Friday, August 01, 2014

Singapore Companies Laggards in Sustainability Reporting

Sustainability Reporting Guidelines issued by the Singapore Exchange in 2010 have fallen on deaf ears as indicated by the findings of the latest study of sustainability reporting practices of listed companies in Singapore.
The second edition of much awaited study report about Sustainability Reporting in Singapore among Singapore Exchange Mainboard listed companies has been released. The report, carried out by Singapore Compact for CSR and NUS Business School, paints a grim picture of sustainability reporting among Singapore companies. The study covered 537 companies listed on the Singapore Exchange to gauge the level of their sustainability reporting. Here are the key findings:
  1. Only 19 companies issue a proper sustainability report using GRI guidelines. The 2011 Study had found 11 companies with GRI-based reports.
  2. Companies in the Manufacturing, Services and Commerce sectors are the biggest laggards.
  3. Only 160 companies had some kind of mention of sustainability in their annual report or the website.
  4. Environmental issues were the most neglected aspects by those with any sustainability information.
  5. Only 17 companies made any reference to Climate Change.
  6. Only 22 companies made a reference to material issues.
  7. Only 32.1% companies from the high impact sectors, categorized so by the Singapore Exchange, provided some information about their sustainability practices. These sectors include Agriculture, Air Transport, Chemicals & Pharmaceutical, Construction, Food & Beverages, Forestry & Paper, Mining & Metals, Oil & Gas, Shipping and Water.
Study findings are not surprising for sustainability professionals. Sustainability has a very low buy-in at the CEO level in Singapore. CEOs don't see much value in sustainability agenda. The SGX guidelines expect listed companies to disclose their sustainability performance but are voluntary. In the absence of regulatory requirement, a vast majority of companies have chosen to ignore the guidelines.
Christopher Ang, Executive Director of Singapore Compact, says: “More companies need to communicate and report on their sustainability activities to gain a deeper understanding of their exposure to social and environmental risks, and demonstrate corporate transparency and accountability. Such insights can also help companies find growth opportunities and generates trust with their stakeholders, while providing drivers for companies to formulate long-term strategic visions and resilient business models.”
Associate Professor Lawrence Loh, one of the researchers and Deputy Head, Department of Strategy & Policy, NUS Business School says: "Companies should see that it is in their own interests to report on sustainability. Increasingly, many stakeholders, including investors, are expecting companies to go beyond mere engagement and to also communicate their commitment to sustainability efforts. Being sustainable is the most fundamental assurance for the long-term survivability and viability of the companies."
Good advice. Hope CEOs are listening!


See the full report here.

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Will Aviva Explain Reckless Increases in MyShield premium?


I am shocked to receive a premium demand for my MyShield policy from Aviva which is significantly higher than the prior years. I bought the policy in July 2012 and paid a premium of $481.46. In 2013, I was asked to pay $800. This year, the amount has been increased to $1129.63. Should I expect to pay $1500 next year? And $1900 the year after? Where will this stop?

Can anyone at Aviva explain the basis for these reckless increases in premium every year for a healthy man with no claim history?
There have been regular reports of insurance companies in Singapore arbitrarily increasing medical insurance premium for hapless customers. Is there any authority or agency in Singapore which can rein in these companies? Is there any regulation here to control these companies' behaviour and to ensure customers are not taken to ransom?
I have written to Aviva. Will share the reply here if they reply at all. Keeping my fingers crossed.


Update on 1 Aug 2014 at 7.20 PM: Aviva has not bothered to reply to my email yet which was sent to their "customer care" email address.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

Training Course: Sustainability Reporting for HR

After the two hugely successful sustainability training courses (Managing and Reporting Supply Chain Sustainability and Transitioning to GRI G4 Reporting) that we launched in collaboration with Singapore Compact for CSR, the next one is designed for the Human Resources professionals. Here are the necessary details:


Sustainability Reporting for HR

 Introduction

More and more companies are opting to report their economic, social and environmental performance through annual sustainability reports. A sustainability report is increasingly seen as a critical instrument in building trust and credibility among internal and external stakeholders.

