ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) has become a game changer for many companies as the world of business pivots towards sustainability. The focus has heavily shifted towards the more sustainable, more long-term-oriented version of value creation. The stock markets and investors have proven this by the fact that $649 billion was invested in ESG-focused funds globally through the end of November 2021, already up from the $542 billion invested in 2020 and $285 billion in 2019; ESG funds currently make up 10% of all global funds, the latest Refinitiv Lipper data shows. Bloomberg notes further that the MSCI World ESG Leaders’ index has risen 22%, compared with the MSCI World Index’s gain of 15%.
To remain competitive as an Asian financial hub, Singapore companies must ride a seismic shift in capital and embrace the systemic push towards ESG investments. On that account, Enterprise Singapore has set aside up to $180 million for a new programme launched to help local companies develop sustainability capabilities, which will benefit at least 6,000 enterprises over the next four years. Additionally, the Singapore Green Plan 2030 has galvanized interest in sustainability targets and efforts that led to the spike in job offers in the ESG sector which increased by 257% in the last three years between April 2019 to April 2022. The acceleration of ESG job offers in the last three years can also be seen in other Asian markets with Malaysia increasing by 986%, India by 468%, and Hong Kong by 442%; a clear indication that ESG is becoming a governing principle to demonstrate future-readiness, attract new investors and talent as well as build brand equity among consumers.