ACCA MaSRA, Malaysia’s longest running sustainability awards, saw an increase in entries by 20% for 2017 and an overall improvement in the quality of reporting.

By Sreerema Banoo

For the second consecutive year, Sime Darby took the crown for Best Overall Reporting in the ACCA Malaysia Sustainability Reporting Awards (ACCA MaSRA) 2017 – impressing the judges with its innovative handling of sustainability.

Malayan Banking emerged first runner-up for the second year in a row, while Axiata Group took third place. The Best Sustainability Reporting Award for non-plcs went to Fuji Xerox Asia Pacific’s Malaysia operations, with CIMB Group Holdings taking home the accolade for Best Workplace Practices. Commendation awards went to (Innovation), Sunway Construction Group (Knowledge Management), and Cenviro (Circular Economy). United Plantations, meanwhile, clinched the Commendation Award for biodiversity – new for 2017. The award is sponsored by WWF-Malaysia, which is partnering with ACCA for the first time.

Selvarany Rasiah, Chief Commercial Officer of Bursa Malaysia, said that there was an improvement in the quality of reporting and greater technical content, especially in first-time entries. ACCA MaSRA 2017 received 59 entries, up 20% from 49 in the previous year.

“Organisations were more consistent and structured in their approach, setting their sustainability goals in line with Bursa Malaysia’s global sustainability reporting standards and frameworks,” she said. ACCA MaSRA 2017’s judging panel also comprised Anil Joshi Hari Chand, General Manager and Head of the Law Reform department, Office of the General Counsel, Securities Commission Malaysia; Johan Mahmood Merican, Deputy Director General (Human Capital), Economic Planning Unit; Shareen Shariza Abdul Ghani, CEO, Talent Corporation Malaysia (TalentCorp); Sharifatu Laila Syed Ali, CEO, ValueCap; Thiagarajan Nadeson, Head of Education and Markets, WWF-Malaysia; and Lya Rahman, General Manager, Minority Shareholder Watchdog Group.

The judging criteria was in line with Bursa Malaysia’s Sustainability Reporting Framework, namely organisational context, stakeholder inclusion, materiality, scope, governance, strategy, management process, performance, assurance and communication.

John Lelliott, Chair of the ACCA Global Sustainability Forum and former CFO of The Crown Estate in the UK, gave a special address at the ceremony. “From the growing threat of climate change to the impact of technology and a better understanding of value creation, the deepening of sustainability reporting is redrawing the risk and opportunity roadmap for business,” he said.

Introduced in 2002, the ACCA MaSRA is the longest running awards of its kind in the country. ACCA Malaysia Advisory Committee President Dato’ Merina Abu Tahir noted that when the awards were launched, the concept of sustainability was still in its infancy in Malaysia. “Few companies understood the value of sustainability reporting,” she recalled. “Over the years, we have witnessed the growing acceptance and understanding of sustainability reporting as more companies participated in our awards.”

“We also observed an increasing number of companies in Malaysia demonstrating accountability and strategic drive that is at par with international practices or better,” she said. “MaSRA has become a key platform for supporting organisations in improving their quality of reporting and increasing the overall standard of sustainability reporting.”

“ACCA’s efforts are motivated by our strong belief that accountants and finance professionals need to play an active role in providing viable solutions to our global sustainability challenges,” she said. “We strive to promote transparency and best practice, and to help businesses realise the importance of sustainability.”

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