Seven exchanges in six members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) are making steady progress in improving the utility and comparability of sustainability-related disclosures by listed companies in the region.
During the 34th Asean Exchanges CEOs meeting, hosted virtually by the Singapore Exchange Group (SGX Group) on March 29, the exchanges published a comparative table of their sustainability reporting regimes to aid investors in understanding the reporting structures and various approaches adopted by the member exchanges.
Highlights of the comparison include information on the regulatory authority overseeing sustainability reporting rules, sustainability reporting rules coverage and standards/frameworks required, and sustainability reporting resources from member exchanges.
The Asean Exchanges – Bursa Malaysia, Hanoi Stock Exchange, Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange, Indonesia Stock Exchange, Philippine Stock Exchange, SGX Group and The Stock Exchange of Thailand – had set up an ESG Working Group (ESG WG) last year to focus on topical ESG issues that are top of mind for investors.
To address challenges around the availability of consistent and comparable ESG data, the ESG WG performed a comparative study of member exchanges’ sustainability reporting requirements and solicited the views of selected investors and financial institutions across the six countries on the proposal of establishing a voluntary common set of Asean ESG metrics, with the majority largely receptive.
The ESG WG performed a comparative preliminary analysis of ESG metrics recommended for disclosure by listed companies and have aligned on the foundational environmental metrics. It will focus next on aligning on foundational social and governance metrics, in order to develop the first set of draft Asean ESG metrics.
Speaking on behalf of the Asean Exchanges, SGX Group chief executive officer Loh Boon Chye says: “The voluntary common set of Asean ESG metrics are intended to serve as a reference point for, and to improve, ESG disclosure practices by listed companies across Asean. This initiative by the Asean exchanges underscores the importance of comparable, consistent and relevant ESG data which is increasingly being demanded by investors regionally and internationally.”