Celebrating corporate transparency in sustainability reporting
By NINA TI
In a dazzling tour de force at this year’s ACCA Malaysia Sustainability Reporting Awards (ACCA MaSRA), seven organisations were unveiled as champions of corporate transparency – based on how they had communicated their sustainability performance.
More than 200 business leaders and guests attended the highly-anticipated ceremony on Dec 1, 2015, to celebrate the naming of this year’s winners out of a field of 51 participating companies.
The ACCA MaSRA honours companies that demonstrate the highest standards in not only sustainability reporting but primarily in sustainability practices.
This year, the awards applauded organisations that had integrated the core elements of sustainability reporting – environmental, economic and social – into their strategy and value chain.
A 11-person judging panel chaired by Goh Ching Yin, executive director of Securities Commission Malaysia, examined the annual reports of each participant to determine which ones had put sustainable and inclusive growth at the heart of their culture, and gave merit to those who reported their practices with the highest level of disclosure.
Deliberations by the judges focused on criteria outlined in the green growth agenda within the 11th Malaysia Plan, which aims to shift sustainability from a narrow focus on natural assets to wider production processes.
Surpassing all expectations
The ACCA MaSRA is the longest-running sustainability reporting awards in the country. Since 2002, these awards have championed corporate social responsibility and sustainability in Malaysia.
In his keynote address during the award-giving ceremony, Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Abdul Wahid Omar said: “The winners of the ACCA MaSRA have clearly demonstrated that profitability and sustainability need not be mutually exclusive.
“In fact, organisations that embrace inclusivity (including diversity) and sustainability, which are key components of the New Economic Model, have proven to perform better than their competitors in the long run.”
In 2013, ACCA in partnership with Talent Corporation Malaysia (TalentCorp), introduced a new category of Best Workplace Practices to further align the awards to the rapidly evolving needs of Malaysian businesses in today’s global economy.
What are the aims of the ACCA MaSRA 2015?
- Encourage the uptake of sustainability reporting
- Give recognition to those organisations which report and disclose full sustainability information, including environmental, economic and social matters
- Raise awareness of corporate transparency issues
Best workplace practices
Winner – PwC Malaysia
In collaboration with TalentCorp, ACCA awarded the Best Workplace Practices Award to PwC Malaysia for their continuous effort in ensuring a diverse and inclusive workplace policy and practices in terms of gender and age, and also in promoting family-friendly practices.
TalentCorp chief executive officer (CEO) and judging panel member Johan Mahmood Merican attributed the win to a strong diversity and inclusion policy within PwC Malaysia.
He said: “PwC’s report is our choice for showcasing best workplace practices. Women in PwC’s senior management positions exceed the national target of 30%, which clearly shows that the organisation walks the talk. Its achievements are not accidental as it is supported by initiatives to enhance inclusiveness like mentoring programmes, extending maternity leave to three months, enhancing flexible work arrangements and targeting women to rejoin the workforce.”
Best sustainability report
Overall Winner – Axiata Group Bhd
Axiata Group Bhd added another feather to its cap when it was named the overall champion of the ACCA MaSRA 2015 Awards.
The organisation’s submitted report impressed the judges for the level of disclosure, which was seen to be robust and showed a good understanding of sustainability-related risks in its business operations across various countries, each with its different sustainability reporting requirements.
According to Goh Ching Yin, chairman of the judging panel of ACCA MaSRA 2015 and executive director of market development, Securities Commission Malaysia: “Axiata came out on top this year due to its ability to link its long-term and short-term sustainability goals and plans to Axiata’s core business.
“It was interesting to note how the report extended to cover the sustainability initiatives of its regional offices. The report also had a good identification of materiality analysis and stakeholder engagement.”
Beyond reporting, Axiata Group Bhd had also put in place policies and practices for not only its Malaysia operations but the group as a whole to ensure sustainable practices are adopted globally.
Joint runner-up – DiGi.Com Bhd
“DiGi.Com’s report sent a clear message that sustainability was at the core of the organisation’s business strategy, as reflected in its CEO’s statement and a set of sustainability policies that were in place. Apart from adopting a structured and consistent approach in assessing its material sustainability issues, the organisation also made an all-out effort by monitoring and reporting a set of KPIs to the DiGi Board of Directors and its parent company, on a quarterly or annual basis.” – Selvarany Rasiah, chief regulatory officer, Bursa Malaysia
Joint runner-up – Nestlé (M) Bhd
“Nestlé’s report was thorough, benchmarking against GRI requirements. Key points were referenced, the report attractively presented and it possessed good signposting throughout the entire report.
“Nestlé showed that it really understands lifecycle thinking and has done a lot to innovate within the business. Nestlé’s global sustainability policies are well translated in its Malaysia operations and this is evident in all its reports.” – Thiagarajan Nadeson, head of market & education, WWF Malaysia
Best first-time stand alone sustainability report
Winner – Sime Darby Property Bhd
“Sime Darby Property’s sustainability report showcased the good things they are doing in terms of making townships more sustainable. It was also the only one which reported on corruption issues and the measures taken. It was quite transparent to that extent and provided a very clear overview of sustainability-related risks. The fact that it developed a sustainability index was also a positive from our perspective.” – Rita Benoy Bushon, chief executive officer, Minority Shareholder Watchdog Group (MSWG)
Best sustainability reporting in SMEs
Winner – Nets Printwork Sdn Bhd
“Nets Printwork has a good understanding of sustainability and its management is committed towards the adoption of sustainable practice. It is very important for the report to convey what drives sustainability, and it is clear for Nets Printwork that being sustainable and doing business are one and the same. For SMEs, the drive comes from the people at the top, and their aspirations are clearly seen in the company’s operation and principles.” – Sharifatu Laila Syed Ali, chief executive officer, ValueCap Sdn Bhd
Best reporting within an annual report
Winner – Sime Darby Bhd
“Even though Sime Darby highlighted the decrease of 27% in lost time injury frequency rate, it was transparent in reporting the 12 fatalities and seven permanent disabilities that occurred in 2014. The company was also able to pinpoint the causes of those incidents and responded by holding training programmes to address high-risk activities. The company was also transparent in disclosing major delays and issues in its operating countries.” – Salleh Hassan, director of Examinations & CPE and Corporate Governance, Securities Industry Development Corp (SIDC).