New recognition for companies that put greater good at heart of their corporate agenda

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An annual list to recognise the top 25 companies in Asia-Pacific that pursue sustainable goals will be launched on Thursday (March 31), known as the Steward Leadership 25 (SL25).

SINGAPORE - To spur more companies in the region to pursue not just profitability, but also make a positive impact on society and the environment, an annual list will recognise the top 25 companies in Asia-Pacific in this respect.

Called the Steward Leadership 25 (SL25), the list will also be a showcase of these companies' efforts in addressing social or environment and climate issues, so as to create a better future for the community and society at large.

Companies can submit their nominations for this year's SL25 from Thursday (March 31) till June 30.

The SL25 list was jointly launched by the Stewardship Asia Centre (SAC), Insead's Hoffmann Global Institute for Business and Society, advisory firm WTW and The Straits Times at the Stewardship Asia Roundtable 2022 held at Equarius Hotel at Resorts World Sentosa on Thursday.

SAC also released the second edition of the Singapore Stewardship Principles (SSP) for Responsible Investors, updating the framework of practices aimed at promoting responsible investment.

The revisions were driven by a 10-member steering committee supported by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) and Singapore Exchange.

"Since the SSP was introduced in 2016, there has been growing recognition of the significant economic and financial impact of climate change and environmental, social and governance (ESG) risks," said Ms Abigail Ng, executive director of MAS.

Speaking at Thursday's event, she said ESG risks include disruptions due to natural disasters, rising temperatures increasing the cost of cooling data centres, and the writing off of assets such as buildings in high flood-risk zones.

MAS will also be setting out a road map for mandatory climate-related disclosures for financial institutions. SGX released a similar road map for listed entities in December last year.

"Climate change is arguably the biggest crisis of our lifetime," said Mr Dilhan Pillay Sandrasegara, executive director and chief executive officer of Temasek.

"We are seeing more frequent weather events backed by now non-controvertible data, painting the dire picture of what the world would look like if we don't address it," he said while delivering the opening address on Thursday.

Mr Michael Tang, head of listing policy and product admission at the Singapore Exchange Regulation, later spoke about how more companies can be encouraged to take up sustainable investing to address ESG risks.

He said there will be a higher demand for companies that have ESG practices from the next generation of consumers.

The Straits Times will tell the stories of SL25 organisations and how good steward leaders can make a big difference in society, said Mr Warren Fernandez, editor of The Straits Times and editor-in-chief of SPH Media Trust's English, Malay and Tamil Media Group.

"We also continue to highlight what happens in the absence of such leadership. You would all have read some of our recent reports of how safety standards at some workplaces had been compromised, or workers' physical and mental well-being neglected," he said.

"By shining a light on such cases, we help to remind everyone why these things matter, and the role good leadership plays in delivering on them."

Stewardship Asia Centre CEO Rajeev Peshawaria speaks at the Stewardship Asia Roundtable 2022 on March 31, 2022. ST PHOTO: ALPHONSUS CHERN

Call for steward leaders

The Steward Leadership 25 (SL25) launched on Thursday seeks to showcase the 25 best stories of steward leadership excellence from the Asia-Pacific region each year.

Nominations for this year are open till June 30, and the final list will be revealed at the Steward Leadership Summit on Nov 30. 

SL25 is open to organisations from the Asia-Pacific region, whose submissions should show how the company’s initiatives or policies demonstrate steward leadership to create a better future as set out in the company’s organisational purpose.

Submissions should include projects that took place between March 1, 2019, and March 1 this year.

The SL25 listing accepts entries from large and multinational companies, small and medium enterprises, and social enterprises. 

The judges will also evaluate evidence of how embedded values or ethics in the culture of the organisation have helped to bring about a collective better future for multiple stakeholders.

Interested organisations can submit their stories at this website.

They can also download the nomination form and e-mail their entry to SL25@stewardshipasia.com.sg

Correction note: An earlier version of this article said MAS released a road map for mandatory climate-related disclosures for listed entities. It should be the SGX. We are sorry for the error.

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