Singapore has made remarkable progress in recent years in the realm of corporate sustainability reporting. As a leading business hub in Asia, the city-state has set high standards for transparency and accountability. In this article, we delve into the various aspects of Singapore’s sustainability reporting practices, the challenges faced by companies, and the impact these practices have had on businesses and investors.

Singapore’s Sustainability Reporting Framework

In 2016, the Singapore Exchange (SGX) introduced mandatory sustainability reporting for listed companies, requiring them to comply with the “comply or explain” approach. This means that businesses must provide reports on their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices, or explain why they are unable to do so. The goal is to encourage more responsible corporate behavior and promote transparency.

This initiative was launched in response to growing global awareness about the importance of sustainability and the need for businesses to disclose their ESG performance. The SGX guidelines emphasize materiality, which refers to the identification and prioritization of ESG factors that are most relevant to a company’s business operations and stakeholders. Companies are required to report on material ESG factors, including their management approaches, targets, and performance indicators.

The Importance of Sustainability Reporting in Singapore

As a global financial center, Singapore’s sustainability reporting practices play a crucial role in attracting foreign investment and maintaining its reputation as a transparent and responsible market. Furthermore, the growing trend of responsible investing, where investors consider ESG factors in their decision-making, has made sustainability reporting increasingly important for Singapore-based businesses.

By disclosing their ESG performance, companies can attract investments from sustainability-conscious investors and meet the increasing demand for responsible investing. In addition, sustainability reporting helps companies identify areas for improvement, mitigate risks, and enhance their long-term competitiveness in the market. It also provides valuable insights to stakeholders, including customers, employees, and regulators, which can lead to improved decision-making and increased trust in the business.

Key Components of Sustainability Reporting

Sustainability reports in Singapore generally cover three main areas: environmental, social, and governance (ESG). These reports outline the company’s policies and performance concerning sustainability, climate change, waste management, employee relations, diversity and inclusion, and corporate governance, among others. The aim is to provide investors and stakeholders with a comprehensive view of the company’s ESG efforts and impact.

Environmental reporting focuses on a company’s impact on the environment, including energy consumption, greenhouse gas emissions, water usage, and waste management. Companies are expected to outline their efforts to minimize their environmental footprint, such as adopting energy-efficient technologies, reducing waste, and investing in renewable energy.

Social reporting covers a company’s relationship with its employees, customers, suppliers, and the communities in which it operates. This includes issues such as labor practices, employee health and safety, diversity and inclusion, and community engagement. Companies are expected to demonstrate their commitment to responsible labor practices, employee well-being, and social development in the communities they serve.

Governance reporting addresses a company’s corporate governance practices, including board structure, executive compensation, shareholder rights, and risk management. This area focuses on the company’s commitment to ethical business practices, transparency, and accountability to its stakeholders.

Challenges Faced by Singaporean Companies in Sustainability Reporting

Despite the progress made in recent years, some companies in Singapore still face challenges in sustainability reporting. These challenges include:

  • A lack of standardized reporting guidelines: While the SGX provides a general framework for sustainability reporting, there is still some confusion among companies about how to apply these guidelines in practice. This can lead to inconsistencies in the quality and content of reports, making it difficult for stakeholders to compare and evaluate companies’ performance.
  • Limited resources and expertise: Smaller companies and those new to sustainability reporting may lack the necessary resources and expertise to produce comprehensive and accurate reports. They may also struggle to identify material ESG factors relevant to their operations and establish appropriate management strategies and targets.
  • Difficulties in measuring and tracking ESG performance: Companies may face challenges in collecting and analyzing data on their ESG performance, particularly when it comes to quantifying qualitative aspects, such as employee well-being or community engagement. This can make it difficult for companies to set measurable targets and assess their progress over time.

However, the SGX and other organizations are actively working to address these issues and provide guidance to companies in their reporting efforts. Initiatives such as workshops, seminars, and capacity-building programs have been launched to help companies build their sustainability reporting capabilities and adopt best practices in ESG disclosure.

The Future of Sustainability Reporting in Singapore

The future of sustainability reporting in Singapore looks promising. As more investors and stakeholders become aware of the importance of ESG factors in their decision-making processes, businesses in Singapore are expected to improve their reporting practices and strive for greater transparency.

In addition to ongoing efforts by the SGX to enhance reporting guidelines, other initiatives are being introduced to further develop and strengthen sustainability reporting practices in the country. For example, the upcoming ASEAN Corporate Sustainability Summit aims to bring together regional business leaders, policymakers, and experts to share best practices and discuss the future of sustainability in the region.

Moreover, the Singaporean government’s commitment to addressing climate change, as demonstrated by the Singapore Green Plan 2030, is expected to further bolster the importance of sustainability reporting in the country. As Singapore transitions towards a low-carbon and resource-efficient economy, companies will need to adapt their operations and reporting practices to align with these goals.

The new taxonomy objectives:

  • Climate change mitigation
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Protection of ecosystems and biodiversity
  • Promotion of resource resilience and circular economy
  • Pollution prevention and control


In conclusion, Singapore’s sustainability reporting practices have made significant strides in recent years, contributing to the city-state’s reputation as a leading business hub in Asia. As sustainability reporting continues to evolve and become an integral part of corporate decision-making, Singaporean businesses are well-positioned to meet these growing demands and maintain their competitive edge in the global market.

As we move forward, we can anticipate that more businesses in Singapore will adopt robust sustainability reporting practices, leading to increased transparency and accountability. This will not only help businesses attract responsible investment and foster trust among stakeholders but also drive positive change in the broader economy and society. By embracing sustainability reporting, Singaporean companies can demonstrate their commitment to responsible business practices, contributing to a sustainable and prosperous future for all.