In a keynote speech delivered by the SGX Chief Executive, Magnus Bocker, at the environmental, social and governance ("ESG") summit RI Asia 2013 on 19 March 2013, Mr Bocker acknowledged the growing trend in Asian markets towards more stringent ESG standards. In line with the Singapore government's long-term policy of a sustainable economy, and SGX's continuing pursuit of leading international financial and regulatory standards, SGX has indicated that it will increase its efforts and introduce new initiatives to raise the level of sustainability reporting amongst listed companies in Singapore.

SGX's proposals will build on its 'Sustainability Reporting Guide' which it introduced in 2011, after a recent study carried out in partnership with KPMG revealed that only a very limited number of Singapore-listed companies are presently disclosing any substantive sustainability information. Non-financial data, including sustainability data, is expected play an increasingly important role in capital markets over the next few years, and SGX is proposing to adopt a 'comply or explain' approach to encourage greater disclosure of sustainability data, similar to the approach taken by the existing Singapore Code of Corporate Governance.

Further details are available on the SGX's website. We will follow the progress of the SGX proposals, and issue further updates in due course.