ESG In Practice: A Closer Look at Sustainability in ASEAN’s Palm oil and Pulpwood Sector

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Cover - ESG Report

02 Nov ESG in Practice: A Closer Look at Sustainability in ASEAN’s Palm Oil and Pulpwood Sectors


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The report begins with an analysis of how ESG considerations have developed in the agribusiness and forestry sectors, reviewing the changing demands of customers and financiers, the proliferation of sustainability reporting and rating schemes, and how materiality in ESG should be defined for these sectors. The following sections assess the leading companies’ implementation of environmental, social, and governance practices respectively, highlighting developments and gaps within the ESG landscape, before discussing how these ESG issues are approached by medium-sized companies in the industry. The penultimate section turns to important recent externalities that may impact ESG implementation, such as lower commodity prices and COVID-19.

Finally, the report proposes recommendations to address gaps and better align producers, consumers, financiers, and regulators, in order to collectively pursue robust and realistic standards for sustainability. Efforts are required in four main areas: (1) positive reinforcement for companies raising their ESG standards; (2) promoting sustainable finance; (3) harmonising standards and disclosures; as well as (4) “raising the floor” to help smaller players implement sustainable practices.