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ROAD TO RECONCILIATION
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AseanAffairs Magazine September - October 2010
CONTENT • BEYOND ASEAN 
• ASEAN BAZAAR • ASEAN TALK
ASEAN AVIATION • INSIDE OUT
• ASEAN ENERGY • OPINION
• ASEAN TRAVELLER • SAVE OUR PLANET MALYSIA

Thai Prime Minister
Abhisit Vejjajiva

Four months on in the reconciliation process Asean Affairs examines the progress and shortcomings of Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva’s plan to bridge

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MAKING CORPORATIONS SUSTAINABLE

      Steve McCoy is founder of Counterpoint, a sustainability consultancy based in Kuala Lumpur that provides services to corporations, government agencies and nonprofit organizations.

Here he offers insight into his experiences into how firms and other entities approach sustainability issues. One of the more significant drivers triggering (sustainability) action in Asia are the requirements, guidelines and standards put in place by governments and stock exchanges.

In Malaysia, for example, all public listed companies are required to disclose their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities or practices, and those of their subsidiaries, as part of their Listing Requirements. A similar system operates for companies listed on the Australian and Thailand stock exchanges.

Steve McCoy ,Founder and Principal Counterpoint Consulting Sdn Bhd, Malaysia

Many politicians in the region seem to believe that regulation is important for shaping a sustainable development framework, and many companies, as a consequence, naturally prefer to take a wait-and-see approach in anticipation of further legislation. To some extent this reflects a misunderstanding of the role of CSR or corporate sustainability.

There has been, over the past few years, a progressive sensitisation to systems and dynamics of governance beyond government, regulation beyond law, and responsiveness beyond responsibility, with companies learning quickly that these issues are crucial in establishing a brand, influencing its reputation and creating trust beyond the regulatory framework it operates within.

Sometimes they have specific training requests or projects like helping them with their data gathering and reporting or helping them engage their supply chain, but even when they do, conversations often go beyond their initial expectations. This is not surprising because the sustainability or CSR movement is very much a work in progress and there is still much confusion.

I’ve found Daniel Franklin’s (executive editor of The Economist) quote to be a fair assessment on the general state of play: “Many companies pretend that their sustainability strategy runs deeper than it really does. It has become almost obligatory for executives to claim that CSR has become ‘part of the DNA’. In truth, the activities that go under the sustainability banner are a hotchpotch of pet projects, at best, tenuously related to core business.”

At Counterpoint, we feel the difficulty many companies have with incorporating CR into company DNA or relating sustainability initiatives to core business is often a function of the scale of sustainability.

Time frames are longer than business-as-usual expectations, and its scope - ranging from resource security to market share to social equity to biological diversity - can make it difficult to organise thinking and manage interrelated processes. ...............
 

>>PERSONALLY FOR EXAMPLE, I FIND IT DISAPPOINTING WHENEVER I SEE THE SUSTAINABILITY OR CSR PROFILE OF A MULTINATIONAL COMPANY BEING QUITE DIFFERENT IN ASIA TO THE PROFILE THE COMPANY HAS IN, SAY, EUROPE.<<


 

 

 

 

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