ACCA Malaysia: Adopt sustainability reporting

Source: The Star, 21 June 2005

MALAYSIAN companies need to adopt sustainability reporting to go beyond compliance to corporate governance, said Association of Chartered Certified Accountants Malaysia (ACCA).

Its head, Tay Kay Luan, said that not only will they demonstrate transparency and accountability, communicating such sustainable efforts will bring about competitive advantage required for companies to compete in a changing global landscape.

In line with this, ACCA has released the “Sustainability Reporting Guidelines for Malaysian Companies,” a comprehensive introduction to the subject of sustainability reporting.
Targeting companies and organisations, the report contains the background, components and applications to sustainability reporting, Tay said.

Some of the best practices of published sustainability reports across the world are also provided.

“By embarking on sustainability reporting, Malaysian companies will be demonstrating their willingness to take corporate governance one step further. Sustainability does not only concern environmentalists,” he said.

“Studies have shown companies that practice sustainability reporting are well-perceived and attract more quality investors. Sustainability reporting will help Malaysian companies to be globally benchmarked in their operations,” Tay said.

He added that in Malaysia, public listed companies provided some form of health, safety and environmental disclosures.

However, as structured sustainability reporting among Malaysian companies is still at a nascent stage, ACCA hopes the guidelines will educate Malaysian companies to start sustainable reporting and its best practices, Tay said.

“Some critics claimed that reporting is purely a PR exercise, maybe part of storytelling. But being a responsible company, you have to communicate what you are doing,” he said.

He added that without communication, stakeholders will not be aware of the companies’ work and this will make it more difficult to gain trust or get `licence to operate’.

“So companies need to demonstrate that their involvement is real and produces results. Thus the need to report,” Tay said.

Sustainability Reporting Guidelines for Malaysian Companies is a sequel to the Environmental Reporting Guidelines to Malaysian Companies (2003), published by ACCA.

The guidelines are endorsed by the Securities Commission and the Department of Environment (DOE), Ministry of Natural Resources and the Environment.

As part of the effort to educate Malaysian companies on the need and benefits of sustainability reporting, ACCA and DOE are collaborating on a series of workshops nationwide next month.

The guidelines are available for all Malaysian companies upon request. Send e-mail to jennifer.lopez for a copy of the guidelines or confirm seats at the workshop. – Bernama .