89 per cent of Singapore business leaders say media reporting influences their corporate ESG strategy decision-making

89 per cent of Singapore business leaders say media reporting influences their corporate ESG strategy decision-making

A survey by BBC Studios has revealed new insights into how Singapore-based business leaders and corporations are relying on media reporting of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) issues to help shape their strategies. The survey found that:

  • 89 per cent of Singapore’s business leaders found media reporting to be ‘very impactful’ in shaping corporate ESG strategy
  • 91 per cent of those surveyed said that it was important to be seen by external parties as ‘socially responsible’
  • 52 per cent said they will typically engage with higher-cost suppliers who carry better ESG credentials

The results demonstrate how the relationship between public perception and corporate policy frameworks on ESG issues influences Singapore’s C-suite leaders in their management of ESG implementation. Singapore business leaders sought ESG news primarily through dedicated ESG publications and websites, followed by mainstream news platforms and, lastly, social media.

While ‘environment’ ranked as the leading ESG focus for corporate leaders in Singapore (44 per cent), ‘social’ (34 per cent) and ‘governance’ (23 per cent) topics followed closely. The most common response from business leaders was to put in place policies to address future ESG-related opportunities (70 per cent).

Singapore respondents clearly demonstrated the importance of how their companies are portrayed by the media, particularly when it comes to being seen as socially responsible to external parties (91 per cent). However, regionally, significant anomalies appear when compared with Australia, where BBC Studios surveyed an equal number of C-suite leaders.

Both were prepared to engage higher-cost suppliers with superior ESG credentials (Singapore 52 per cent, Australia 55 per cent) but other metrics showed Singapore business leaders ahead of their Australian counterparts: ‘Important for employees to see company’s position on ESG’ (Singapore 81 per cent, Australia 67 per cent); ‘Guide investments in ESG technology’(Singapore 58 per cent, Australia 36 per cent); and Singapore leaders found media reporting of ESG to be impactful in shaping policy 89 per cent of the time, versus 68 per cent of the time for Australian leaders.

Singapore’s regulation on ESG has been rapidly evolving and companies need to keep up to speed. These findings come at a time when the Singapore Exchange (SGX) seeks to enforce corporate ESG disclosure in the form of climate related reporting, and highlights the importance of the media’s role in acting as a third-party scrutineer of corporate board behaviour.

The survey results demonstrated no ambiguity when it came to the importance of external and employee perceptions on corporate ESG performance – (81 per cent), in terms of corporate social responsibility and positioning on ESG policy. Business leaders also said they were willing to spend a 13 per cent premium on services provided by well-credentialed ESG suppliers, which demonstrates the costs companies might be willing to accept to protect their reputations and attract ESG-conscious customers and investors.

John Williams, Vice President, Advertising Sales, Singapore & SEA, BBC Studios said: “These results show how important it is for businesses in Singapore to have clear and defined ESG policies, and that they are looking to increase spend to achieve this goal as there is demonstratable return on investment for this. A key part of these values is how they are communicated - with trust being of paramount importance when it comes to amplifying and enhancing that messaging. The world-leading journalism and content provided by the BBC ensures that our platforms remain a trusted space for these messages for our commercial partners and audiences alike.”

“As consumers and advertisers are actively turning towards brands and publishers who are committed to declared ESG goals, the BBC will become increasingly central to this discussion both commercially and editorially. Environmental and sustainability issues have long been reflected in the content we make and broadcast, from news to natural history, so it’s crucial to us that they are also embedded in the way we operate at the BBC.”

The BBC recently announced the soon-to-be available new BBC.com site and app. These platforms will feature ‘Earth’, a new destination that offers a comprehensive spotlight on the importance of sustainability and the future of our planet. Through original reporting across formats, Earth helps break down the most important climate stories of the moment to make it easy for consumers to understand what matters, why it’s relevant to their lives and what action they can take.

Survey methodology

The survey was conducted online in October 2023 and the findings were generated from respondents who identified as senior business leaders. The sample size was 250 respondents from Singapore and 250 respondents from Australia.

Sustainability at the BBC

  • Last year the BBC had over 1,470 pieces of content covering the topics of Climate, Sustainability and Environment.

(Source: Piano Analytics, Global ex. UK, Dec’22-Nov’23)

  • The Science & Environment BBC News pages receive monthly page views of 7.6 million. (Source: Piano Analytics, Global ex. UK, Dec’22- Nov’23)

The BBC is doing everything it can to keep its environmental impact to a minimum as part of its aim to provide the world-class services and programmes it is renowned for. Environmental and sustainability issues have long been reflected in the content the BBC makes and broadcast, so it’s important that they are also embedded in the way the BBC is run and operated. BBC Studios continues to produce content that portrays sustainable behaviour on screen as well as pioneering ground-breaking innovation off-screen.

About BBC News

BBC News provides accurate, impartial and independent journalism to 411m people each week, including on BBC.com and the BBC News channel.

About BBC Studios

BBC Studios is a commercial subsidiary of the BBC Group with sales of £2.1 billion (2021/22: £1,630 million). Able to take an idea seamlessly from thought to screen and beyond, the business is built on two operating areas: the global Content Studio, which produces, invests and distributes content globally and Channels & Streaming, with BBC branded channels, services and joint ventures in the UK and internationally.

Around 2,500 hours of award-winning British programmes are made by the business every year, with over 80 per cent of total BBC Studios revenues coming from non-BBC customers including Discovery, Apple and Netflix. Its content is internationally recognised across a broad range of genres and specialisms, with brands like Strictly Come Dancing/Dancing with the Stars, Top Gear, the Planet series, Bluey and Doctor Who. BBC.com is BBC Studios’ global digital news platform, offering up-to- the-minute international news, in-depth analysis and features.

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