To recap, the MAS launched Project Greenprint in December 2020, which aims to harness technology to support green finance in conjunction with the financial industry – establishing data platforms to mobilise capital for green projects, facilitating the acquisition and certification of climate-relevant data, and monitoring the financial industry’s commitments to emissions reductions.
ESGenome is a digital disclosure portal for SGX-listed companies to report on ESG data in a structured and efficient manner, which will facilitate sustainability reporting.
As MAS highlighted in their press release, with multiple sustainability reporting frameworks and guidelines being developed across jurisdictions and the inconsistent manner in which data is being collected, verified and reported, there are significant disclosure challenges resulting in poor ESG data comparability. With the lack of reliable and comparable ESG data still seen as a major obstacle to investors’ ability to redeploy capital at scale to the net zero transition, ESGenome essentially aims to simplify the ESG disclosure process by converting data inputs into different reporting frameworks as required under different jurisdictions and purposes. The intention is to make disclosures by SGX-listed companies more easily accessible by international investors and financial institutions.
It simplifies the disclosure process by using a core set of metrics that is mapped across global standards and frameworks. Companies can carry out their baseline sustainability reporting based on a set of 27 SGX core ESG metrics. Companies can make additional disclosures in line with globally recognised ESG reporting standards and frameworks across more than 3,000 ESG metrics, depending on materiality and their business needs. Companies need only provide a one-time input for each ESG metric – these inputs can be automatically mapped across their selected standards and frameworks to cater to different investor requirements. A sustainability report can be automatically generated from the inputs.
The launch of ESGenome builds on the other initiatives we have seen launched this year under Project Greenprint, for example, the new ESG Registry – ESGpedia – which was launched by Fintech company, Hashstacs Pte Ltd, in May 2022 as a one-stop database that enables financial institutions, corporations and regulators access to companies’ sustainability data across various certification bodies and verified sources (see our previous blog here) or the launch in July 2022 of the Point Carbon Zero Programme as a joint initiative by the MAS and Google Cloud to use climate FinTech solutions to bolster financial sector access to accurate and granular climate-related data (see here).
On 5 October 2022, the MAS also launched the ESG Impact Hub. The ESG Impact Hub essentially provides a physical locality to facilitate the development of technology solutions to support the financial industry’s ESG needs, especially on the data front, and will focus on growing Singapore’s ESG ecosystem in the following areas:
- Growing ESG FinTechs: By facilitating the discovery, scaling and deployment of technology solutions to address ESG needs of corporates and financial institutions;
- Anchoring ESG Enablers: By having knowledge partners, financial institutions and investors organise key ESG initiatives out of the ESG Impact Hub; and
- Supporting ESG Stakeholders: By engaging the ESG Impact Hub community to deploy its programmes and solutions to drive material, quantifiable impacts that support sectoral transition efforts, with particular emphasis on the eight focus sectors identified by the Green Finance Taskforce.
On 10 October 2022, Mr Ravi Menon (Managing Director, MAS) in his keynote speech at Sibos 2022, shared upcoming developments and initiatives for Project Greenprint, including the intention to launch in 2023:
- the Data Orchestrator – which aims to aggregate ESG data from multiple data sources; and
- the Digital Marketplace – which aims to connect ESG technology providers to investors, financial institutions, and corporates, to facilitate partnerships and investments for ESG solutions.
Faced with increasing regulation and scrutiny, Project Greenprint clearly shows how critical compliance tech is to support organisations in monitoring compliance with regulatory obligations and net zero commitments and making the required disclosures.