consultation period with companies and investors, following which they will be looking to make reporting mandatory.

Paia Consulting is a leading sustainability consultancy established since 2002. We helped produce Singapore’s first GRI report and many award-winning reports. Beyond reporting, many of the companies leading sustainability locally are our clients. Drop us a note at  info@paiaconsulting.com to discuss how we can support your sustainability journey

 

Institutional Investors Call on Governments for Effective Carbon Pricing

Nearly 350 global institutional investors released a statement for government provision of stable, reliable, and economically meaningful carbon pricing just days before the Climate Summit at the United Nations headquarters in New York. The four investor groups on climate change – Ceres’ Investor Network on Climate Risk (INCR), the European Institutional Investor Group on Climate Change (IIGCC), the Investors Group on Climate Change (IGCC), and the Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC) – were responsible for coordinating the Global Investor Statement on Climate Change, alongside the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) and Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI).

The statement acknowledges the role that investors play in financing clean energy and outlines the steps they are committed to take; however, the group of global investors, collectively representing more than $24 trillion in assets, declare that stronger political leadership and policies are needed for them to scale up investments. In 2013, global investment in clean energy amounted to $254 billion, falling very much short of the $1 trillion a year investment necessary to limit the effects of global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, as estimated by the International Energy Agency (IEA).

The statement demands government turn climate-related policies into mainstream action. The international investor community has already begun addressing climate change issues; alongside the statement, the group of institutional investors also published both an online database and a report that describe how they have begun to act on climate change, including direct low carbon investments, the creation of low carbon funds, company engagement, and reduced exposure to fossil fuel and carbon-intensive companies. Specific examples included in the report include the following:

ŸŸŸsA Swedish pension fund, AP4, has committed to decarbonising its entire equities portfolio

ŸŸŸsThe Zurich Insurance Group plans to invest up to $2 billion in green bonds; this is only one of the group’s many commitments that led to a 20-fold growth in the green bond market since 2012ŸŸŸ

sGlobal bank ING has reduced its energy project loan allocation to coal power from 63% to 13% in 7 years; it has also increased its allocation to renewable energies from 5% to 39%ŸŸŸ

sThe China Utility-Based Energy Efficiency Finance Programme has provided loans worth $790 million to finance 226 projects, which has led to a reduction in emissions of 19 million metric tons of Carbon

The public online database – the Low Carbon Investment Registry – serves to encourage international asset owners to add examples to the Registry before the climate negotiations in Paris begin in 2015, which will provide policymakers a clearer understanding of how private capital is already flowing into low carbon investments.

 

For more information, please click here.

Sustainalytics ESG Research Now Available on Bloomberg

Source: Sustainalytics Press Release, 27 May 2014. http://www.sustainalytics.com/sustainalytics-esg-research-now-available-bloomberg

Toronto – May 27, 2014 – Today, Sustainalytics announces that its environmental, social and governance (ESG) research assessments are now available to the more than 320,000 subscribers of the Bloomberg Professional service. As a third-party ESG research provider, Sustainalytics will offer clients that subscribe to both platforms access to a subset of Sustainalytics’ ESG ratings and coverage.

“The inclusion of ESG information on platforms such as Bloomberg is yet another positive indication of the mainstreaming of sustainability in capital markets,” said Michael Jantzi, CEO of Sustainalytics. “Having corporate ESG performance data housed alongside more traditional financial information allows investors to more easily integrate ESG factors into their fundamental analysis.”

Through the Bloomberg Professional service, users can deliver Sustainalytics’ assessments, alongside market data and other third-party and company reported ESG data, into a Microsoft Office document to fuel proprietary ESG models, research and reports.

Sustainalytics’ proprietary indicators will provide investors with a macro level assessment of how companies are managing their ESG capital. All Bloomberg users will have access to high-level company scores and percentile rankings across the environmental, social and governance dimensions. Clients that subscribe to both platforms will have access to more in-depth assessments of approximately 1,600 global, developed market companies, ranked against their industry peers across 15 performance indicators, including:

Thematic and overall Environmental, Social and Governance scores,
Momentum indicators, which reflect ESG trends scores over time,
Controversy assessments, identifying high-profile environmental, social or governance incidents involving the company,
Preparedness, Disclosure, and Performance assessments which offer investors insights into a company’s ESG management and risk exposure,
Product involvement indicators highlighting company exposure to a list of 11 product lines, such as tobacco, nuclear power generation or military contracting.

