Asian business leadership in the transition to a sustainable world

Published: 27 Aug 2019
Type: News

Geneva, 27 August 2019: Earlier this month, Peter Bakker, President and CEO of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), embarked on a series of keynotes, high-level meetings and events across South East Asia to empower leadership from Asian businesses in the transition to a sustainable world.

With the support of WBCSD’s Global Network partners in the Asia Pacific region and other regional stakeholders, WBCSD’s Asia Pacific office in Singapore coordinated the visits in the City-State, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

In Singapore, Sunny Verghese, Co-Founder and Group CEO of Olam International and WBCSD Chair, hosted a lunch attended by CEOs of WBCSD member companies and other businesses from Singapore in the banking, finance, transport and energy sectors. The discussions were focused on incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues in the cost of capital.

Peter Bakker and Sunny Verghese further met for a joint interview with Eco-Business to discuss the state of play around business and sustainability in the region.  
In Hong Kong, Peter Bakker met with the Business Environment Council (BEC) and its member companies. Important topics such as decarbonization, sustainable living environments and a vision for future cities were discussed in a CEO luncheon hosted by Richard Lancaster, CEO of CLP and Chairman of BEC.
Insights creating inclusive citizen-centric cities were further discussed during Peter Bakker’s meetings with the Environment Bureau (ENB) and Transport and Housing Bureau (THB) of the Hong Kong SAR government.

The need for a well-developed transportation system, clear policymaking and coordination with the business sector are indispensable elements for the sustainable development of Hong Kong and were therefore the focus of Peter Bakker’s meetings with local stakeholders. He also further emphasized the need to speed up the execution of the city’s long-term goals in reducing emissions and meeting its obligations under the 2015 Paris Agreement.

Additionally, with the support of BEC and BNP Paribas, several one-on-one meetings were held between Peter Bakker and the leadership groups  of companies at the forefront of the sustainability movement in Hong Kong.

In the Philippines, reflections on how sustainability shapes corporate governance and risk management were at the center of the Ayala Integrated Corporate Governance, Risk Management and Sustainability Summit. During his keynote speech at this Summit organized by Ayala Corporation, the first Filipino company to be a member of WBCSD, Peter Bakker stressed the key transformations in sustainable development for the country. He also stressed the need to simplify ‘sustainability’ in order to accelerate actions and elaborated on the impact of integrating sustainability and frameworks like the Sustainable Development Goals in governance and risk management efforts. A summary video of the event is available here.

Additionally, Peter Bakker shared his insights on leadership for sustainable development in Ayala’s latest ‘Point Of View’ video.

Throughout Asia, these high-level meetings and events demonstrated a greater understanding of the opportunities and challenges linked to sustainability in the region, as well as the leadership of Asian businesses for a sustainable future.

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