Conversations about environmental, social and governance
(ESG) considerations and the area of sustainability have steadily integrated themselves
into corporate boardrooms across Asia.
A recent MSCI 2021 Global Institutional Investor survey
revealed that around 79% of investors in the Asia-Pacific region increased ESG
investments ‘significantly’ or ‘moderately’ in response to the Covid-19 pandemic. Meanwhile,
57% of investors in the region anticipated to have ‘completely’ or ‘to a large
extent’ incorporated ESG questions into their investment analysis and
decision-making procedures by the end of 2021.
Government authorities and business leaders from the continent
have set out to increase awareness and respond to pressing calls from national actors
to set environmental objectives and pursue ‘green’ goals. This has included a
range of activities such as revising corporate governance codes, assigning monetary
values to undesirable practices, and building green bond frameworks. The visible
developments over the last few years indicates that ESG in Asia has firmly moved
beyond being a box-ticking compliance exercise.
However, as a global challenge, there is little success
associated with individual triumphs. Progress measured through a country-by-country
view emphasises the need for more rigorous international guidelines, standardisation,
and adherence to existing frameworks such as the Paris Agreement on Climate
Change and the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. There is
little surprise to see improved channels of communication set up between
national bodies to offer a harmonised response.
In collaboration with legal experts who are closest to the
action, IFLR has produced its inaugural ESG Asia Report to provide an
exclusive insight into how authorities and businesses are responding to the challenges.
The article by PwC Indonesia explains the importance of
international collaboration on ESG framework standardisation, and provides
recommendations on how Indonesia can act to strengthen its own regulatory
In order to develop its ESG efforts, Japan has revised its
corporate governance code. The authors from Oh-Ebashi LPC & Partners discuss
the key changes for the board of directors, and evaluate how sustainability
initiatives can be strengthened. Mori Hamada & Matsumoto’s article examines
the challenges of standardising green bonds in the country and consider how they
are accepted in the Japanese debt capital markets.
Shook Lin & Bok’s article inspects Singapore’s mandatory
ESG disclosures for issuers, financial institutions, companies and suppliers, and
weighs up the associated legal risks. The article from Eng & Co looks at
carbon credits in the island nation and evaluates the practical legal considerations
for businesses acquiring them to offset emissions.
In South Korea, Kim & Chang’s article explores how the
emergence of ESG is related to paradigm shift away from the ‘shareholder supremacy’
approach of corporate management and towards the ‘stakeholder supremacy’
approach. Meanwhile, the article by Yoon & Yang explains how South Korea’s green
goals and levels of legal compliance stacks up against global efforts.
We hope that you enjoy hearing from the legal experts
leading the progression of ESG analysis in IFLR’s first Asia Report.
Senior commercial editor
T: +44 0 7779 8004
Prin Shasiharan drives thought leadership with global legal advisors for IFLR’s insight projects, in addition to managing contributions from partner firms. He has hosted and moderated high-level events involving eminent legal practitioners. He also manages commercial collaborations for other Euromoney brands including The Deal, Managing IP and ITR.
Prin has experience in compliance, financial crime and regulatory roles, and has previously worked for international organisations including the United Nations and the Council of Europe.
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