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Key Insights on the State of Sustainability Reporting

Key Insights on the State of Sustainability Reporting

Key Insights on the State of Sustainability Reporting

Key Insights on the State of Sustainability Reporting

A Consulting Project Conducted by National University of Singapore (NUS) MBA students with Fuller Academy in partnership with Nandina Partners.

A research was conducted to understand the market insights on the filing requirements for sustainability reporting in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the US, and the UK. Based on research, the report focuses on the different approaches taken by these countries in terms of sustainability reporting and where it is required to be filed.

This research sampled the top 30 companies (by market capitalization) from the exchanges of 5 countries. Information was gathered to determine if Sustainability reporting is mandated, did all companies produce a report, and which frameworks or standards were most predominant. 

Reporting Landscape Across 5 Different Markets

Reporting Landscape Across 5 Different Markets

Overall Key Findings

99% of the companies had available sustainability reports
GRI is the most popular adopted framework followed by UN SDG and then TCFD

Malaysia

In Malaysia, sustainability reporting is a mandatory requirement and is integrated into the annual report. This ensures that sustainability information is easily accessible to stakeholders alongside financial information. 

  • 29 out of the 30 companies reviewed published Sustainability reports. 
  • 3 out of the 29 reports were the same as the parent company’s. 
  • 4 companies did not have separate Sustainability reports, but the data was incorporated in integrated reports or part of the company’s annual report. 

Most companies complied with Bursa Malaysia’s Requirements. FTSE4Good Bursa Malaysia Index supports investors in making ESG investments in Malaysian listed companies; and increases the profile and exposure of companies with leading ESG practices. 

Singapore

In Singapore, sustainability reports are filed as separate reports, not included in the annual report. This approach allows for easy access to stakeholders who are specifically interested in sustainability matters. 

  • All 30 companies reviewed comply with Sustainability reporting in accordance with the SGX Listing rules. 
  • 28 of them publish a separate Sustainability Report while the remaining 2 have Sustainability as a section within the Annual Report. 
  • The most popular framework was GRI, followed by UN SDG and then TCFD. 

Thailand

Thailand follows a similar approach to Malaysia, where sustainability reporting is required to be included in the annual report. This provides a comprehensive overview of the company’s financial performance and sustainability practices. 

  • All of the companies have Sustainability reporting. However, 1 of the companies was excluded from the analysis as one did not report in English. 
  • 20 companies published standalone sustainability reports while the remaining 9 integrated it as part of their annual report (Form 56-1). 
  • Most popular adopted standard was GRI followed by UN SDG and then TCFD (in line with the overall trend).
  • 28 out of 29 companies did materiality assessment. 
  • Thailand has its own sustainability index (THS1I). 26 out of 29 of the companies are listed on this index.

United States (US)

In the United States (US), sustainability reporting is not mandatory. However, there have been proposals to include climate risk disclosures and ESG metrics in filings that require audited financial statements, such as Form 10-K. This indicates a growing recognition of the importance of sustainability information for investors and stakeholders. 

  • 29 out of 30 companies in the NYSE publish Sustainability reports separately from annual reports. 
  • The only company that doesn’t publish is Berkshire Hathaway citing diversified business portfolio as the reason however 9 out of 20 subsidiary companies.
  • The 30 largest market capitalized companies listed in NYSE encompass 8 industries, of which 3 industries – industrials, financials and healthcare – make up about 70% weightage. 
  • SASB is the leading reporting standard followed by TCFD and then GRI. Other standards are IPIECA, UNGC, WEF and UK SER.

United Kingdom (UK)

In the United Kingdom (UK), sustainability reporting is part of the strategic report, which is a section of the annual report. This integrates sustainability information with the overall strategic direction of the company, highlighting its importance in decision making and long-term business success. 

  • All 30 companies reviewed have reported on their ESG performance.
  • Sustainability was mentioned in the Annual Report by all 30 companies. However, one company failed to include sustainability reporting under the Strategic Report section of the Annual Report or use a standalone Strategic Report, which is mandated by regulations.
  • 5 companies produced a standalone Strategic Report that includes sustainability reporting.
  • 25 companies produced a standalone Sustainability Report. The remaining five companies provided sustainability details in their Annual Report.
  • The majority use either GRI or SASB, or both, for their sustainability disclosure. Specifically, 25 companies utilized both frameworks. On a standalone basis, 29 used SASB and 26 used GRI.
  • 29 companies use UNSDG. Of which, 28 have clearly mapped their Material Topics to UN SDGs. 
  • All 30 companies used TCFD for climate-related disclosures and all are in CDP list.

Overall, the filing requirements for sustainability reporting vary across the countries analyzed. While some countries have specific guidelines and mandatory requirements, others are moving towards integrating sustainability information with financial reporting. This reflects the increasing importance of sustainability in business practices and the need for companies to disclose their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) performance to stakeholders. 

Read the full report on the The State of Sustainability Reporting by filling out the form below with your details.

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