THE Securities and Exchange Commission’s (SEC) is “cautiously optimistic” that business institutions in the country can help move the sustainability agenda forward as they are encouraged to adopt sustainable business practices.
In an afternoon GRI-SM ASEAN Sustainability E-Summit webinar session on Thursday, SEC Commissioner Kelvin Lester K. Lee said he is “cautiously optimistic” that the country “might stand a chance” to meet the sustainable development goals by 2030 with all the ongoing initiatives in the financial markets.
For its part, the commission is “encouraging” all publicly listed companies to report on their sustainability practices, the guidelines of which are set in the SEC’s Memorandum Circular No. 4 series of 2019. The SEC said this is part of its mission to make the country’s capital markets one of the best in the Southeast Asian region.
The SEC also plans to make the sustainability reporting mandatory for all companies.
“We are encouraging them, we’re essentially asking them and mandating that they report on their initiatives and if that proceeds in that direction, that’s over 600,000 active corporations in the Philippines,” Mr. Lee said.
“If even some number of that starts to seriously engage in sustainable practices, I believe we can make a dent in the sustainability issues and hopefully help the country meet the sustainability goals,” he added.
The SEC said around 93% of the publicly listed companies have complied with the sustainability reporting this year, up from last year’s 90%.
The commission is also collaborating with the ASEAN Capital Markets Forum to create projects such as an “ASEAN Taxonomy,” which aims to “provide a common language for sustainable finance among the ASEAN states,” among its other initiatives.
“We have some more upcoming rules on the sustainable and responsible investment funds that will be focusing on mutual funds that will be focusing on mutual funds that will engage on ESG-related investments,” Mr. Lee said. “We’re looking at issuing that sometime next year or the year after.” — Keren Concepcion G. Valmonte