New sustainability ranking launched for Asia

The Channel NewsAsia Sustainability Ranking identifies leading firms in corporate sustainability across 10 key economies in the region. India's Tata Consultancy Services, Singapore property developer City Developments and Unilever Indonesia took the top three spots.

Hong Kong central business district
The Channel NewsAsia Sustainability Ranking, launched in Hong Kong (pictured) in October, lists the top 100 companies in Asia with the highest sustainability performance. Image: Shutterstock

Singapore broadcaster Channel NewsAsia (CNA) on Tuesday launched a new index which identifies leading firms in corporate sustainability across 10 Asian economies.

The Channel NewsAsia Sustainability Ranking, developed in partnership with consultancy firms CSR Asia and Sustainalytics, lists the top 100 companies in Asia with the highest sustainability performance.

It also highlights the overall top 20 companies and the top three businesses per economy. Territories covered are China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and Thailand.

India’s Tata Consultancy Services emerged at the top of the ranking for its focus on water conservation. Singapore property developer City Developments (CDL) was ranked second, while Unilever Indonesia followed in third place.

Debra Soon, managing director of Channel NewsAsia, an English language television news channel based in Singapore and broadcasted across Asia, said at the index’s launch in Hong Kong: “This is the Asian century, and businesses in the region need to be spot on with their processes to be more effective on the global field.”

The new ranking will “help throw the spotlight on businesses that have excelled in corporate sustainability and spur others to re-examine their positions,” she added.

CDL deputy chairman Kwek Leng Joo said in a statement: “Globally, buildings account for some 40 per cent of energy consumption and 30 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions. There is an urgent need for our industry to mitigate the impact of our activities on the environment. That is why CDL has strived to pursue the creation of sustainable developments.”

Companies included in the ranking are publicly listed and selected based on research provided by research firm Sustainalytics, which assessed about 1,000 companies based on three themes - environment, social, and governance (ESG). Between 75 and 120 indicators were used to assess each company, according to the firm.

The top 100 companies led their respective industries in the region in areas such as environmental initiatives, impact on local communities, treatment of employees and supply-chain management.

The Sustainability Ranking is based on available disclosure as of June 2014. Information provided after the ranking was assembled was not taken into consideration, said the firm.

Sustainalytics added that its research process includes an examination of sources from around the world including: annual reports, financial reports, CSR reports, CSR websites, news releases, online databases, government sources, NGO research and direct communication with key stakeholders.

As part of the research and due diligence process, all eligible companies were notified by e-mail in mid-July and given an opportunity to review and verify Sustainalytics’ assessment of their ESG performance. About 25 per cent of the companies responded.

CSR Asia chairman Richard Welford said that the new ranking will provide businesses with a benchmark to measure their performance.

“Companies not ranked should be asking themselves how business models can be adapted to meet both the expectations of investors and consumers, as well as benefit from the opportunities presented by the drive to a sustainable future,” he said.

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