ESG ASIA AWARD RULES

 


The Best Of Asia Award Rules

What does it take to be considered as the “Best of Asia”? For the better part of the past two decades, Corporate Governance Asia has been on top of assessing and identifying the region’s most proficient advocates of corporate governance that have shone brightest in expending every effort towards a better corporate environment for all. In particular, it is those that have become champions of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) by continuously integrating such issues in their daily operations which have been increasingly embraced by the investor community.

Corporate Governance Asia has been in the forefront in recognizing the significant impact that the leading corporates have had in further elevating ESG in this part of the world which we have been doing over the past 18 years. We have continuously shone a bright light on the best Asian ESG, sustainability, investor relations and communications practices through our numerous authoritative publications, research, seminars, conferences and awards. As we approach two decades into our journey, and whatever the circumstances we find ourselves in, we will always continue to advocate excellence in these critical areas for the next new normal in Asia.

Importance of ESG

ESG is a broad term that encompasses environmental issues such as climate change and resource scarcity. It covers social issues that the company addresses including labor practices, talent management, product safety and data security. The third pillar entails governance matters such as board diversity, executive pay and business ethics.

Investing sustainably means that companies are dedicating their resources towards areas ranging from mitigating climate change, improving work conditions and diversity of personnel, to tackling inequality and enhancing transparency. The past years have indicated investors want to invest sustainably: they want to combine investing for a financial return with a positive contribution to the environment and society as a whole.

ESG in the spotlight in the new normal

These days, however, there is more that the investor community is evaluating than simply looking at the bottom line. The non-financial information of firms are increasingly being sought after for investment analysis.

With the new normal indefinitely here to stay, proactively embracing ESG has become no longer a vague distant goal that corporates initially aspired to, but is rather now a necessity that instantly strengthens the resilience of companies and the wider society. People are now even more aware of the fact that ESG strategies can ultimately generate good performance. The post-Covid-19 world is tasked with committing to environmental protection and social inclusion, while adopting a sound roadmap to sustainable financial outcomes.

The pandemic has served as the first real proof-point for sustainability, underscoring that ESG investing does not come at a cost, but rather that it can future-proof investments and in some cases boost returns, all while helping to shape a better future. Corporates with stronger ESG records are generating alpha, while also outperforming their counterparts and have less volatility and downside risk.

Champions of ESG

Asian corporates should maintain the trust of the investors and this can only be achieved through their continued adherence to the highest standards of corporate governance. We are seeing emerging corporates, many of them certainly have the makings of national champions – even regional champions in this field. They are only scratching the surface of their potential in this area and seem destined to become global household names. Several Asian corporates have already made giant strides in the global arena through a series of headline acquisition deals overseas. Others have grown organically as they helped drive burgeoning economies that have transformed Asia as the engine of economic growth.

In doing so, the elite Asian corporates have not neglected their duties to investors – they are still very much on top of their game in cultivating a culture of good corporate governance. It is their premise that investors gravitate to them because they follow the ESG practices that these investors are seeing in the West.

Icons on ESG

In this light, Corporate Governance Asia is seeking to recognize these companies that have consistently made the honor roll in our annual awards in the past 18 years – bestowing to them the highest accolade of Icon in Corporate Governance. This esteemed recognition belongs to the best of the best in corporate governance in Asia – they continue to uphold the best practices in normal and challenging times alike.

In addition, Corporate Governance Asia would like to highlight the efforts of those companies that are following the path of good corporate governance. Similar to their more astute and seasoned counterparts, they are steadily adopting measures that are raise their governance standards. Such companies are following the basic tenets that best practices are good for business and are useful tools for attracting investors and accessing the capital markets.

These are the corporates that have made our list in the past few years and are continuing on their mission to bring their ESG standards into the next level and inspiring Asian corporates to join them. In recognizing them, we look at additional factors such as the quality of management, their business model, growth prospects, financial performance and relative position in their industries.

We are highly encouraging companies to be more conscious of their social responsibility by incorporating best sustainability practices into their operations and striving for higher reporting standards. CGA is recognizing corporates that appreciate the value of ESG reporting and have exerted time and resources to incorporate sustainability in their business models and value chain. Such firms have demonstrated that they understand the investor community’s needs for long-term sustainable investment performance and their ambitions for a better world.

Outstanding Company on ESG

These are the corporates that have made our list in the past few years and are continuing on their mission to bring their ESG standards into the next level and one day join their illustrious counterparts and achieve the Icon status. In recognizing them, we look at additional factors such as the quality of management, their business model, growth prospects, financial performance and relative position in their industries.

Creating the Criteria

In recognition of such contributions, Corporate Governance Asia is presenting the “Asian ESG Award - The Best of Asia” to selected companies, based on the following criteria:

• The awardee must have must a previous publicly-acclaimed track record for
corporate governance (This can be in the form of other CG-related awards);
• The awardee must have been involved in a specific publicly-known activity/activities (legislation,
surveys, studies, etc.) directly related to improving or enhancing the standards of corporate governance during the past 12 months;

• The awardee must have implemented significant and specific CG-related reforms
during the past 12 months

Tier 1 – Fundamental practices implemented consistently by the company which reflect a thriving culture of good corporate governance
• Rights of shareholders
• Disclosure and transparency
• Board and management responsibilities, discipline/nomination

• Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Practices

• Role of Stakeholders

 

Tier 2 – Reflects the additional items that enhance the robustness of the assessment of companies that go beyond the items in Tier 1 by incorporating a series of other emerging best corporate governance practices.

 

• Audit and Remuneration committee
• INEDS and Investor Relations Practices
• Corporate Governance as a business proposition and value creation for the company
• Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Practices
• Ethics and Whistleblowing policies

• Anti-Corruption and Bribery Policies

• Human Rights Policies and Advocacy
• Minority Shareholder Protection

• Women on the Board and Management Policies

 

Principles Behind the Assessment Criteria

  • The criteria should reflect the renowned global principles and internationally recognized best practices in ESG that are applicable to corporates.

  • It should encourage corporates to incorporate higher standards and aspire to greater heights in cultivating a culture of good corporate governance.

  • The coverage should be extensive that enables it to capture the significant components of corporate governance.

  • It should pinpoint the existing gaps in ESG practices among the region’s corporates as well as shed a spotlight on good corporate governance practices.

  • The criteria should be universally applicable throughout the regions different countries.

  • It should be robust to reflect an accurate assessment of the companies’ corporate governance which goes above and beyond the minimum compliance requirements.

Development of the Assessment

Many of the criteria may reflect best practices that go the extra mile past the requirements of national legislation. In addition, it draws from the existing body of work and rankings in the region to guide the inclusion of items in the assessment.

The assessment of corporates is based primarily on information gained from annual reports and corporate websites. Other sources of information are company announcements, circulars, articles of association, minutes of shareholders’ meetings, corporate governance policies, codes of conduct, and sustainability reports. Information that is publicly available is used in the assessment.

Companies interested to participate in this award please follow this link for our annual survey :

http://thebestofasia.org/annual_regional_survey

For those who are keen to send their pitch on categories you are keen to participate you can also send the following :

a) 500 Words description on the areas you have initiated ESG innovation and practices (pls provide link, report, official press release / announcement)

b) 2 Years ESG Report

to this email :

editor@corporategovernanceasia.com

research@corporategovernanceasia.com