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Evolving ESG: A New Paradigm for Success

The roundtable, titled "Building A More Sustainable Future: Operationalising ESG in the Enterprise," took place on August 23, 2023, at the Fairmont Hotel in Singapore.

Business leaders from diverse industries convened to delve into the critical role Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles play in steering organisations towards responsible growth, fostering innovation, and aligning with the expectations of global markets and society at large.

The event kicked off with insights from Marissa Aliferis, Sustainability Lead and JAPAC Market Maker at Oracle. Marissa emphasised that sustainability is no longer an optional addition to a company's operations but rather an integral aspect that drives value, resilience, and innovation. She underscored the significance of collaborative efforts amongst corporate leaders to integrate sustainability into every facet of business operations, promoting a shift from compliance-driven practices to a holistic value chain approach.
 
Clarity, Transparency, and Effective Data Management: The Cornerstones of Successful ESG Reporting
 
In an era where businesses must navigate an increasingly complex web of societal expectations, regulatory frameworks, and market dynamics, the imperative to embrace sustainability has transcended its traditional role as a corporate responsibility measure. Today, it stands as a strategic imperative—one that holds the power to shape an organisation's reputation, financial performance, and long-term viability. At the recent roundtable event hosted by Oracle, experts converged to discuss the evolving landscape of ESG considerations and shed light on how clarity, transparency, and effective data management have emerged as pivotal strategies for successful ESG reporting.
 
Unveiling Oracle's Sustainability Journey

Marissa also discussed Oracle's sustainability journey, highlighting the company's substantial reduction in carbon footprint achieved through the transition to cloud-based technology. Oracle's commitment to sustainability goes beyond environmental concerns; it encompasses the broader spectrum of people, planet, and profit. This integrated approach reflects a profound shift in corporate ethos, where ESG considerations are deeply embedded within operations, fostering a culture of responsible decision-making.
 
ESG in Supply Chains: Navigating Challenges
 
A panel discussion, moderated by Simon Hyett, Contributing Editor at Singapore Business Review, provided a deeper dive into the intricate landscape of ESG. Panellists, including Marissa Aliferis, Brian Ho Chi Kuen of Deloitte, and Professor Roy Ling of FollowTrade, explored the challenges and opportunities surrounding ESG integration in supply chain operations.
 
The panel acknowledged the intricate balancing act between environmental impact and cost savings in supply chains. Brian highlighted the mounting costs of climate inaction and the importance of partnering with suppliers to navigate the challenges of decarbonisation. Professor Ling emphasised that although ESG strategies may demand upfront investment, the longer-term payoffs in cash flow and shareholder value are substantial.
 
Trust through Transparency: ESG Reporting
 
One of the critical points of the discussion centred on establishing stakeholder trust through effective ESG reporting. Regularly tailored communications, industry participation, third-party assurance, and integrated reporting were identified as essential components in demonstrating commitment and building credibility. The panel emphasised that ESG should be integrated into an organisation's governance and management structure, enabling consistent tracking and monitoring.
 
Staying Ahead: Navigating Evolving ESG Requirements
 
As the event drew to a close, Marissa Aliferis and Brian Ho shared insights into strategies for staying ahead of evolving ESG reporting requirements. Clarity, transparency, and the alignment of investment strategy with ESG initiatives emerged as key themes. Businesses were encouraged to stay informed about regulatory changes, involve relevant stakeholders in ESG discussions, invest in technology for sustainability reporting, and integrate sustainability into the fabric of their organisations.
 
Operationalising ESG: The Road Ahead
 
The discussions culminated in a fireside chat, where attendees examined the challenges organisations face in implementing ESG initiatives and reporting. The complexity of managing data collection across departments and geographies emerged as a common theme. The need for actionable, data-driven insights to facilitate informed decision-making was stressed. Moreover, the transformation towards sustainable practices requires a cultural shift, impacting organisational structures, job roles, and responsibilities. To be prepared, organisations must prioritise workforce planning to secure the skills required for future-proofing their businesses.
 
In an evolving business landscape, the pursuit of a sustainable value chain has become more than a corporate ideal—it is imperative for building resilience, driving innovation, and creating lasting value. This transformation requires leaders to redefine business value, extending beyond profits to encompass people and the planet. As organisations embrace the principles of clarity, transparency, and effective data management, they position themselves to thrive in the ever-changing terrain of ESG.

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