Sustainability reporting is a complex process requiring organisation-wide collaboration to deliver a report that is truly engaging and effective. Input from the Human Resources Department build a significant part of the report. About one-third of a typical sustainability report is devoted to employee related issues. This is not surprising as nearly 38 per cent of the performance indicators included in the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) G4 Guidelines for Sustainability Reporting is Human Resources Management aspects. This underscores the importance of strategic participation of HR leaders in the reporting process instead of being passive providers of data at the end of the year.

More importantly, a good understanding of workplace-related sustainability issues and how they are reported will help HR leaders in employer branding. HR leaders can use sustainability reporting metrics to boost employee engagement, employee motivation, recruitment and retention of talent, work-life balance, team work, and leadership development.

This course is designed to introduce HR leaders and managers to sustainability reporting requirements and to prepare them for playing a strategic role in their organisation’s annual sustainability reporting process.

Training Style
Training is delivered in a highly interactive and fun style through case studies, activities and real examples.

Duration
One Day

Who Should Attend?
The workshop will be very useful for the entire Human Resource team, Sustainability Directors and Managers, Sustainability Steering Committee members and Sustainability Reporting Team members. Companies which aspire to be a leader in people excellence will find this workshop equally useful.


Training will be facilitated by Rajesh Chhabara, founder and managing consultant of CSRWorks International, one of the earliest sustainability consulting firms in Singapore. Please click for more information about the trainer.
To register, kindly download the registration form and send the completed form to ester@csrsingapore.org This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or diana@csrsingapore.org



Conflict between business and community, and the role of government

Whenever there is a conflict between business and community, the state is expected to intervene with a regulation to address the situation. Almost every piece of business law is a result of this underlying notion of the state's responsibility.
If businesses don't want to attract regulation, they have to voluntarily resolve the conflict guided by the principles of ethics, integrity and responsibility. Unfortunately, voluntary action by businesses is rare as there are so few visionary business leaders. So regulation is the only answer to protect the community (and the environment) from the greed and recklessness of businesses. Even in the enlightened Europe, a legislation is in the works to make sustainability reporting by large companies mandatory. A necessary but unpleasant move for which businesses can blame only themselves.
A high level discussion coming up next week. Looking forward to participate as a speaker.

Friday, May 02, 2014

Supply Chain Sustainability Workshop

Singapore Compact is organising a brand new workshop on Managing and Reporting Supply Chain Sustainability on May 8, 2014.


Here is more about the workshop:


Managing and Reporting Supply Chain Sustainability
Supply chain responsibility is rapidly becoming a strategic sustainability issue for an increasing number of companies. Managing social and environmental impacts and ensuring good governance in supply chains can prevent reputational and regulatory risks.
Sustainable procurement practices can also bring several benefits to organisations. These may include higher efficiencies and continuous improvement in productivity, quality and reliability of value chain partners. Implementing sustainability principles in supply chains helps companies to offer more sustainable products and services to customers. A responsible supply chain can win investor confidence and can help companies meet stakeholders’ expectations.
Recognizing the significance of Supply Chain Sustainability, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) has included new disclosure requirements in their latest GRI G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines. Reporting companies now urgently need to assess their value chain, review their procurement practices and take actions to meet the emerging reporting requirements.
This course is designed to help organisations to implement effective supply chain sustainability strategies and to meet the new GRI G4 reporting requirements.

Topics Covered
§ An Introduction to Sustainability
§ Global and Regional Trends in Supply Chain Responsibility
§ The Business Case of Supply Chain Responsibility
§ GRI G4 Reporting Guidelines and Responsible Procurement
§ Supply Chain Mapping for Identifying Material Issues
§ Setting and Realizing Sustainable Procurement KPIs
§ Sustainable Procurement Implementation Roadmap
§ Supplier Screening, Audit and Monitoring. Best Practices
§ Motivating and Influencing Suppliers to embrace sustainability

Who Should Attend?
The workshop will be very useful for the entire Procurement team, Sustainability Directors and Managers, Sustainability Steering Committee members and Sustainability Reporting Task Team members. The workshop is particularly valuable for sustainability reporters who are transitioning to the GRI G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines, and also for new reporters as the workshop is aligned with the GRI G4 Guidelines on supplier responsibility. Companies which aim to be a leader in supplier responsibility will find this workshop equally useful.

