Among the global regions, according to Asia and the Pacific SDG Progress Report 2019, it is predicted that “Asia and the Pacific will not achieve any of the 17 SDGs by 2030 if the region remains on its current trajectory.”
On one hand, along with this persistent challenge, much opportunity lies in Asia where by 2030, according to the World Economic Forum (2019)1, the continent is expected to contribute to roughly 60 per cent of the global growth. The 2019 report from the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance (GSIA)2 said as well that, with Asia driving the bulk growth, the global value of sustainable investments jumped by more than a third in two years, equivalent to $30.7 trillion.
It was also predicted that Asia’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) will overtake the GDP of the rest of the world combined, where the growth is primarily driven by the developing markets of China, India, and countries throughout Southeast Asia. The path to this promise, however, should not remain unchecked, else we are at risk of repeating the history of neglecting sustainable practices in the name of economic growth. Such a threat would ultimately result in compounding the already accelerating planetary emergency.
The dichotomous nature of Asia’s potential for bringing impact makes sustainability-related investments to the region important to Global sustainability. In ensuring that the lessons from the past are effectively applied, performance baselining and monitoring could be done through sustainability reporting, where both the positive and negative impacts are determined and measured.
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), with its presence around the world, strengthened by the seven hubs in the regions of North America, Hispanic America, Africa, Brazil, Greater China, South Asia, and the ASEAN, is in a unique position to empower businesses in making sustainable decisions by reporting publicly on their economic, environmental and social impacts by encouraging and guiding the businesses to advance in their sustainability agenda.
As a testament to this advocacy, with an intention to bring together the sustainability thinkers, experts, and practitioners to a rich and purposeful platform that would hopefully shift the paradigm and push action, GRI puts forward to the audience the Asia Conference 2022 which zeroes into the global best practices on sustainability reporting and the harmonisation of standards, together with discussions on climate impact disclosures and supply chain management.
With the current trajectory of the progress in the SDGs, as shown by the Asian Development Bank in their 2020 report3, where climate action (SDG 13) and responsible consumption and production (SDG 12) regressed and both do not have sufficient indicators, the call made to the business community to contribute to the SDGs is ever important and tantamount to publishing a sustainability report and embedding sustainable practices in the business.