To improve analysis and better identify trends over time, historical scores dating back to 2009 will also be made available in the coming months.

“We have seen the number of customers using ESG data increase at an annual rate of 48%, which means that there is a growing demand for this type of information,” said Curtis Ravenel, Global Head, Sustainability Initiatives at Bloomberg. “It is becoming a critical element in the decision making process of investors and more specifically our customers and the collaboration with Sustainalytics will enhance our offering on the Bloomberg Professional service.”

For more information about accessing Sustainalytics ESG research data via your Bloomberg Professional Services account, Sustainalytics and Bloomberg users should contact their account managers.

 

About Sustainalytics

Sustainalytics is an independent ESG research and analysis firm supporting investors around the world with the development and implementation of responsible investment strategies. The firm partners with institutional investors who integrate environmental, social and governance information and assessments into their investment decisions.

Headquartered in Amsterdam, Sustainalytics has offices in Boston, Bucharest, Frankfurt, London, Paris, Singapore, Timisoara and Toronto, and representatives in Bogotá, Brussels, Copenhagen, New York City and San Francisco. The firm has 160 staff members, including more than 100 analysts with varied multidisciplinary expertise and thorough understanding of more than 40 industries. In 2012 and 2013, Sustainalytics was voted best independent sustainable and responsible investment research firm in the Thomson Reuters Extel’s IRRI survey. www.sustainalytics.com

About Bloomberg

Bloomberg, the global business and financial information and news leader, gives influential decision makers a critical edge by connecting them to a dynamic network of information, people and ideas. The company’s strength – delivering data, news and analytics through innovative technology, quickly and accurately – is at the core of the Bloomberg Professional service, which provides real time financial information to more than 320,000 subscribers globally. Headquartered in New York, Bloomberg employs more than 15,500 people in 192 locations around the world.

Bloomberg’s environmental, social and governance (ESG) news, data and research are a fully integrated feature of the Bloomberg Professional service. Data for over 10,000 companies, ranging from emissions and energy consumption to accident rates and board independence, is displayed in the same screen as the fundamental data that investors, analysts and corporate executives use every day. ESG data is compatible with all of Bloomberg’s cutting edge analytics to better compare companies on ESG metrics. www.bloomberg.com.

Contact:

Melissa Chase
Marketing Specialist
melissa.chase@sustainalytics.com

 

 

 

 

Thomson Reuters launches ESG tool

Thomson Reuters have joined the ranks of information providers for investors to provide extensive sustainability, or Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG), data. The Thomson Reuters Corporate Responsibility Ratings (TRCRR) ESG Portal was launched in April 2014.

It reviews about 225 key performance indicators and more than 500 data points. The TRCRR ESG Portal “affixes ESG ratings to more than 4,600 public companies worldwide constituting more than $47 trillion (91.3%) in global market cap.”

Besides ESG data, the portal also provides a suite of 12 ESG-focused indices.

Aimed at the investing public, besides the target markets of financial institutions and money managers, financial advisors can access the portal for $600 yearly or $59 monthly.

 

Full article from Financial Advisors http://www.fa-mag.com/news/new-esg-tool-for-advisors-18366.html

Thomson Reuters ESG Research Data http://thomsonreuters.com/esg-research-data/

 

BT reports ‘More companies providing sustainability reports’

The Business Times, Thursday, August 1, 2013

Paia Consulting was featured in Business Times article reviewing the sustainability reporting scene. The article reported the rapid growth of sustainability reports published, and also highlighted CapitaLand’s savings from their sustainability strategy.

Read about the list of GRI reports in Singapore and Malaysia here.

Explore our site to find out more about clients we have helped, and services we offer to help your company in your sustainability journey.

