Singapore hosts the ASEAN Responsible Business Forum (Source: Inspreneur)

Singapore (VNA)
– The top listed ASEAN companies have been improving their anti-corruption activities over the past two years, according to the Study on Corporate Disclosure on Business Integrity in ASEAN, which was announced at the ASEAN Responsible Business Forum (ARBF) in Singapore on August 27-28.

The study, conducted by the ASEAN CSR Network (ACN) and National University of Singapore (NUS), assesses public disclosure practices on business integrity and anti-corruption programmes within the 50 largest companies in five ASEAN countries – Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, and Thailand.

The listed companies in all five countries achieved an average level of 56 percent in sharing anti-corruption practices, up 11 percent since 2016.

Thailand maintained its lead with the highest proportion of 67 percent, up from 57 percent in 2016. Singapore came second with 55 percent, up 47 percent since 2016.

The Philippines and Malaysia were tied at 53 percent, while Indonesia improved 12 percentage points to achieve a score of 51 percent.
Notably, all the countries’ commitments to anti-corruption increased from 54 percent in 2016 to 70 percent this year. The rate of business leaders committed to preventing corruption had been significantly improved to 38 percent from 18 percent. 

The ARBF drew over 200 delegates that are experts and representatives from public, private, and civil society sectors to promote responsible business practices and cooperation in the region.

Participants discussed business issues to address the major challenges facing ASEAN including business integrity and corruption, finance, small- and medium-sized enterprise (SME) development, and climate change and sustainable environmental development.

Dinh Thi Bich Xuan, a representative from the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), said promoting business integrity is a complicated issue that requires the effort of stakeholders – in which the VCCI plays a key role in bridging businesses with governmental agencies.

Xuan shared that Vietnam is conducting its revisions to the law on anti-corruption, including expanding the scale of adjustment to the private sector. This means that the private sector will play an important role in promoting business integrity, she said.

Also at the forum, the ASEAN Mentorship for Entrepreneurs Network (AMEN) – an initiative from the Philippines’ ASEAN Chairmanship in 2017 – was launched with a view to developing an eco-system to facilitate the operational expansion of SMEs which contribute up to 50 percent to the region’s gross domestic product (GDP) and 19-31 percent to the regional export turnover. The network will provide consultancy and support for SMEs in priority fields such as ditigal economy, trade, industry, and agriculture. –VNA