Losing The First Move in the Net-Zero Competition? Asia-Pacific Region's Sustainability Evaluation: Taiwan overthrown by Singapore and becomes second place
On 25 March, CSRone and the Sinyi School of NCCU College of Commerce jointly published the Taiwan and Asia Pacific Sustainability Analysis and Trend Report. Read the article to know more about the 3 key findings from this year.
CSRone, Taiwan's leading brand in sustainability, and the Sinyi School of NCCU College of Commerce have been publishing the Taiwan and Asia Pacific Sustainability Analysis and Trend Report, a report dedicated to corporate sustainability analysis, every March for ten consecutive years. For the fourth time, the research team compared Asia-Pacific enterprises’ sustainability performance covering 10 countries. The results showed Singapore enterprises’ rapid progress and substantial growth in their ranking, taking first place for the first time, while Taiwan dropped from first to second place compared to last year.
The corporate sustainability evaluation included sustainability information released by the top ten companies in Taiwan, Japan, China, Hong Kong, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, South Korea, and Australia. This report is recognized as the most important reference data by many sustainability organizations both in Taiwan and internationally; it has also received generous support from PricewaterhouseCoopers Sustainability Services Company Ltd. and the Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy (TAISE). The report will be officially released at the 8th International Conference on Sustainability Trends 2022 on March 25, 2022.
This year, the research team used sustainability reports based on the 2021 Forbes Global 2000 leading Asia-Pacific companies and domestic database, and with reference to sustainability practices of professional sustainability organizations and Asian companies, identified a total of eight key sustainability themes (corporate governance, energy saving and carbon emissions reductions, waste management, training & education, employee caring, social investment, human rights and the SDGs) in the three aspects of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) as the analysis indicators. The enterprises' sustainability investment level evaluation is based on the "S-thermometer Analysis" standard, with "mention" being degree 1, "action" being degree 2, "performance" being degree 3, "target" being degree 4, and "improvement" being degree 5. The higher the index, the more comprehensive the issue's management represents.
【1st Key Finding】Asia-Pacific Region's Sustainability Evaluation: Taiwan is overthrown by Singapore and becomes second place
According to the analysis results, the top 5 of the 10 Asia-Pacific countries by S-thermometer Analysis ranking in 2021 are: Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, Australia and South Korea. Among them, India, Singapore and Hong Kong have increased significantly in their sustainable information disclosure scores as compared with previous years. A notable mention is that Singapore has put Taiwan out of the championship position with an average score of 3.71 degrees, receiving first place in the S-thermometer Analysis ranking.
If only focusing on Taiwan enterprises, it can be noted that the overall sustainability disclosure profile of the top 10 companies this year only has a slight increase of 0.06 point as compared to 2020, resulting in its drop in the overall ranking by one position.
【2nd Key Finding】Asia-Pacific "Carbon Disclosure" Evaluation: Taiwan secures position as the top three, but insufficiently discloses key "Carbon Neutrality" information
The global climate crisis is becoming ever more pressing! The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released its latest survey report on February 28, re-emphasizing that if the global temperature increases above 1.5 degree Celsius, the threat to the normal functioning of environmental ecology and human society will also be increased significantly.
In order to further understand the general responses of Asia-Pacific enterprises regarding net-zero and emission reduction, the research team specifically adopted "Internal Carbon Pricing Information", "Carbon Trading Information", "Carbon Neutral Information" and "Carbon Rights Information" as the four carbon disclosure indexes to distinguish the Asia-Pacific enterprises in terms of their information responses and disclosures on carbon issues.
Analysis indicated that "Carbon Neutrality Information" ranks first in the disclosures by Asia-Pacific countries. Yet, closer observation would reveal that despite the fact that in recent years numerous Taiwan enterprises have responded to the initiatives of international organizations and have prepared in advance for carbon emission reduction laws and measures enacted by the local government, with disclosures oriented to “Internal Carbon Pricing Information” (50%), “Carbon Trading Information” (50%) and "Carbon Rights Information" (30%) that ranked amongst the top 3 in the Asia-Pacific countries, rare information has been made on the plans of "Carbon Neutrality" to which great importance has been attached by international community.
CSRone believes that in response to the challenges of climate change and the pandemic in recent years, sustainable development has become a prominent study in the global capital market. ESG remains at highest popularity and has prompted enterprises and organizations to relentlessly join international initiatives and call for "net-zero and emission reduction" commitments. However, Taiwan as an island country, under the move of a mainstream trend urging humans for significant reduction of carbon emission, it is even more necessary to demonstrate to the market and stakeholders its determination to transform through such action plans as “reduction” and “carbon neutrality”.
【3rd Key Finding】Top 3 sustainability issues Asia-Pacific enterprises pay attention to: energy-saving and carbon emission reduction, SDGs, and social investment
The research team found that, the top 3 sustainability issues Asia-Pacific enterprises pay attention to (out of 5 degrees) in 2021 are: "energy-saving and carbon emission reduction", "SDGs", and "social investment", of which "energy-saving and carbon emission reduction" has been the top concern for three consecutive years, and the "SDGs" issue has jumped to second place from eighth place last year.
The extreme weather events derived by global warming has resulted in sufferings of millions of people and several hundreds of billions of losses each year. International organizations and governments have relentlessly evaluated investment and financing options for petrochemical and burning coal, and even accelerated the enactment or tightening of relevant regulations. Located as an important supply chain position of the global industries, Asia-Pacific region’s geographical location is more vulnerable to impacts of extreme weather. Hence, the issue of "energy-saving and carbon emission reduction" was given great concern by the Asia-Pacific enterprises over the past three consecutive years.
It is worth noting that the research team has discovered from the analysis results that the United Nations has officially launched 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and 169 Item Targets since January 1, 2016 to facilitate enterprises accelerate the anchoring of own operational cores and action plans to international sustainability goals as they approach the key checkpoints in 2030. For this reason, the attention on SDGs issue instantly jumped to the second place from the "rarely attended" bottom of last year (2020). The SDGs' average S-thermometer Analysis of enterprises in 10 Asia regions reached 3.46, among which, in particular, Singapore, Australia, Thailand and Japan have the best performance.
[Attachment: Top ten companies in the ten Asian countries]
（Note: The research team solely compared 97 enterprises’ sustainability performance this year as Forbes 2000 shortlisted only 9 companies from Singapore and 8 from Malaysia.）
Photo credit to: Marc Schulte
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