Labour Rights & Regulation of Less Concern in Asia | Climate Change & Public Health Dominate

© Ruslan Bardash

2020 was a challenging year like no other in most countries globally and the impact of the Covid19 pandemic will be felt throughout 2021. What also emerged over the past 12 months is that the effect on individuals, economic sectors, countries and regions is very different.

The following questions presented to the audience of the Asian Financial Forum 2021 provided the following result of the poll:

Question 1: Which of the following ESG issues would raise the most concern for businesses in 2021?

50,7 % – Climate change and carbon-related issues
44,9 % – Public health
2,9 % – Product safety
1,4 % – Gender and race equality in the workforce
0 % – Labour rights and regulations

The low priority of labour rights and regulations raises concerns among investors and asset managers who are increasingly asked by legislators and regulators to monitor global supply chains. The zero score for labour rights should not be interpreted as such that labour rights were perfectly managed and of zero concern. Part of the low score is definitely the importance of climate change and public health which of course also a workplace issue.

“Labour rights and regulations
of no concern in 2021”

Asian Financial Forum 2021 Poll

The audience of the Asian Financial Forum 2021 is global with a majority of delegates from Asia (40 % from HK and Mainland China, 1,6 % from United States, 1,1 % from Canada, 0,4 % from UK, 0,3 % from Germany and a further 6,2 % from other Asian countries).

Another question provided much less controversial results:

Question 2: Which of the following sectors would be the most significantly affected by ESG issues in 2021?

36,2 % – Energy and utilities
21,7 % – Consumer goods and services
14,5 % – Financial services
14,5 % – Industrials
8,7 % – Real estate and construction

The focus on energy is not surprising. Important will be the consideration of materiality (see also: Double Materiality and Taxonomies – Internal Assessment vs. External Reporting & Disclosure).

Asian Financial Forum – 18/19 January, 2021