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SEC, Thaipat Institute launch measures to assess firms' CSR

The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and the Thaipat Institute have launched the Kingdom's first corporate social responsibility (CSR) and anti-corruption progress indicators for Thai listed companies.

The indicators were developed to encourage sustainable development by providing listed companies with means to measure their own success in terms of CSR and anti-corruption efforts while enabling them to showcase these achievements internationally.

"The indicators are similar to odometers in a vehicle, which show you how far you have come, and can be compared to a compass, which can show you where to go in the future. Apart from this, the indicators also made it easier for other people to assess you," Vorapol Socatiyanurak, SEC secretary-general, told a news conference yesterday.

He said listed companies could use the information on their progress on CSR and anti-corruption development to formulate their business strategies, which would enhance their sustainability.

"Good investment is parallel with good deeds because when you do good things, investments will come to you, since investors understand and know where is a safe place to invest and whom they can trust," he said.

Vorapol said the indicators would also make it easier for international metrics such as the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices (DJSI) to assess the performance of Thai listed companies, improving their chance of being invited into the indices.

He said there were currently four Thai listed companies included in the DJSI but last year more than 30 companies from this country were assessed. That is higher than in the past, when around 10 companies from Thailand were being considered by the DJSI each year.

"If we are ready in terms of data [on CSR and anti-corruption] and it is in the system, the DJSI will be able to assess the information and therefore provide us with more opportunity to be invited into the indices," Vorapol said.

Pipat Yodprutikarn, Thaipat Institute director, said the information being used for the CSR and anti-corruption progress indicators was readily available and the results of the assessment would be provided to all registered companies for the first time at the beginning of July.

The evaluations comprise five levels, ranging from the basic to the ultimate level of progress. Each indicator has its own format for evaluation and Pipat expects at least Level 1 assessment results for all listed companies, indicating intent to comply with all relevant laws and regulations with ability to communicate with all stakeholders.

Pipat believes the development of CSR by listed companies in Thailand has been impressive because more and more are paying more attention to the issue. Many of them have gone beyond the stage of considering CSR and are actually implementing such practices.

As for the effort to eliminate corruption, Pipat believes this is moving more slowly because of the lack of participation and encouragement by the government. He believes that the government has a role to play because it is the one in control of regulations and implementation of the law, and it does not help if it is actually part of the problem.


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