100 Thai firms make the sustainability grade

One hundred Thai companies have made the grade as far as pursuing responsible and sustainable development in terms of environmental, social and governance standards, according to the latest annual list released last week by the Thai Pattana Institute, a public organization that promotes corporate social responsibility.
The Thai Pattana Institute, sometimes referred to as Thaipat, established the ESG 100 three years ago. ESG stands for environmental, social and governance and the institute conducts its own certification process to ensure that companies merit inclusion on its list.

Pipat Yodprudtikan, director of the institute, said the list would help investors who are looking to put their money into companies that are responding responsibly to issues such as climate change, workers rights, and are achieving a high degree of transparency.

A company must be profitable, however, to make the list. Companies that have been making progress in addressing environment and social issues but have lost money were not qualified for the ESG 100.

Performance of the companies listed on the ESG100 outpaced the benchmark SET index, with a 236 percent increase over the past five years and a 9.8 percent increase year-to-date. In comparison, the SET index rose by 63 percent for the same five-year period.

This year’s list includes companies from eight important sectors: eight major industries: agriculture and food, consumer products, financial, industry, real estate and construction, resources, services, and technology.

This is the third year that the institute has published the ESG 100, for which it examines all the 656 companies listed on Thailand’s stock exchanges. This year, 24 companies were dropped from the list, while 24 companies were added for the first time, many of which are smaller firms listed on the Market for Alternative Investment, a sister exchange of the Stock Exchange of Thailand that is a home for small and medium size businesses.

“ESG 100 certification is a new type of information disclosure for listed companies that will assist investors looking for sustainable investment combined with financial performance,” Siam Commercial Bank said in a statement upon being named to the list.

Sustainability has become a focus of many large Thai corporations in recent years, and several of the Kingdom’s best-known firms are on the Institute’s ESG 100 list, including Siam Commercial Bank, Advanced Info Service and others.

Many sustainability practices and aspects of its outlook correspond closely to the Sufficiency Economy Philosophy of Thailand’s late monarch King Bhumibol Adulyadej, with which all Thai companies are familiar and many of which have striven to adopt.