To push forward the social agenda of environmental, social and governance (ESG) principles, the ESG Positive Impact Awards 2022 seeks to recognise initiatives and efforts by businesses that contribute towards equitable and sustainable development for all.
Earthworm Foundation country head Karl Yen Quek lauded Star Media Group for launching the awards programme. He believes that the event stands out and can help accelerate interest amongst corporate Malaysia to institutionalise ESG in their operations.
“Star Media Group has done well to make the ESG Positive Impact Awards a reality. Companies are looking and building their understanding on what they can do better across the ESG themes. We hope events like this can help inspire companies to dig deep into their values and from there create their own path of sustainable development.
“This is a platform to acknowledge all the hard work; an opportunity to showcase the value created and inspire the others to follow. Be proud of the journey started and humble in continuing to learn and improve further. When you win, we all win,” he opined.
Meanwhile, the Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS) said in a statement that the awards would identify and give recognition to the businesses that have done a great job in adopting the spirit of the ESG in their operations.
It said, “With greater emphasis given on the way they operate in their environment, businesses can thrive more in a sustainable manner.”
Sharing that more and more businesses are using the ESG compass to gauge risks and opportunity growth – in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals – it noted that ESG also helps in encouraging businesses to adopt higher standards of operation.
“When investing and trading in and with developed countries, ESG guidelines play a crucial role in sustaining these ties. With this, policymakers need to take into account recommendations that are ESG-friendly that will benefit businesses, the government as well as the society,” it added.
Eye on people
Touching on the broad range of categories under the social pillar, Earthworm Foundation’s Quek shared the non-profit organisation’s (NGO) hope to see innovations and best practices of companies in upholding the principles reflected in the awards’ scope.
“There are many leaders and creative approaches that we can learn and take inspiration from. Reviewing and sharing all the successful case studies is an important step to reach scale in Malaysia and it has a mutual benefit especially for companies participating and keen observers.
“For Earthworm Foundation, we are particularly keen on the human rights and labour standards category, as we see this as an important area for growth and improvement in Malaysia.
“With the increased scrutiny and expectations of foreign markets, companies in Malaysia must demonstrate their ability to meet the demands and assure the best labour standards are upheld,” he said.
In doing so, companies must continuously advocate the social aspect in ESG within all their operations, alongside the accumulation of knowledge and experience over time.
He explained, “The need to innovate and improve is perpetual and boundaries will have to be explored and broken. The awareness and understanding of the public have grown to be able to discern between creating real value and greenwashing.
“Hence, companies need to embody ESG values and principles at the core and not just follow the trend.”
Tackling urgent issues
IDEAS, on the other hand, pointed out that there are urgent social ESG issues that need to be addressed, particularly in the areas of worker safety, as well as human capital development and management.
“As part of the country’s journey to retain and attract both skilled and unskilled workers, policies related to workers’ rights and development need to be given ample attention to. Adopting laws that are in line with the International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention is a start, but the implementation on the ground needs to be extensive as well, covering all sectors,” it said.
The ESG Positive Impact Awards 2022 is organised by Star Media Group Bhd, with OCBC Bank (Malaysia) Bhd as main sponsor.
Ernst & Young is the advisor of the awards programme, while working partners include ABAC Centre of Excellence, Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) Malaysia, Climate Governance Malaysia, Earthworm Foundation, Green Growth Asia Foundation, Institute for Democracy and Economic Affairs (IDEAS), Malaysia Green Building Council, Malaysian Green Tech and Climate Change Centre, Malaysian Institute of Corporate Governance, Jeffrey Sachs Centre, Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN), as well as the Malaysian Research Accelerator for Technology and Innovation (MRANTI).
Submit now for the ESG Positive Impact 2022 Awards. To find out more, visit https://staresgawards.com.my/.