Corporates need to innovate, or die

Asset Benchmark Research announces Best initiatives for 2017 as part of The Asset Corporate Awards

MANAGEMENT Guru Peter Drucker is supposed to have coined the phrase, “innovate or die”. And it could not be more relevant to today’s fast-moving environment in which companies who don’t adapt fail. In the midst of a storm, corporates come in two types: those building shelters, and those building wind turbines. Who are the corporates in this year’s awards shielding themselves from the storm, and who are the ones embracing change?

Asset Benchmark Research (ABR) here announces the Best Initiatives for 2017 in the areas of innovation, social responsibility, environmental responsibility, and diversity and inclusion, as part of The Asset Corporate Awards 2017.

Innovation
This year China Telecom won the award for innovation for its Transformation 3.0 strategy aiming to respond to consumer demand and create new growth drivers. The telecom company is focusing on five emerging areas in their telecom operations, namely their IPTV operation called e-Surfing HD, their third-party payment platform “BestPay”, cloud computing and big data services, as well as promoting an Internet of Things and “Internet Plus” (互联网+) strategy.

Striving to be the most intelligent bank in Taiwan, E.SUN transformed its digital banking service by introducing an artificial intelligence financial advisor AI Chatbot. Given that more than 18 million people in the country use Facebook or Line, E.SUN has taken this opportunity to achieve financial inclusion by integrating their chatbot with these social media platforms to inform customers about mortgages, foreign exchange and credit cards.

Fubon Insurance, the insurance arm of Fubon, another large Taiwanese financial holding company, has launched a fleet risk prevention dashcam to manage and reduce everyday commuting risk. They are applying big data by looking at driving habits as well as forming a hazard map to track which areas in the country are prone to accidents. While the system helps to enhance Fubon’s competitiveness in auto insurance it also encourages better driving habits and a safer environment for those on the road.

ICTSI, the Philippine port management company and one of the top maritime terminal operators, worked with the government to regulate truck traffic going into and out of their terminals in Manila. Previously, container trucks needed to wait anywhere from 10 minutes to 6 hours to pick up or drop off cargo. Last year they launched a Terminal Appointment Booking System (TABS), the first of its kind in the country, to direct terminal traffic.

Thailand’s largest energy company, PTT Public Company won this year by leveraging cross-product innovation in their aim to protect the environment and encourage sustainability. They invented a bio plastic compound from the silverskin of a coffee bean membrane with wide applicability from bins to napkin boxes. The innovation has transformed PTT’s retail business of Amazon café coffee houses and leverages their Research and Technology Institute (RTI). Petroleum and petrochemical researchers undertook this project along with experts from Amazon Café with knowledge of coffee preparation, storage and marketing. The project will enable the reduction of up to 68 tonnes of waste per year, and a reduction of 880 tonnes of carbon dioxide a year.

In line with the environmental objectives of its parent company, PTTEP, PTT’s exploration and production arm, invented a decontamination pig-train device to decommission mercury from the Gulf of Thailand. The concept is expected to be applied to other mercury-rich oil and gas fields in order to make their pipelines free of mercury.

Social responsibility
Six corporates are recognized this year for their social responsibility initiatives. Several take a systematic approach to their community role. CTBC and SMIC use the United Nations’ (UN) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a framework for their charitable activities. Applying the analytical tools of its core business, ICBC has quantified its social contribution at 2.44 yuan per share. Companies also tailor their philanthropic programmes according to their operational experience. For example, since Global Brands is involved in children’s apparel, it prioritizes charities that benefit children and their families. Yuexiu Property and Datang Power are involved in poverty alleviation in communities with which they have contact.

Environmental responsibility
As the United Nations Climate Change Conference gets underway in Bonn, ABR also commends initiatives in environmental protection undertaken by four companies in the region: CTBC, Datang Power, Huaneng Renewables and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation. These companies are rising to the twin challenges of delivering growth while mitigating against environmental damage. The Asian Development Bank warned earlier in the year that if climate change continues unabated the region’s economic future could be threatened. Pollution is also a major health risk with 3.3 million people in Asia dying every year as a result, according to the World Health Organization.

Diversity and inclusion
Increasing public scrutiny of gender and racial diversity at the workplace is driving top management to re-examine corporate policies. Companies are taking a more comprehensive view of the issues behind diversity and inclusion. SMIC, Link REIT, and PTT are awarded for diversity and inclusion. SMIC believes in equal opportunity for all. It trains women for leadership roles and encourages mentoring through a programme led by its senior employees. Meanwhile, diversity is expressed as a board policy at Link REIT.

The company maintains a balanced and diversified workforce through its Board Diversity Policy that looks into diversity and expertise gaps in the boardroom. Another equal-opportunity employer, PTT maintains its programme of promoting women to senior management roles. Two high-performing women have joined its top management committee this year.

 

To view the awardees of The Asset Corporate Awards 2017 – Best Initiatives, please click here.

To view the awardees of The Asset Corporate Awards 2017, please click here.