Stewardship Asia Centre kick starts research with 13 Asia-Pacific partners on the role of boards in driving sustainability

Stewardship Asia Centre kick starts research with 13 Asia-Pacific partners on the role of boards in driving sustainability

Stewardship Asia Centre (SAC), with the support of 13 institutions across 12 Asia-Pacific countries, is curating a research study, “Creating a Collective Better Future: The Role of Boards,” to better understand board-level responsibilities in driving environmental and social sustainability agendas in their organisations.

Businesses are increasingly expected to consider the impact of their activities on the environment and society. Despite more organisations reporting against ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) metrics, greenwashing persists, and the existential threats humanity faces, such as climate change and socioeconomic inequality, continue to grow in severity and urgency.

Led by SAC, the study will collate and analyse inputs from board leaders across Asia-Pacific via interviews and an online survey that kicked off on 31 August 2023. It aims to determine the key challenges board leaders face when driving the sustainability agenda in their organisations, potential ways adopted to circumvent these barriers, and their roles in championing a collective better future for the stakeholders and shareholders of their organisations.

“Since governance, sustainability and leadership are deeply intertwined, the senior-most leadership group in any organisation — the board of directors — must lead in guiding, helping and sometimes nudging the management teams to curate a compelling sustainability agenda. To make a tangible difference, boards not only need the right skill set and toolset but, most importantly, a mindset of ‘doing well and doing good’ deeply rooted in the purpose and values of the organisation. SAC is excited to collaborate with like-minded partners in Asia-Pacific to explore the role of boards in driving the sustainability agenda,” said Mr Sunil Puri, Senior Vice President, Research and Engagement at SAC.

The following 13 partners will bolster the study by collecting data and the key research findings in their respective regions:

  • The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)
  • Board Stewardship Inc., India
  • Directors Australia
  • Institute of Corporate Directors Malaysia (ICDM)
  • Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), Philippines
  • Indonesian Institute for Corporate Directorship (IICD),
  • Japan Association for CFOs (JACFO),
  • Kerridge & Partners, New Zealand,
  • Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance (PICG),
  • Singapore Institute of Directors (SID),
  • Singapore Management University (SMU)
  • The Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID),
  • Vietnam Institute of Directors (VIOD)

“Based on anecdotal accounts, some boards are more progressed in sustainability than others. Stewardship Asia Centre’s research will provide a clear picture of the current state of play and therefore an important foundation for the roadmap ahead,” said Mr Chiew Chun Wee, Regional Lead Policy & Insights, Asia-Pacific at the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).

“Boards play a pivotal role in driving sustainability; they must lead with a vision that transcends profits and embraces responsibility for the planet and society. By advancing their knowledge and skillsets and staying agile, directors can guide organisations toward a sustainable future, where governance ensures that economic success incorporates environmental and social wellbeing,” said Terence Quek, CEO of Singapore Institute of Directors (SID).

The research report is expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2024.

“We believe this important research will play a critical role in advancing our knowledge and understanding of how boards are prioritising and developing their sustainability agenda, and through this collaborative and interdisciplinary research process, we hope to provide some valuable insights and recommendations that contribute to creating a sustainable and a better future,” said Mr Eddie Tritton, Executive Director of SMU Executive Development, Singapore Management University.

About Stewardship Asia Centre (SAC)

SAC is a non-profit organisation established by Temasek Holdings, dedicated to helping business and government leaders, investors, and individuals activate stewardship practices through research, executive education and engagement. We define stewardship as creating value by integrating the needs of stakeholders, society, future generations and the environment.

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