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Temasek's Stewardship Asia Centre begins study on APAC boards' role in driving ESG

Involving the Singapore Institute of Directors and 12 others, the study examines board-level responsibilities in driving ESG.

A new research study involving the Singapore Institute of Directors (SID) aims to shed light on board-level responsibilities in driving environmental and social sustainability agendas in their organisations.

The ongoing study, curated by Stewardship Asia Centre (SAC), involves 13 institutions across 12 Asia Pacific countries. Titled “Creating a collective better future: the role of boards”, the study will collate and analyse inputs from board leaders across Asia Pacific via interviews and an online survey that began on Aug 31.

According to the SAC, the study aims to determine the key challenges board leaders face when driving the sustainability agenda in their organisations, potential ways adopted to circumvent these barriers and their roles in championing a collective better future for stakeholders and shareholders.

The 13 partners include The Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA); Board Stewardship Inc., India; Directors Australia; Institute of Corporate Directors (ICD), Philippines; Institute of Corporate Directors Malaysia (ICDM); and the Indonesian Institute for Corporate Directorship (IICD).

Participating boards also include the Japan Association for CFOs (JACFO); Kerridge & Partners, New Zealand; Pakistan Institute of Corporate Governance (PICG); SID; Singapore Management University (SMU) — Executive Development; The Sri Lanka Institute of Directors (SLID); and Vietnam Institute of Directors (VIOD).

The research report is expected to be completed in 1Q2024, says SAC in a Sept 12 press release.

SAC is a non-profit organisation established by Temasek Holdings in 2014.

“Since governance, sustainability and leadership are deeply intertwined, the senior-most leadership group in any organisation — the board of directors — must lead in guiding, helping and sometimes nudging the management teams to curate a compelling sustainability agenda,” says Sunil Puri, senior vice president, research and engagement at SAC.

He adds: “To make a tangible difference, boards not only need the right skill set and toolset but, most importantly, a mindset of ‘doing well and doing good’ deeply rooted in the purpose and values of the organisation. SAC is excited to collaborate with like-minded partners in Asia Pacific to explore the role of boards in driving the sustainability agenda.”

Boards play a pivotal role in driving sustainability and must lead with a vision that transcends profits and embraces responsibility for the planet and society, says Terence Quek, CEO of SID. “By advancing their knowledge and skill sets and staying agile, directors can guide organisations toward a sustainable future, where governance ensures that economic success incorporates environmental and social wellbeing.”

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