The Asset ESG Corporate Awards, the defining recognition for companies’ adherence to environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles, releases the top-ranked companies for 2020. Champion REIT, CTBC Financial Holdings, Kerry Logistic Network, and New World Development are awarded The Asset Jade Award for Excellence in ESG.
In the twenty years since The Asset has been monitoring corporate governance and sustainability in the region, progress has clearly been evident. In recognition of this positive trend, the Asset Jade Award makes its debut this year to recognise ESG performance and transparency over and above that normally accorded to Platinum Award winners. To better assess companies’ ESG standards, commitment, and practices, The Asset editorial board interviewed a board member and/or senior executives of Jade Award applicants.
This year’s Asset Benchmark Research survey of the best corporates in ESG incorporated revised and expanded sections on environmental and social accountability, in addition to corporate governance. With reference to Covid-19, questions related to the pandemic were also added. The rankings, therefore, reflect a more detailed review of companies’ adherence to safeguarding the environment, employees’ health and safety in their operations, and their social responsibility to the community at large.
Some companies are clearly more attuned to global trends in dealing with their stakeholders, including staff, suppliers as well as shareholders and bond holders. Many are acutely aware of the leadership being provided by the United Nations and other supranational entities. For example, the Taiwanese financial holding companies are generally more prepared in providing comprehensive climate-related financial disclosures than other financial institutions in the region. Thai companies active in the oil and gas industry are also dedicating more resources to environmental protection and reporting, being well aware of the ESG risks to which they are exposed.
Companies that top the overall rankings include Champion REIT, CTBC Financial Holdings, Kerry Logistic Network, and New World Development. This year, the Asset Jade Award makes its debut to recognize extraordinary ESG performance and transparency over and above that normally accorded to Platinum Award winners.
When assessing Jade Award submissions, The Asset editorial board interviewed board members and/or senior executives of the four companies. Through the conversations, the companies shared their unique approach towards ESG integration, upgrades, challenges and opportunities. All four companies demonstrated leadership in their respective industries.
In general, companies continue to make progress in some areas of corporate governance. For example, in the case of the remuneration committee, the proportion of companies that have independent non-executive directors has risen to 94% from 77% in 2019. This year, ABR also incorporated a question asking if companies conduct third-party board effectiveness review; 37% of companies have adopted this emerging practice.
However, there is room for improvement in the separation of the roles of chief executive officer and chairman. Only 76% of the companies surveyed say the roles of chairman and CEO are separated, slightly down from the 77% in 2019. On the gender composition side, 43% of companies have two women board members, up from 39% in 2019. Yet, the improvement indicates that the progress on gender equality is quite slow in the region.
To view the list of The Asset ESG Corporate Awards winners, please click here.
To view the list of The Asset ESG Initiative Award winners, please click here