Businesses in Asia Yet to See Value From Sustainability Strategies: Report

Recent research by Oxford Economics and SAP has revealed work remains to be done to drive value from sustainability for businesses in Asia.

While 66% of businesses do not think it’s difficult to be sustainable and profitable at the same time, just 8% say they receive significant value from their sustainability strategies today. 

According to the report authors, this may be because many organisations remain disconnected from sustainability plans and actions.

On average, 60% of businesses have a clearly communicated sustainability plan, with Japan leading at 68% whilst Indonesia scored lowest at 46%.

Only 20% in the region have incentivised leaders based on its success and less than half (44%) say their employees are active participants in their sustainability efforts, with the highest in India at 52%, followed by Singapore at 51% and the lowest in Malaysia at 33%.

Key Driver

From the research, data disclosed that regulatory mandates are one of the key drivers of sustainability strategies, with Singapore leading at 74%, 60% for Indonesia and 52% for Malaysia. 

Organisations therefore may need to refocus on their strategies to achieve greater value and benefit from sustainability.

Compliance is the main benefit companies derive from sustainability (46%), ahead of reduced carbon emissions, with Indonesia scoring the highest at 56%, Singapore at 43% and the lowest for Malaysia at 39%.

However too much focus on compliance is the second biggest sustainability challenge for businesses (26%), only behind reinventing business strategy, with the highest score attained by Singapore 32%, Indonesia 27% and the lowest being Malaysia at 23%. 

“It is an encouraging sign that businesses across South East Asia are increasingly mindful of sustainability practices along their entire supply chain, including those of their suppliers,” said Verena Siow, President and Managing Director, SAP South East Asia.

“There is no time to waste to move beyond strategy and to achieve real, tangible results. In three years, almost a third of businesses expect significant value from their sustainability strategy and we believe that with the right focus, this number can be even higher.”

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