A study of the top 50 listed firms by market cap issued in 2020 and 2021 across 13 Asia-Pacific nations revealed that not even a fifth of them relate ESG performance to how they pay their senior executives.
This is reflected in the findings where only 24% of companies disclosed ESG-related training for their board of directors and only 16% disclosed the linkage of ESG performance to the remuneration of their top executives, according to the study released on Monday by professional services company PwC Singapore and the Centre for Governance and Sustainability (CGS) at the National University of Singapore.
However, some results were encouraging. Over 80% of the companies disclosed their sustainability targets, 75% disclosed their ESG governance structure and 67% disclosed their board of directors’ responsibilities for sustainability.
While the majority of the companies acknowledged the seriousness of climate issues, many have yet to reveal how they embed climate measures in their business operations and strategy. Out of 650 companies analysed, 84% reported identifying climate change as a sustainability issue.
Less than half, at 41%, reported their climate-related risks or opportunities targets and/or disclosed their performance against these targets. Furthermore, only 36% reported how their company is integrating climate-related risks in their overall risk management.
Fang Eu-Lin, Sustainability and Climate Change Leader, PwC Singapore, who leads the firm’s Asia Pacific Centre for Sustainability Excellence in Singapore, said: “Many companies are still in the early years of their ESG journey, and there remains some way to go in keeping pace with maturing stakeholder expectations calling for not just climate action, but climate at the core of the business strategy.”
The top listed firms across Asia Pacific have performed well in disclosing their sustainability targets and responsibilities, stated Professor Lawrence Loh, Director, CGS. The next step would be to increase sustainability training for leaders and employees, as well as to put commitments into action.