Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards 2015 update

Newly launched Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards aspire to become the most inspiring recognition for sustainability reporting excellence in Asia. The 2015 edition of the Awards is open for entries now.
An independent panel of judges with distinguished backgrounds will judge the entries and decide the winners. The Awards are being offered in 14 categories including Asia’s Best Sustainability Report, Asia’s Best Integrated Report, Asia’s Best Sustainability Report (SME), Asia’s Best First Time Sustainability Report and other specialized categories with focus on carbon disclosure, stakeholders, supply chain, community and many more.
The Awards, an multi-stakeholder initiative by CSRWorks, Singapore’s leading sustainability advisory firm,  have already garnered considerable attention as well as support from diverse organisations; being the foremost and the only Asia-level awards for sustainability reporting.
CSRWorks explains their decision to create these regional Awards: “An increasing number of companies in Asia are embarking on sustainability reporting in line with global trends. Our aim is to encourage and promote sustainability disclosure by honouring those who have demonstrated leadership in sustainability reporting.”
According to CSRWorks, “the Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards will create a much needed platform for sharing best practices, bench marking and peer learning by bringing together the leaders in sustainability reporting. Moreover, the Awards will provide an excellent opportunity to organisations to showcase their sustainability excellence and build trust among their stakeholders. ”
Entries are welcome from all types of organisations from all sectors; all types of sustainability communication and disclosure will be accepted.
Early bird submissions end on 26th October 2015 and final submission deadline on 23rd November 2015. The winners will be announced in mid-January 2016 in an awards function in Singapore.
Further details on partnership opportunities, judging panel and how to enter are available here.

For more information, please contact:
Ms Zi Jin Wong
Email: zijin.wong@csrworks.com

Sunday, September 27, 2015

The politics of the market

China’s unprecedented stock market crash in the recent weeks shows the dangers of investing in a market which is heavily manipulated by the government, lacks transparency and fundamentals are unknown.
The government media and machinery worked tirelessly to promote bullish behaviour by openly encouraging retail investors to buy more shares. And people did invest as if the bull run will never end. The government campaign resulted in 40 million new stock accounts between June 2014 and June 2015 and the Shanghai Composite Index went up by 150 per cent in the same period. When the market crashed, the government tried to manipulate the market again by pumping more than $200 billion in stock markets to stop the rout only to realise it can’t possibly stop the free fall. The government is now left red faced and embarrassed.
China’s leaders have viewed the rising stock market, erroneously, as a sign of the country’s economic might and a necessary manifestation of their growing global influence. A falling stock market therefore is perceived a sign of political weakness. This explains why the government panicked over the crash and started an extraordinary rescue operation. Short selling was capped. Pension funds were ordered to buy more stocks. New Initial Public Offerings were suspended to limit the supply of shares and the central bank created funds for brokers to buy shares. Companies major shareholders were barred from selling their shares for six month and companies were ordered to buy their own shares. Nothing worked.
There are some intriguing facts. Even though the stock market lost almost one third of its value over the weeks, it was still 80 per cent higher than the last year. Foreign investors do not account for significant share of stock trading. Less than 5 per cent local household assets are invested in stock market. State-owned companies dominate the two main stock exchanges- Shanghai Stock Exchange and the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. State-owned companies offer only a tiny part of their shares for trading to maintain their control over the company. In other words, these companies don’t really rely on stock markets for raising capital. In summary, stock markets do not play a significant role in China’s economy. It’s actually the politics that believes that booming stock markets reflect the government’s success in reforms and a fall erodes the government leaders credibility.
Governments everywhere, particularly in developed countries, try to prop up stock markets by intervening when they have to. But in their case, the stock markets account for more than 100 per cent of their GDP and the stakes are high. The way the Chinese government has intervened is more than just business.
It’s this sensitivity which led to the arrest of journalist Wang Xiaolu who worked for Caijing magazine and wrote in an article that the government was going to end interventions in the stock market. He was promptly arrested saying he “caused panic and disorder at stock market, seriously undermined the market confidence and inflicted huge losses on the country and investors for the sake of sensationalism.” His video confessions were aired on the state-owned TV channel CCTV. He is seen apologising for his news story in the video.

Press Freedom
The authorities have warned other journalists and media outlets not to give too much coverage to stock market problems. Dozens of other people have been arrested in connection with the stock market crash facing accusations of insider trading, malicious short selling and spreading online rumours about stock markets.
The journalist’s arrest has turned the stock market crash story into a human rights and media freedom story. Media rights and human rights groups, within and outside China, have openly criticized the government move.
The key question is this: will the government slow down the market reforms after failing to control the stock market crash and go back to the tight control over the markets? What incentive it now has to reform the markets to let them function on economic fundamentals and transparency instead of driving through propaganda? The coming months will be crucial to watch.

