What you should know about Corporate Responsibility in Asia

Junice Yeo

So what should know about Corporate Responsibility in Asia?

2013 was a year of many corporate responsibility (CR) firsts in Asia. In May, Singapore’s real estate giant CDL became the first company outside of Europe to receive the prestigious International Dilmun Environmental Award for excellence in environmental, health and safety management. Mondelèz International (formerly Kraft) launched a sustainability programme in Indonesia to encourage better and more transparent sourcing, improve cocoa bean quality and raise farmer productivity.

And late in December, Wilmar International, Asia’s leading palm oil company, made a surprising move by declaring that its worldwide operations, including subsidiaries and third-party suppliers, will now commit to a ‘no deforestation, no peat, no exploitation’ policy. CDL, Mondelèz and Wilmar operate in completely different industries, but they have much in common. Firstly, they are large public companies facing tremendous shareholder pressure to deliver growth results. All three have operations in developing countries in Asia. Thirdly, and significantly, these companies are breaking new grounds in CR in Asia, each in their unique way.

Are these practices the sign of a new phenomenon in Asia? Perhaps. Asia’s rich supply of resources, cheap labour and burgeoning middle-class consumer market have made the region a gold mine for companies. However, as companies ramp up their operations in Asia, many fail to institute responsible business mechanisms. The result? Health scandals, water pollution, poor working  conditions, the list continues…

Read the full article in City Developments’ July newsletter, which is available to read on the City Developments Limited website. CDL is one of Singapore’s most high profile major real estate developer, the company is well known for its sustainability reputation.

This article has been written by Karin Laljani, Managing Director and Junice Yeo, Director Southeast Asia at Corporate Citizenship.

A wealth of information on corporate responsibility in Asia can be found in Corporate Citizenships research paper entitled Corporate Responsibility in Singapore: the new competitive advantage.


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