Critical Evaluation of Environmental, Social and Governance Disclosures of Malaysian Property and Construction Companies

Main Article Content

Renard Yung Jhien Siew

Abstract

There is an increasing demand from stakeholders for higher transparency on environmental, social and governance (ESG) disclosures. Yet not much is known about the state of sustainability reporting in Malaysia especially in the property and construction industry. This paper aims to fill this gap accordingly. Content analysis of corporate websites, sustainability and annual reports was adopted as the main methodology in this study. Findings show that corporate governance indicators are most reported by Malaysian construction companies compared to other environmental or social indicators. It was also found that details on actual health and safety performance of these companies and the initiatives implemented were largely absent from their reporting. Given the increasing number of rating tools in the capital markets which serve to rank and file companies based on their sustainability disclosures and performance such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) and FTSE4Good Index, it is questionable as to how reliable this can be done for the Malaysian property and construction market. The paper will be useful to construction management practitioners and ESG analysts with a focus on Asian markets.

Article Details

Section
Viewpoints (Peer reviewed)
Author Biography

Renard Yung Jhien Siew, University of New South Wales

Renard is currently a postgraduate teaching fellow and a researcher based at the Centre for Energy and Environmental Markets (CEEM), UNSW. His research interest lies in sustainability/ integrated reporting, ESG research, socially responsible investment (including equities and the property market), climate change, sustainability strategy and green construction for the building/infrastructure sector. Renard did his PhD at UNSW with the support of the Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) Scholarship. In 2013, he was selected as one of 15 international scholars to attend the PhD Academy at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH). He has published in several international refereed journals. In 2014, he won a Highly Commended Paper award for his research publication. He also received his Bachelor of Civil Engineering (First Class Honours) from UNSW under the sponsorship of the Sime Darby Foundation. He was the recipient of the Brookfield Multiplex Engineering Construction Management Prize, Australian Conferences Management Education for Engineers Award, UNSW Postgraduate Research Support Scheme and was on the Dean's List (every consecutive year of study). He was nominated for the MASA-Shell Excellence Award and the International Postgraduate Student of the Year Award by the Council of International Students Australia for outstanding academic, extra-curricular achievements and committment to society.

Professionally, Renard is a Green Star Accredited Professional (Design & As-Built) and has a Certificate in International Auditing (CertIA) as well as the Certificate in International Financial Reporting Systems (CertIFRS). He has worked as a research/teaching assistant at UNSW, been involved in business performance advisory with the Sime Darby Group, ESG/market research analyst with Investing for Charity (I4C) and a management consultant with 180 Degrees. He was also involved in a sustainable ground water resource project in Malaysia during his internship with GHD.