This article, written by me, originally appeared in Ethical Corporation magazine, Sept 2015 issue.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Green and Sustainable Cities Initiative

CSRWorks International is pleased to be a partner of the newly launched Green and Sustainable Cities Initiative. Launched in Singapore on 4 September 2015, the initiative aims to get businesses, youth organisations and civil society committed to “a proactive, ground-up, ecosystem and entrepreneurial approach” to help make urban areas around the world more environmentally and economically sustainable.
CSRWorks and 14 other community and industry group leaders, representing more than 5000 local, regional and international organisations, signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) agreeing to engage “in diverse activities to facilitate the growth of Green and Sustainable Cities”, with two main purposes by developing a shared-value economy and to develop youth leaders in close academia-industry collaboration. The long-term goal is to promote the notion that “doing good well is also good for business”.

(Photo: The MoU Signing Ceremony in Singapore on 4 Sept 2015 at Marina Bay Sands Convention Centre)

Wednesday, September 09, 2015

14 Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards up for grab

The Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards 2015, hosted in Singapore, has 14 categories for which entries are being invited. Then there is the top honour of "Asia's Sustainability Report of the Year" which will be selected as Judges' Choice. A star-studded international judging panel will be unveiled soon!

  • Early Bird Entry submission deadline: 26 October 2015
  • Extended Entry submission deadline: 23 November 2015
  • Announcement of Finalists: Mid December 2015
  • Announcement of Winners and the Awards Ceremony/Gala Dinner: Mid Jan 2016
More information about the Awards is available on http://www.csrworks.com/events.html

If you have a CSR Report or CSR Communication in any form, do send your entry today!

Download the Entry Form at www.csrworks.com

Friday, September 04, 2015

Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards 2015 Categories

The Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards 2015 are open for entries from organisation operating in Asia. The Awards will be given out in 14 categories. Multiple entries are allowed. The Awards include the following categories:
  1. Asia’s Best Sustainability Report
  2. Asia’s Best Integrated Report
  3. Asia’s Best First Time Sustainability Report
  4. Asia’s Best Sustainability Report (SME)
  5. Asia’s Best CSR Communication within Annual Report
  6. Asia’s Best Online CSR Communication
  7. Asia’s Best Materiality Reporting
  8. Asia’s Best Stakeholder Reporting
  9. Asia’s Best Carbon Disclosure
  10. Asia’s Best Supply Chain Reporting
  11. Asia’s Best Community Reporting
  12. Asia’s Best Workplace Reporting
  13. Asia’s Best Environmental Reporting
  14. Asia’s Most Transparent Report
 Descriptions of each category can be found on the Awards webpage at www.csrworks.com

Stay tuned to get regular updates about the Awards which aim to be the most inspiring recognition for sustainability disclosure in Asia!

Thursday, September 03, 2015

Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards 2015

Entries are being invited for the inaugural Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards 2015.
The  Awards recognize and honour sustainability reporting leaders in Asia. The Awards celebrate best practices in sustainability reporting and communications.
The Awards are being offered in 14 categories including Asia’s Best Sustainability Report, Asia’s Best Integrated Report, Asia’s Best Sustainability Report (SME) and Asia’s Best Carbon Disclosure.

The Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards are open to all kinds of periodic sustainability reporting by all types of organisations in Asia. The types of reports eligible for the awards include:
  • Annual Sustainability Report / Annual CSR Report
  • Integrated Report
  • CSR Communication within an Annual Report
  • UNGC Communication on Progress
  • Online CSR or Sustainability Communication (i.e. Company website or micro-site)
  • Any other type of CSR or sustainability communication disclosed and available publicly
Entries will be accepted for the most recent report published by an organisation for the calendar year 2014 or the Financial Year 2014-15, as the case may be.

An independent panel of judges with distinguished backgrounds will assess the entries to decide the winners. The judging panel will have members drawn from diverse fields such as non-profit organisations, academia, sustainability advocacy, professional bodies, industry networks, media etc to enrich the judging process. 
The judging panel is completely independent of the organisers to maintain the highest possible neutrality and objectivity. The judging panel is being put together and will be announced shortly.
The Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards are committed to follow the highest standards in awards judging. The guiding principles for judging the Awards include: independent from organisers, integrity, objectivity, impartiality, avoidance of conflict of interest, and transparency.
More information is available on the Awards webpage.

The Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards are organised by CSRWorks Events, a unit of CSRWorks International, Singapore’s leading sustainability advisory, research and training firm. Established in 2005, CSRWorks closely works with businesses and other stakeholders to promote excellence in sustainability across the region. Our vision for the Asia Sustainability Reporting Awards is to become the most inspiring recognition of sustainability disclosure in Asia.

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