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Global ESG rules start to bite, positive impact
Singapore outpaces average, regulation catalyst for innovation, improved disclosure
Tom King 14 May 2024

The majority (81%) of companies not subject to the European Union’s Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive, including 79% in Asia-Pacific, intend to partially or fully align their sustainability disclosures with its requirements, according to a recent survey.

Across disciplines, survey respondents nearly unanimously cite complying with new mandates as the most pressing challenge facing reporting teams and the subsequent volume of requirements they must contend with as their top compliance concern, finds the 2024 ESG Practitioner Survey commissioned by software-as-a-service company Workiva. The survey polled more than 2,000 people involved in corporate reporting across Asia, North America and Europe.

Still, the majority of global practitioners also attest to the value in reporting, with 88% agreeing that having a strong environmental, social and governance (ESG) reporting programme will give their organizations a competitive advantage.

Singapore all in

When it comes to the belief that good financial reporting has a positive effect on their companies, Singapore practitioners outpaced the global average.

Almost all respondents in Singapore (97%), against an 84% global average, agree that integrated financial and sustainability data enables better decision-making that can improve a company’s financial performance, and 96% are prioritizing ESG reporting more than they were in previous years.

Meanwhile, all (100%) of Singapore respondents, compared with 88% worldwide, believe integrated reporting will have a positive impact on a company’s long-term value creation, mirroring similar sentiments expressed by institutional investors surveyed in Workiva’s 2024 Executive Benchmark on Integrated Reporting.

In the next three years, 96% of companies in Singapore surveyed plan to allocate more budget to technology for ESG initiatives, believing that technology and data access will play an important role in setting up their reporting practices for long-term success.

Additionally, 87% also intend to undertake digital transformation projects to improve collaboration among reporting teams.

“What struck me from the survey is that regulation is serving as a catalyst for innovation,” says Paul Dickinson, a member of Workiva’s ESG advisory council and the chair of CDP, a non-profit climate assessment group. “Companies are seizing the opportunity to improve their sustainability disclosures, effectively making assured integrated reporting the gold standard in corporate reporting.”

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