As businesses face increasing scrutiny of their impact on the world, Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) considerations have risen to the forefront of the corporate strategy. Companies are now actively seeking ways to safeguard and grow their businesses while ensuring they are contributing to the greater good. Furthermore, against the backdrop of a deepening climate crisis, the imperative to advance ESG goals has never been more urgent, pushing organizations to navigate a course aligned with sustainability and social responsibility.
In a landscape where regulations, cultural norms and best practices vary globally, regions find themselves at different stages in contemplating and implementing ESG principles. In the Asia-Pacific region, the ESG framework is evolving and has yet to reach the maturity observed in Europe. Despite this, there’s a notable increase in shareholder engagement as a proactive approach to risk management. Larger organizations in this region are aligning their net zero commitments with government strategies. Furthermore, the focus on diversity, equity and inclusion (DE&I) is gaining ground. Organizations increasingly acknowledge the profound impact DE&I has on overall business and talent strategies, shaping their talent pipelines around these fundamental principles.
Great Strides in Aviation
Hong Kong International Airport (HKIA) has made great strides in recent years toward realizing its ESG ambitions amid the deepening climate crisis. The airport’s achievements in this space have contributed to its remarkable resilience in the face of extreme weather events in recent years. In particular, Airport Authority Hong Kong (AAHK), the statutory body that oversees HKIA, works closely with the airport community—including organizations such as the Hong Kong Observatory—to strengthen its ability to respond to such weather disruptions.
Beyond environmental concerns, HKIA is also focused on addressing social issues through various initiatives. For instance, it established the Hong Kong International Aviation Academy to offer people from all walks of life an opportunity to work in the aviation sector and provides training programs to upskill its staff, thereby building a sustainable talent pipeline for the industry. In terms of corporate governance, even though AAHK may not be a listed company, it prioritizes transparency and accountability, regularly disclosing information in compliance with the Corporate Governance Code issued by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange, as far as it is applicable.
Sustainability and Impact Investing
Within the financial services sector, investors are increasingly in pursuit of solutions that yield both financial returns and positive impacts with the rise of social and environmental challenges. UBS, one of the world’s largest managers of private and institutional wealth, is partnering with its clients to facilitate the mobilization of their capital toward a more sustainable world. The bank places a strong emphasis on the huge potential for strategic sustainable and impact investments across the APAC region.
The way UBS sets about doing this is through a multi-strand approach that integrates sustainability across its clients’ investment, corporate and philanthropic a host of green and climate tech innovations set to revolutionize the opportunities on offer to investors who want to bolster their sustainable portfolios. Among them are new renewable energy management solutions and low-carbon manufacturing materials, which are going to have particular applications within Asia and open up whole new impact investment fronts across the region, the bank says.
Leveraging Technology to Meet Net Zero Goals
In the dynamic landscape of global energy, Malaysia’s PETRONAS is harnessing cutting edge technologies to help the business accomplish its sustainability initiatives at scale. By strategically increasing its technology investment by 60% from 2021, PETRONAS has launched numerous projects, generating substantial value exceeding RM10 billion (US$2.1 billion). The company also continues to leverage its diverse arsenal of technological solutions to drive continuous value creation, enhance customer experiences and amplify purposeful impact.
“Our journey, though ambitious, is navigated with a keen awareness of global complexities. The history of our industry is marked by ever-evolving challenges and volatilities that demand adaptability and strategic agility. We also recognize that technology can address these challenges as well as be a force for good that can drive systemic change, all of which will support PETRONAS’ Net Zero Carbon Emissions 2050 Pathway,” says Aadrin Azly, Vice President for PETRONAS Group Technology & Commercialisation.
Paving the Way Toward Decarbonization
Meanwhile, decarbonization software leader Univers is tackling climate issues, particularly in the built environment, through its innovative solutions. The global technology firm helps enterprises, governments and cities to optimize energy systems and reduce carbon emissions with accurate, reliable and actionable decarbonization data through its comprehensive decarbonization software.
Univers also fosters strategic partnerships with financial institutions, offering companies access to green financing. This critical support empowers businesses to adopt sustainable practices and technologies more feasibly. “These strategic partnerships alleviate the financial challenges of adopting greener practices, accelerating businesses’ sustainable transformation,” says Michael Ding, Global Executive Director of Univers.
As industries evolve and global challenges persist, it’s clear that the journey toward a greener, more inclusive and sustainable world requires a collaborative endeavor.