Progressive companies in Asia are taking significant steps to address pressing issues facing the world today. Whether it be reducing carbon emissions or bridging knowledge gaps, these initiatives display how companies go beyond what is expected of them to make a positive impact on society. We at Asset Benchmark Research (ABR) are pleased to undertake the task of evaluating a number of submissions from corporates that highlight such efforts.
As in previous years, many companies have focused on reducing greenhouse gas emissions as part of their overall environmental strategy. For example, Infosys, as part of its quality-of-life offset programme, provided 15,000 families with improved cook stoves (ICS) to help cut carbon emissions of rural communities in India. New World Development’s Creating Shared Value Lease (CSV Lease) rewards tenants in Hong Kong that adopt environmentally and socially sustainable practices such as energy-saving initiatives.
Biodiversity is another area of focus, such as in the case of ICTSI, which is supporting wildlife protection in the Philippine island of Palawan by engaging with local authorities and communities to fight illegal wildlife trading. In a similar fashion, Fubon Life is working with the Society of Wilderness to conduct surveys of major waterways in central and northern Taiwan in an effort to reduce water pollution.
Moreover, social initiatives are equally prevalent with education and training being the core themes of several companies looking to improve the livelihood of communities. Adani Transmission Limited, through its Saksham initiative, has sought to improve the lives of poor women in India by providing them with technical skills to make them more self-reliant.
UOB’s My Digital Space aims to bridge the digital divide for disadvantaged children across the region. The programme hopes to build digitally inclusive communities in preparation for a digital future. In the Philippines, Metro Pacific Investments’ “Puhunang Pangkabuhayan” (capital for livelihood) provides alternative livelihood programmes for communities severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.
Another Philippine company, RCBC, has launched the DiskarTech app to provide digital access to banking services for unbanked households in grassroots communities. It is one of the few applications that cater to regional languages in the country, providing interface in Taglish and Cebuano.
Several companies also stand out with their diversity and inclusion initiatives. Fubon Financial Holdings’ Forging a Happy, Healthy, Friendly Workplace shows how employers can better motivate their staff with progressive and sound policies. These include providing sufficient childbirth/childcare subsidies and fairly comfortable maternity leave for mothers.
Another Taiwanese bank, CTBC, supports the career development and wellness of employees through its Employee Empowerment programme. Through a series of channels such as CTBC eCollege and happiness seminars, the initiative enables staff to craft their own development journey, focusing on areas such as human rights training, for instance.
Infosys’ Diversity Equality Inclusion policy seeks to ensure a working environment free of discrimination and harassment. It has developed a special leadership programme that fosters the growth of its diverse talent pool.
As in previous years, innovation is another major theme of forward-looking companies. This year ABR is pleased to recognize the efforts of China Communication Services towards technological innovation. Its Smart Water Conservancy Cloud Sharing Platform makes use of remote sensing, unmanned aircraft and unmanned vessels to identify areas with high flooding risk and map out the best route for evacuation.
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