Kuala Lumpur – More companies in Malaysia should step up and embrace greater transparency and report on their sustainability practices, urged ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants). The global body for professional accountants said commitment to sustainable business practices must begin from the top and should be a key consideration discussed at the Board level, and integrated into the company’s business strategy.
Jennifer Lopez, head of ACCA Malaysia, said: “The focus has shifted away from the conventional profit and loss reporting because investors and stakeholders today demand to know if a company’s performance is sustainable for the longer term. Our research has found this to be true around the world, and for this reason, the ACCA Malaysia Sustainability Reporting Awards (MaSRA) continues to educate Corporate Malaysia on the importance of sustainability reporting.”
The benefits of sustainability reporting to businesses and to their stakeholders are clear. It provides confidence, clarity and certainty. Furthermore, the quality of sustainability reporting will lead to better management and brand protection, greater market share, improved employee retention and bottom line.
The ACCA MaSRA, which started in 2002, has been identifying innovative attempts to communicate corporate sustainability performance and rewarding transparency. Throughout the eleven cycles of this Award, ACCA noted how the overall quality of sustainability report produced by companies in Malaysia has improved year on year.
Past winners of the Awards include Malayan Banking Bhd, Media Prima Bhd, Sime Darby Bhd, Telekom Malaysia Bhd, Nestlé (Malaysia) Bhd, Guinness Anchor Bhd, and many more.
The ACCA MaSRA 2014 is currently open for submission, where the winners will be announced in November 2014. The theme of the Awards this year is ‘Sustainability and Inclusiveness’ to emphasise the need for companies to uphold sustainable workplace practices and policies such as diversity of talent, optimum usage of resources, minimising carbon footprint, contributions towards employees and social welfare as well as conserving the environment.
This year, ACCA welcomes Talent Corporation Malaysia (TalentCorp) and SIDC as strategic partners of the Awards, which is also endorsed by Bursa Malaysia.
Johan Mahmood Merican, CEO of TalentCorp, said: “We’re excited to partner with ACCA on this Awards programme once again to encourage companies to look beyond the dollars and cents and focus on more sustainable matters such as diversity policies and its impact on the bottom line. This is in line with the Prime Minister’s recent call to corporate Malaysia to ensure better representation and inclusiveness in terms of gender, ethnicity and age in their workforce, especially at top management level.”
The ESG Index, announced during the Budget 2014 and the first in Malaysia, aims to provide the marketplace a distinct advantage that will reportedly attract about USD3.4 trillion in socially responsible investments (SRIs) from around the world.
ACCA commends the introduction of the ESG Index in Malaysia to further promote sustainability practices among the public listed companies, but insists that this practise of integrating sustainability into business strategies should be practised by companies both large and small.
“Among the champions of sustainability reporting here in Malaysia, there continues to be significant improvements with new leaders emerging particularly from the SME sector. This is exciting for its shows that Corporate Malaysia as a whole is embracing the need to look beyond the bottom line to monitor how their business impacts the environment and society in which it operates,” said Lopez.
An overview of the Award entries over the years reveals that there is a notable increase in stand-alone sustainability reports, and a significant jump in the number of reports that are being assured, lending more credibility to these reports.
Lopez concludes: “The increasing acceptance for companies to move beyond conventional numbers reporting is a positive step towards Integrated Reporting, which is set to become the way forward for companies to report their financial and sustainability information. Malaysian companies have been in forefront of sustainability reporting in the region; hence as the development of Integrated Reporting progresses globally, Malaysian companies must make efforts to remains as leaders in this ambit of corporate reporting.”
The ACCA MaSRA 2014 is open to companies from any sector, have any type of business and any number of employees. Companies keen to participate have until 31 August 2014 to submit their entries; the results of the Awards will be revealed in November 2014. For more information about the ACCA MaSRA programme, go to www.accaglobal.com/my/masra