 

Paia Consulting is a leading sustainability consultancy established since 2002. We helped produce Singapore’s first GRI report and many award-winning reports. Beyond reporting, many of the companies leading sustainability locally are our clients. Drop us a note at  info@paiaconsulting.com to discuss how we may support your sustainability journey.

GRI G4 Guidelines released at GRI Conference 2013

27 May 2013

Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), the leading global sustainability reporting framework, has released its fourth iteration G4 at the GRI Conference 2013 in Amsterdam. Paia was represented by our Director Carrie Johnson.

There are two parts in G4 Guidelines. Users should begin with Part 1, which elaborates on the Reporting Principles and Standard Disclosures, then move on to Part 2 which is the Implementation Manual.

Part 1 is particularly important with the renewed and heavily emphasised focus on materiality in G4. “The emphasis on what is material encourages organizations to provide only information that is critical to their business and stakeholders. This means organizations and report users can concentrate on the sustainability impacts that matter, resulting in reports that are more strategic, more focused, more credible, and easier for stakeholders to navigate.”

Download them here: Part 1 & Part 2

 

Video recordings of the GRI Conference will be made available in the following weeks. We will put a note up on our blog when GRI notifies conference attendees of the videos. Subscribe to our blog (upper right hand corner) to be notified of new blog posts.

Paia will be organising workshops for companies who wish to have an in-depth understanding on implications for G4. Email us at training@paiaconsulting.com if you are interested.

SGX launches An Investor’s Guide to Reading Sustainability Reports

SGX launches An Investor’s Guide to Reading Sustainability Reports 10 May 2013 SGX has released An Investor’s Guide to Reading Sustainability Reports and 10-minutes video featuring Ms Carrie Johnson, Director of Paia Consulting, on Understanding Sustainability from an Investor’s perspective. A quick 6 page document, this guide seeks to help investors focus on the following: – What is […]

SGX to move to ‘comply or explain’ basis

On 19 Mar 2013, Singapore Exchange (SGX) announced at RI Asia 2013, the environmental, social and governance (ESG) summit that SGX will move to a “comply or explain” basis for reporting standards. 

Read more

Rio+20: Themes, Priority Areas and Conclusion

Rio+20 is a short name for the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development that took place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil last 20-22 June 2012.

The date marks the 20th anniversary of the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) held in Rio de Janeiro and the 10th anniversary of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) held in Johannesburg.

Rio+20 discussed two themes and seven priority areas. The themes were (a) a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication and (b) the institutional framework for sustainable development.

Seven areas given priority were decent jobs, energy, sustainable cities, food security and sustainable agriculture, water, oceans, and disaster readiness.

At Rio+20 governments were expected to adopt practical measures for implementing sustainability. Nearly a month after the conference, there have been mixed views from key opinion formers on whether such expectation was met. Nevertheless, aspirations for sustainable development remain and continue to increase in urgency as countries face significant challenges.

For more information and updates post-Rio+20, visit www.uncsd2012.org

 

National Climate Change Strategy (NCCS) Document 2012

Launched on 14 June 2012 by Mr Teo Chee Hean, Deputy Prime Minister at the National Climate Change Youth Conference in Singapore, the NCCS 2012 outlines Singapore’s strategy and plans to address climate change. The National Climate Change Secretariat developed NCCS in collaboration with the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Climate Change and with inputs from private and public groups.

The strategy plans to reduce emissions by 7% to 11% against Business As Usual (BAU) 2020 levels projected at 77.2 million tonnes CO2-equivalent. If there is a legally-binding global agreement in which all countries implement their commitments in good faith, this target will be increased to 16% below BAU 2020 levels.

Apart from reducing emissions, the strategy aims to build capabilities and expertise on climate science and adaptation. Studies are already ongoing to learn more about the effects of climate change on the island state. Moreover, growth opportunities are identified specifically on developing a cleantech industry.

Lastly, the Singapore government recognizes the importance of keeping and establishing partnerships in addressing climate change. These partnerships include private sector collaboration, public consultations, NGO engagement, and international participation to United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

For more information and developments to NCCS 2012, please visit http://app.nccs.gov.sg

SGX/MAS revises Code of Corporate Governance

On 2 May 2012, Singapore Exchange (SGX) & Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released the new Code of Corporate Governance, which formally incorporates sustainability considerations into governance.

