SINGAPORE - Singapore Exchange (SGX) and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) have launched an online sustainability reporting portal aimed at streamlining disclosure for corporates and improving data quality.
Called ESGenome, the disclosure portal will be offered free to listed companies here on a voluntary basis, for now, SGX and MAS said in a joint press release on Monday. Investors and financial institutions will also have access to the environmental, social and governance (ESG) data of companies and compare them.
Companies can upload their ESG disclosures onto the platform based on the reporting frameworks they have adopted, including customised metrics. Because the platform has mapped out a number of different reporting frameworks, an input provided for one framework is automatically matched to similar requirements in other frameworks if the company needs to report in more than one format.
The frameworks include the set of 27 core ESG metrics that SGX has recommended issuers use as a starting point for sustainability reporting.
Listed issuers can use the platform to generate sustainability reports that would meet disclosure requirements of the exchange. They can also allow external parties, including financial institutions, ESG rating agencies and investors, to access some or all of their data.
"For investors and financial institutions, ESGenome provides access to relevant and comparable ESG data that allows for meaningful peer benchmarking and tracking of sustainability commitments and key performance indicators. This enables capital to be mobilised more efficiently towards sustainable companies and projects," SGX and MAS said in the joint release.
They said that the proliferation of multiple sustainability reporting frameworks and guidelines across jurisdictions, and the inconsistent manner in which data is being collected, verified and reported have created significant disclosure challenges and resulted in poor ESG data comparability.
"With corporate sustainability disclosures representing one of the largest sources of ESG data globally, there is great scope to harness technology to enhance such disclosures and comparability of data to support the financing decisions needed for a credible transition," according to the release.
As part of Project Greenprint, which refers to a collection of initiatives from MAS that aims to make use of technology and data to develop a more transparent ESG ecosystem, the financial regulator also said that it will utilise learnings from ESGenome to address the reporting needs of non-listed corporations, including small and medium-sized enterprises (SME).
The platform has received early endorsements from both issuers and their stakeholders.
Mr Chew Sutat, pro tem chairman of the listed-company association SGListCos, called the platform timely, saying: "Fortifying the required guidance while simplifying the reporting process will be very beneficial, especially for mid-small companies."
Mrs Ong-Ang Ai Boon, director of the Association of Banks in Singapore (ABS), said: "This is a good common disclosure utility, giving ABS a timely use case for our banking members to collect data directly from the private sector and in particular, (from) SME clients, (which are) an important data set that is currently missing." THE BUSINESS TIMES