Date & Time
8 May, Thursday 2014
9 am – 5 pm (Registration starts at 8.45 am)

Fees
S$300 (For SC, SDBG, ACCA, SNEF members)
S$380 (For non-SC members)
Course fees are inclusive of course fee, notes, lunch and tea breaks.

Trainer
This workshop is facilitated by Rajesh Chhabara, founder and managing consultant of CSRWorks International, one of the earliest sustainability consulting firms in Singapore.

Training Style
Training is delivered in a highly interactive and fun style through case studies, activities, group discussions and real examples.

Venue
Singapore Business Federation
10 Hoe Chiang Road
Keppel Towers, #22-01
S089315
For enquiries, please contact Diana Chng at diana@csrsingapore.org or (65) 68276825.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Training Course on Transitioning to GRI G4 Sustainability Reporting

Singapore Compact for CSR has announced a training on Transitioning to GRI G4 Reporting. The training will be on 24 April 2014 in Singapore. Here is the course outline:


Transitioning to GRI G4 Sustainability Reporting

Introduction
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) published their GRI G4 Sustainability Reporting Guidelines in May 2013. GRI also announced that sustainability reports based on the older versions of G3 and G3.1 will not be accepted after 31 December 2015.
The G4 Guidelines contain significant changes and new requirements. Therefore, it is crucial for reporting companies to start early to avoid embarrassing mistakes and failure in meeting the deadline. Early adopters will also have an edge over their peers, will gain stakeholders’ respect and reap a number of benefits the G4 framework offers.
This course is designed to help reporting organisations to make a smooth transition from G3/G3.1 by adopting a practical approach.

Topics covered
  • Main features, concepts and requirements, and advantages of the GRI G4 Guidelines.
  • Understanding new requirements relating to Report Level Criteria, Materiality, Organisational Boundary and Defining Report Content.
  • New Standard Disclosures and Performance Indicators.
  • Addressing value chain disclosure requirements and indicators required by G4.
  • G4 and External Assurance: What has changed?
  • Changes in the GRI Content Index.
  • Four-Step-Approach to Easy Transitioning to GRI G4.
Date and Time
24 April 2014
09:00 AM- 05:00 PM (Registration starts at 8.45 am)


Who Should Attend?
Sustainability practitioners and reporters who have previously published reports using GRI G3/G3.1 guidelines and now need to switch to G4 guidelines. The workshop will be very useful for Sustainability Directors and Managers, Sustainability Steering Committee members and Sustainability Reporting Task Team members in reporting organisations.


Fees 
S$300 (For SC, SDBG, SNEF members)
S$380 (For non-members)
Course fees are inclusive of course fee, notes, lunch and tea breaks


For more information or to register, please refer to the attachments or contact Diana Chng at diana@csrsingapore.org or 68276825.

 (Disclosure: This training will be delivered by my firm CSRWorks International, and I will be the facilitator.)

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Personal Data Protection Act
Expect More Paper Wasted?
The Personal Data Protection Act in Singapore comes into force on 2 Jan 2014 partially, and then on 2 July completely. To make it short, the Act prevents companies to use individuals' phone numbers for making unsolicited telemarketing calls including sending messages and faxes.

Will unscrupulous companies and their marketing agents turn to alternative methods to reach out to people to sell? Will they resort to sending more junk mail to your post box now? Junk mail by post or couriers is not covered by the Act.

More junk mail to our post boxes or slid under the door would mean higher consumption of paper. Much of this paper is an absolute waste. Not sustainable.

By the way, it is worth having a look at the main provisions of the Act whether you are a business or an individual in Singapore. Know your rights, and obligations! Here is the link

Sunday, February 17, 2013

EU Parliament's CSR Resolution

The EU Parliament has adopted a new CSR Resolution. The economy is still shaky. A number of companies are using this as an excuse to go slow on embracing sustainability. The EU Parliament has however gone ahead to take CSR to the next level. Commendable! Hope other countries follow the lead.
Here is the summary of the EU CSR resolution.