The Global Reporting Initiative, the standards setter that has developed the world’s most widely used sustainability disclosure standards, is stepping up its activities in the ASEAN region. According to this organisation, the region is emerging as a global leader for sustainable business, with companies in the region becoming increasingly likely to publicly disclose their impacts.
KPMG recently released a recent analysis showing that Singapore (100%) and Malaysia (99%) are among the countries with the highest sustainability reporting rates for large companies. Leading firms in the Philippines (at 87%) are fast catching up. In all three countries, a majority of the top 100 companies use the GRI Standards for reporting.
In response, Eelco van der Enden, the CEO of GRI, travelled to the region for a number of high-level meetings.
“I see ASEAN as having a key role in the broader sustainable development agenda, and look forward to engaging with companies, financial institutions and capital markets in Singapore, Malaysia and the Philippines. I believe there are many opportunities for GRI to deepen our collaboration with stakeholders throughout the region,” he explained.
The focus on Southeast Asia underlines the growing significance of the region as an economic force. The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has predicted that the ASEAN countries will prove to have been among those with the fastest growth in 2022.
Yet the region is also highly vulnerable to the effects of climate change. As research published by GRI last year concluded, while 70% of listed companies reported on climate, gaps exist when it comes to disclosing risks and targets.
“As the economies of Southeast Asia continue to grow, it’s crucial that we do all we can to harness and support their sustainability potential. It’s encouraging therefore that, among the larger companies, the commitment to sustainability reporting is so widespread,” said Van der Enden.