In May, the Asian Corporate Governance Association (ACGA), which we are members of, published its latest CG Watch flagship report. We welcome the release of the report, which ranks 12 countries in Asia Pacific (Australia, China, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan and Thailand) on the impact of market stakeholders in promoting corporate governance best practice. The analysis and ensuing recommendations provide a great resource for investors to learn about the governance landscape across the region, including progress in – as well as challenges of– companies’ adoption of more robust governance practices.
Our engagement on corporate governance
At Columbia Threadneedle, we have more than 20 years of experience engaging on corporate governance concerns across Asia Pacific, including the key markets of China, Japan, India and Australia. In the past 18 months, we have engaged 62 companies across the region on a wide range of governance issues, mainly ESG Oversight, Board Independence, Board Diversity, Board Effectiveness and Remuneration.
On ESG Oversight, we have asked companies to develop and implement sustainability management strategies that address key material ESG issues and are linked to their long-term business strategies. We have also pushed for more robust sustainability governance frameworks and improved ESG-related disclosures. For example, in 2020, we engaged ComfortDelGro Corp and asked the company to be more explicit about its program to maximise its contribution toward achievement of the UN SDGs and to set formal targets. We were pleased to see that this year the company has set up a new board-level Sustainability Committee and committed to the Science Based Targets Initiative.