SET launches platforms to promote ESG practices
published : 2 May 2022 at 04:30
newspaper section: Business
The Stock Exchange of Thailand (SET) is prioritising the promotion of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) practices and products this year to ensure sustainability and attract a new generation of investors.
Apisak Kiewkarnka, deputy manager and head of finance for the SET, said the bourse had developed a SET-ESG framework focused on fulfilling four specific sustainable development goals: industry innovation and infrastructure, responsible consumption and production, reduced inequality, and climate action.
Under the framework, the SET aims to create purposeful organisations with fair and transparent administration, model business practices, and comfortable working environments for SET employees. These conditions should enhance public financial literacy and assist in alleviating the economic impact from an ageing society and climate change.
Ratwalee Anantananon, assistant manager and head of sustainable business for the SET, said the bourse recognised the importance of developing an infrastructure to create a sustainable finance ecosystem. In particular, she highlighted the need for full transparency from companies and an informed investor base.
Ms Ratwalee said two platforms are in development. The first is the SET ESG Data Platform to make ESG-related data disclosure mandatory for companies. The second is the SET ESG Academy to raise awareness regarding ESG among companies and university students.
Thailand Future Foundation managing director Napat Jatusripitak said young investors are increasingly interested in modern businesses that use technology in production and management to focus on ESG, so the SET must develop in line with global investment trends.
He said the bourse should make investing easier to access, convenient and flexible, while creating new services and products to meet demand. The SET should also retain traditional products as an alternative to new asset classes, which can generate high returns, but also have high risks, said Mr Napat.
Kirida Bhaopichitr, economics research director at Thailand Development Research Institute, said a major global trend in investments is sustainability.
"If Thai businesses don't follow the trend, it will be difficult for these companies to participate in the world economy in the future," said Ms Kirida.
She said international investors have made ESG a high priority. In a BlackRock survey, half of the respondents would only invest in companies that had good compliance on ESG criteria. The other half of respondents were interested in ESG practices and ratings because it demonstrated which companies had better risk management.
Thidasiri Srisamit, deputy managing director of investment management at Kasikorn Asset Management, said there was growing interest from investors and consumers in sustainability as assets invested in ESG exchange-traded funds and exchange-traded products reached a record US$280 billion in 2021.