1.1(f) The Board’s role is to consider sustainability issues, e.g. environmental and social factors, as part of its strategic formulation.

View the full Code of Corporate Governance here

SGX launches Guidelines to Sustainability Reporting

On 27 Jun 2011, Singapore Exchange (SGX) launched Guidelines to Sustainability Reporting, following a public consultation in Aug 2010 over accountability for conducting businesses in a sustainable manner.

SGX’s Malaysia counterpart, Bursa Malaysia, has made CSR mandatory reporting for listed companies four years ago. Hong Kong is also looking at its reporting guide.

In SGX CEO Mr Magnus Bocker’s words “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”.

View the full Guidelines here

WWF ADB Asia Pacific Study 2012

Supplementary to the recently launched WWF’s Living Planet Report 2012, WWF and ADB have collaborated to produce a Ecological footprint and Investment in Natural Capital in Asia and the Pacific Report.

Read more

Rio+20: Themes, Priority Areas and Conclusion

Read a quick summary of the Rio+20 here

Read more

National Climate Change Strategy (NCCS) Document 2012

Summary: National Climate Change Strategy Document 2012

Read more

SGX/MAS revises Code of Corporate Governance

On 2 May 2012, Singapore Exchange (SGX) & Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) released the new Code of Corporate Governance, which formally incorporates sustainability considerations into governance.

1.1(f) The Board’s role is to consider sustainability issues, e.g. environmental and social factors, as part of its strategic formulation.

View the full Code of Corporate Governance here

Sustainability in Asia in early stages, but much progress has been made

The journey for sustainability in Asia is young, but sustainability professionals are encouraged by the progress.

After SGX released a policy statement and guide to sustainability reporting in June 2011,  The Business Times examined the role of sustainability indices and disclosure for investments.

Carrie Johnson, Director of Paia Consulting, was invited to share her thoughts on the Asian Sustainability Rating (ASR), an analysis of listed companies’ disclosure on sustainability issues.

The following is extracted from the actual article published in the Business Times:

Carrie Johnson, director of Paia Consulting.. sees the index as a catalyst for change. She says: ‘Sustainability indexes significantly help sustainability issues get credibility at the senior management level. Once the senior management team realises that investors are taking sustainability seriously, it helps raise the profile of sustainability internally.’

In fact, companies that list on sustainability indexes get exposure to a wider range of investors, who may not otherwise consider them, she says.

‘Several investor analysts now include sustainability risks in their overall risk assessment of companies. Being on a sustainability index helps reassure those investors that sustainability risks are being managed.’

Read the full article on Eco-business.

Sustainability in Asia in early stages, but much progress has been made

The journey for sustainability in Asia is young, but sustainability professionals are encouraged by the progress.

After SGX released a policy statement and guide to sustainability reporting in June 2011,  The Business Times examined the role of sustainability indices and disclosure for investments.

Carrie Johnson, Director of Paia Consulting, was invited to share her thoughts on the Asian Sustainability Rating (ASR), an analysis of listed companies’ disclosure on sustainability issues.

The following is extracted from the actual article published in the Business Times:

Carrie Johnson, director of Paia Consulting.. sees the index as a catalyst for change. She says: ‘Sustainability indexes significantly help sustainability issues get credibility at the senior management level. Once the senior management team realises that investors are taking sustainability seriously, it helps raise the profile of sustainability internally.’

In fact, companies that list on sustainability indexes get exposure to a wider range of investors, who may not otherwise consider them, she says.

‘Several investor analysts now include sustainability risks in their overall risk assessment of companies. Being on a sustainability index helps reassure those investors that sustainability risks are being managed.’

Read the full article on Eco-business.

 

SGX launches Guidelines to Sustainability Reporting

On 27 Jun 2011, Singapore Exchange (SGX) launched Guidelines to Sustainability Reporting, following a public consultation in Aug 2010 over accountability for conducting businesses in a sustainable manner.

Read more