Over 90% of listed firms file sustainability reports

Danessa Rivera - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — Over 90 percent of publicly listed companies (PLCs) have submitted sustainability reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) ahead of the 2023 mandatory deadline.

“We would like to note that while this initiative…has been implemented on a comply or explain basis for the last two years, and despite the impact of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we have already had more than a 90 percent compliance rate by publicly listed companies,” SEC commissioner Ephyro Luis Amatong said during the Energy Smart Forum organized by the European Chamber of Commerce of the Philippines (ECCP) - Philippine Energy Efficiency Alliance (PE2) yesterday.

The SEC issued in February 2019 the sustainability reporting guidelines, requiring PLCs to attach the template to their annual reports, but they can provide explanations for items lacking data.

At the time the guidelines were issued, the SEC said sustainability reporting emerged as a common practice for companies globally, with 93 percent of the world’s largest 250 companies and 75 percent of the top 100 companies in 49 countries reporting on sustainability.

But in the Philippines, less than 22 percent of PLCs had published a report on sustainability impacts and performances.

Initially, the guidelines were adopted on a comply or explain approach for the first three years upon implementation.

The first report shall be attached to the 2019 annual report to be submitted in 2020.

This means the SEC sustainability reporting guidelines will become mandatory for the next reporting cycle, which is April 2022 and will be submitted in 2023, Amatong said.

In the guidelines, the SEC said non-compliant PLCs would be penalized for incomplete annual reports.

The sustainability reporting guidelines were intended to help PLCs assess and manage non-financial performance across economic, environmental and social aspects of their organization and enable PLCs to measure and monitor their contributions toward achieving universal targets of sustainability such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals as well as national policies and programs.

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