Listed issuers have shown overall improvement in their sustainability reporting and the level of disclosure as compared to the last review in 2019, according to a joint review in 2021 of Singapore- listed issuers’ sustainability reports by Singapore Exchange Regulation (SGX RegCo) and the Centre for Governance and Sustainability (CGS) at the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School.
The assessment took place against a challenging backdrop with the Covid-19 pandemic, heightened concerns about the impact of climate change and a boom in sustainability-linked financing affecting sustainability management and reporting. The findings will be shared in a virtual forum on “Sustainability Reporting Review 2021” this morning.
The review found that the average overall score based on the SGX-CGS Sustainability Reporting Scorecard rose to 71.7 points from 60.6 in 2019, with broad-based gains regardless of listing board, size and industry sector. Results also showed that small-capitalisation issuers posted the largest increase in average scores (13 points), followed by the mid-cap issuers (10 points) and big-cap issuers (6 points).
The review indicates an overall increase in the depth and understanding of sustainability reporting, as well as sustainability management among Singapore-listed issuers.
64 per cent of companies which disclosed performance did so in the context of targets in the 2021 review versus just 22 per cent in the 2019 review. Among all companies, 66 per cent disclosed unfavourable aspects of sustainability performance from 55 per cent in 2019. In disclosing both positive and negative performance trends, 50 per cent did so, compared to just 26 per cent in 2019.
The study also explored the impact of Covid-19 and climate change in closer detail. Capturing information up to mid-2020, the review found that 61 per cent of issuers made disclosures related to the pandemic in their sustainability reports. Almost half of the issuers discussed climate change as an economic, environmental, social and governance (EESG) factor.
“That issuers have become generally better in terms of their sustainability reporting in just a few years is heartening to see. Nevertheless, the call globally for efforts on the climate change and sustainable development fronts has grown exponentially and with a new urgency. Singapore too has stepped up measures in these areas and SGX is similarly committed. In response to these needs, we will consult the market in due course on proposals to place greater emphasis on climate-related disclosures, assurance and structured formats for reporting,” said Tan Boon Gin, CEO of SGX RegCo.
Associate Professor Lawrence Loh, Director of CGS at NUS Business School, said, “Better sustainability reporting can help companies attract environmentally-conscious customers, obtain lower-cost financing and gain better access to capital. This improves resilience in the face of future challenges. We hope that this review aids companies in prioritising and pursuing these potential benefits.”
The full report and findings can be found here.
About Singapore Exchange
Singapore Exchange is Asia’s leading and trusted securities and derivatives market infrastructure, operating equity, fixed income, currency and commodity markets to the highest regulatory standards. It also operates a multi-asset sustainability platform, SGX FIRST or Future in Reshaping Sustainability Together (sgx.com/first).
SGX is committed to facilitating economic growth in a sustainable manner leveraging its roles as a key player in the ecosystem, a business, regulator and listed company. With climate action as a key priority, SGX aims to be a leading sustainable and transition financing and trading hub offering trusted, quality, end-to-end products and solutions.
As Asia’s most international, multi-asset exchange, SGX provides listing, trading, clearing, settlement, depository and data services, with about 40 per cent of listed companies and over 80 per cent of listed bonds
originating outside of Singapore. SGX is the world’s most liquid international market for the benchmark equity indices of China, India, Japan and ASEAN. Headquartered in AAA-rated Singapore, SGX is globally recognised for its risk management and clearing capabilities. For more information, please visit www.sgx.com.
About Centre for Governance and Sustainability
The Centre for Governance and Sustainability (formerly known as Centre for Governance, Institutions and Organisations (CGIO)) was established by the National University of Singapore (NUS) Business School to spearhead relevant and high-impact research on governance and sustainability issues that are pertinent to Asia. This includes corporate governance and corporate sustainability, governance of family firms, government-linked companies, business groups and institutions. CGS also organises events such as public lectures, industry roundtables and academic conferences on topics related to Governance and sustainability.
More information about CGS can be accessed at https://bschool.nus.edu.sg/cgs/.
NUS Business School is known for providing management thought leadership from an Asian perspective, enabling its student and corporate partners to leverage global knowledge and Asian insights.
The School is one of the 17 faculties and schools at NUS. A leading global university centered in Asia, NUS is Singapore’s flagship university which offers a global approach to education, research and entrepreneurship, with a focus on Asian perspectives and expertise. Its transformative education includes a broad-based curriculum underscored by multi-disciplinary courses and cross-faculty enrichment. Over 40,000 students from 100 countries enrich the community with their diverse social and cultural perspectives.
Ang Hui Min
Corporate Communications Office
National University of Singapore Business School
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Marketing & Communications Singapore Exchange
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