Southeast Asian firms have topped the global charts for their “bullish growth prospects” and a deep commitment and accountability towards realizing the United Nations’ sustainability goal even though this commitment needs to translate into implementation and execution, according to HSBC’s survey, ‘Navigator: Now, next and how.’
The survey reveals that 81 percent of the companies in Southeast Asia expect that they would experience business growth. The global average is at 79 percent. About 76 percent of the companies surveyed believed that their organization plays a crucial role in implementing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as opposed to 63 percent of global average.
The combined GDP of the 10 ASEAN countries stood at $ 3 Tn in 2018 which was more than the UK, France, or India. The region has also seen about five percent growth rate over several years.
“ASEAN is home to some of the world’s most bullish businesses--and these high-growth firms are acutely aware that sustainability and commercial goals go hand-in-hand,” said Matthew Lobner, Head of International and Head of Strategy & Planning, Asia-Pacific, HSBC. “It’s very pleasing to see the sense of focus that Southeast Asian firms have towards the UN’s SDGs but must now convert from desire into meaningful action. As investors and governments increase their focus on sustainability, firms need to be focusing on this now.”
As the Southeast Asian countries are disproportionately facing climate change, it is crucial that the governments and businesses focus on driving the sustainability agenda. Some of the ways suggested in the survey include:
- Think both short-term and long-term: When climate change viewed through the long-term lens, it seems like a far-off challenge, however, when the goal is broken down into short-term steps, the impact is immediate and urgent.
- Think holistic: It is not only about external activities but also internal transformations to the way your organization sources materials, packages and ships products to measuring the company readiness for the change. Incorporating green and social issues into the business so that investment decisions are also made keeping the sustainability goals in mind, is the need of the hour.
- Global interconnectedness: The impact of rising sea levels is not only restricted to the snow-covered nations, but also have a direct impact on businesses across the world.
- Staying informed: As with any business change, technological evolution and green innovations are also picking up pace. Keeping yourself updated on these regulatory changes, sustainable financing options, dynamically changing investor and customer expectations. Keeping abreast with new innovations can help drive profits, boost reputation, and at the same time crack the code of achieving sustainable development.
- Lead by example: In an era where businesses are trying to tackle climate change consequences, companies that think out of the box and hold themselves accountable would be the leaders who would impact the rest of the organizations.
“Sustainability is intrinsic to driving value and helping to secure the long-term viability of businesses, and failure to act now could severely hamper Singapore’s growth opportunity,” said Tony Cripps, HSBC Singapore’s CEO, HSBC. “While encouraging progress has been made, the next five years are a critical timeframe for businesses to ensure that sustainability is embedded throughout their whole business and that of their value chain.”