- POSTED: 04 Jan 2014 00:12
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With falling energy prices and corporate responsibility (CR) reporting, sustainability got a boost in 2013.
SINGAPORE: With falling energy prices and corporate responsibility (CR) reporting, sustainability got a boost in 2013.
The year 2013 saw a resurgence in the corporate green revolution.
A rebounding global economy meant going green had little to do with cost, and with more companies jumping on the bandwagon, sustainability became less of a moral obligation and more of a "keeping up with the Joneses."
“A lot of companies have realised that being sustainable is actually a core competitive advantage that you can leverage in the market and it's not only in terms of having better profits, but also in terms of attracting better talent,” said Sharad Somani, head of climate change and sustainability services at KPMG.
That is because many employees want to work for companies that are socially and environmentally responsible.
Also looking for responsibility are shareholders, which led to a hefty jump in the number of companies reporting on corporate responsibility.
In the Asia Pacific region, 71 per cent of large companies are now publishing CR reports, up 22 per cent since 2011, according to the KPMG Survey of Corporate Responsibility Reporting 2013.
“Having said that, it's not perfect… quality of reporting has to improve drastically going forward, and that to my mind is the next step for 2014,” said KPMG's Sharad Somani.
Asia Pacific's surge in CR reporting was mainly due to high growth rates in several countries including Singapore where 80 per cent of companies surveyed are reporting sustainability performance, up from 43 per cent in 2011.
India and Chile also reported high growth rates, with 53 per cent and 46 per cent respectively. Corporate responsibility reporting remains the lowest in the Middle East and Africa at 54 per cent. The KPMG report studied 4,100 companies comprising the 100 largest companies from 41 countries.
On the consumer side of things, the declining price of solar panels meant cheaper energy prices in 2013.
“We've seen a drop in the globalised cost of energy to 15 cents per kilowatt hour, which is substantially lower than the price... two years ago. So that's making solar projects very attractive,” said Kavita Gandhi, executive director at the Sustainable Energy Association of Singapore.
Equally attractive but far less glamorous is the gaining popularity of bio-gas and biomass -- when things like food waste and chicken droppings are converted into energy.
“If we talk about the levelised cost of energy there, that's about 19 cents per kilowatt hour and... if you look at the retail electricity costs we pay today, we pay about 26 cents per kilowatt hour,” said Ms Gandhi.
Looking to 2014, analysts expect consumers to be the big drivers of energy efficiency, using things like phone apps to monitor their consumption and making tweaks to waste less in the new year.