L-R: Loh Boon Chye, CEO of SGX, Michael Syn, Senior Managing Director and Head of Equities, SGX, Tan Bin Ru, CEO (Southeast Asia), OneConnect Financial Technology, and Jessica Tan, Co-CEO, Ping An Group, at the signing ceremony of the MOU between OneConnect Financial Technology and SGX to jointly build an environmental, social and governance (ESG) platform.
This collaboration is part of efforts to develop and promote a sustainable ecosystem by raising the quality of ESG disclosures and promoting the application and integration of ESG factors across capital market stakeholders in the long term. The collaboration places OneConnect as the ESG trailblazer of the Asia Pacific region, deploying a suite of tech solutions that establishes a framework and streamlines ESG reporting through specified standard indicators and templates.
The platform will help companies listed on SGX to efficiently manage and make their sustainability disclosures for possible benchmarking more transparent. This may help to improve the standard of overall ESG performance in the long run. The platform will also help overcome common challenges faced by companies and investors when dealing with ESG information. These challenges include lack of comparability, changing investors’ demand, as well as the evolving business landscape and regulations.
Features of the platform will include workflow management systems, report and visualisation modules and an ESG disclosure framework mapping to meet listed companies’ ESG reporting and data processing needs. The partnership will bring together relevant resources such as ESG datasets and domain expertise while adding new functionalities progressively to better serve companies, investors, research analysts and relevant stakeholders.
As an associate and the preferred tech partner of Ping An, OneConnect has teamed up with Ping An to deliver ESG solutions for companies outside of China. Ping An itself is the first company in China to participate in the United Nation’s Principles for Sustainable Insurance framework, and the first insurer in China to be included in the Dow Jones Sustainability Indexes. Ping An has leveraged its "finance + technology" expertise to develop the Ping An AI-ESG Platform to track, measure and monitor its internal ESG performance. Using artificial intelligence, natural language processing technologies and other ESG tools including greenwashing detection and climate value-at-risk asset-repricing models, the Ping An AI-ESG Platform captures and computes the five-year ESG scores of all Chinese A-share companies for its benchmarking and investment-decision making.
Ms Jessica Tan, Co-CEO of Ping An Group, said, “As a champion of ESG, Ping An believes in ‘tech for social good’ where technologies can aptly enable every company to become a responsible corporate citizen. With the development of Ping An’s own artificial intelligence-driven ESG framework in China – we see the synergy in sharing and integrating our expertise in ESG into a platform that can be adopted by other companies, thereby bolstering the ESG culture across Asia Pacific.”
Ms Tan Bin Ru, CEO (SEA), OneConnect Financial Technology, shared, “With ESG taking centre-stage in the global scene, companies are increasingly subject to a set of non-financial reporting of ESG factors to meet investors’ demands and regulatory requirements. This is an opportune time and an esteemed privilege for OneConnect to join hands to develop the ESG platform with SGX. This is a remarkable moment for us to be able to tap on our expertise and work alongside SGX in creating and implementing a robust platform for SGX-listed companies to better their journey on ESG reporting and strengthen their sustainability risk management.”
Mr Michael Syn, Senior Managing Director and Head of Equities, SGX, said, “Investors globally are placing increasing importance on sustainability considerations, leading to significant growth in capital allocated to ESG strategies. As a result, both investors and issuers desire ESG data to be more transparent, standardised and accessible. The data and workflow platform will help SGX-listed companies report with more effective alignment to major disclosure standards. The focus is on a core set of indicators that are quantitative in nature and normalised for comparability. This complements issuers’ materiality-based reporting that are highly specific to each listed company’s business context. For investors, the benefit is more seamless integration of this core set of indicators into their investment strategies and capital allocation across portfolios, lowering the information friction they currently face.”
SGX, as a front-line market regulator, has played an integral part in driving disclosures through rulemaking and capacity building. Mandatory sustainability reporting was implemented in Singapore since 2016. This has been an area of constant progress as international standards continue to be refined. SGX has also been making a bigger push in sustainability with a S$20-million multi-pronged plan to expand its ESG-focused products, services and platforms, as well as to build capacity for the financial ecosystem, strengthen internal capabilities and increase CSR commitments.