APB and NEA emerged winners at ACCA Singapore Sustainability Reporting Awards 2013
ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants and has been an advocate of sustainability reporting. The awards recognise companies and organisations in Singapore for their excellence in environmental, social and sustainability reporting, and aim to encourage more sustainability reporting and corporate transparency.
This year’s awards saw 10 entries, with APB winning the overall winner for Best Sustainability Report, and NEA winning the Best First Time Sustainability Report.
Best Sustainability Report
The judges commented that APB’s report stood out from the rest and clearly showed the company’s sustainability performance and linking it back to their vision, mission and operating process. The report provided a clear and frank picture of APB’s resource use and contained historical data to support their statements on sustainability.
Roland Pirmez, CEO of APB, was happy to be the recipient of the award and added: “We have aligned our sustainability agenda to our corporate values as it makes sense for us to stay true to our business fundamentals as we pursue sustainable development.”
Best First Time Sustainability Report
NEA was the first public organisation to issue a sustainability report and the judges find that it was an excellent effort and deserved to be commended. The key strengths of NEA’s report included detailed disclosure of the stakeholder engagement process and the setting of clear targets for future improvements.
NEA set up a Sustainability Office to oversee and coordinate sustainability efforts, and a key programme was the “8 Effective Habits 10% Challenge” to encourage staff to adopt eight sustainable habits to work towards consumption reduction and nurture an eco-friendly culture.
Andrew Tan, CEO of NEA, shared: “NEA took on the challenge of producing our first sustainability report in 2012 based on GRI guidelines and I believe we are still the first public sector agency to do so. And I hope that a year from now, if not more, there will be more agencies coming on board and we’re not the only one doing this.”
The Business Benefits of Sustainability Reporting in Singapore
During the award presentation, a report on “The Business Benefits of Sustainability Reporting in Singapore” was also released. The report presented the conclusions from a roundtable discussion with experts that include academia, key business decision makers and sustainability professionals, organised by ACCA in January.
The report included 4 key conclusions:
- There is no move towards reporting in Singapore, with companies and stakeholders not pushing for reporting as a practice or goal
- The benefits of reporting are not clearly understood within companies, either by leadership or employees
- There is a skills gap between what is required to create a comprehensive sustainability report and what companies have available and are willing to commit to the task
- While frameworks can be useful for stakeholders, there is confusion over the number and variety of frameworks
The roundtable participants recommended that companies and stakeholders should be educated on the relevance of sustainability issues, and that the process of reporting is integral to the long-term strategic goals of companies. Regulators and companies should also continue to raise awareness of sustainability and the benefits of sustainability reporting.
While the momentum for sustainability reporting in Singapore is slow, there is nevertheless progress in the right direction. Hopefully, the winners of the ACCA Singapore Sustainability Reporting Awards would give more inspiration and be role models for other companies to start on their sustainability reporting journey.