A total of 81 projects and business leaders across Asia were selected as recipients of the Asia Responsible Enterprise Awards 2020 (AREA), which was an increase of 27% from last year. Widely regarded as the gold standard for CSR and sustainability practice, this year’s award ceremony was organized virtually due to the unprecedented global healthcare crisis. A diversity of industries and leading organizations from all over the region received the AREA, demonstrating a continued dedication to responsible business practices despite the pandemic.

Organized by Enterprise Asia, the leading non-governmental organization for responsible entrepreneurship in Asia, the AREA aims to recognize and honor Asian businesses and leaders for championing sustainable and socially responsible business practices. The award categories are Social Empowerment, Investment in People, Health Promotion, Green Leadership, Corporate Governance, Circular Economy Leadership and Responsible Business Leadership. Through the award ceremony, this unique opportunity has provided over 600 attendees to interconnect and celebrate virtually.

According to Richard Tsang, Enterprise Asia’s newly elected president, “the pandemic has forced us to revisit our values and to focus on balancing economic, social and environmental progress as envisioned by the 2030 Agenda and the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDG). Leveraging this moment of crisis, it is important for us to turn the recovery into a real opportunity to do things right for the future.”

Mr Tsang added, “to date, the Asia Responsible Enterprise Awards has seen over 600 successful corporate social responsibility (CSR) projects being highlighted, with millions of communities uplifted and billions of lives touched and saved. The success of these efforts is perhaps best measured in the number of lives touched and saved, communities uplifted, tears of joy shed, and how the future of our children, and their children, are secured. There’s really no better recognition for having contributed to making the world a better place, than the satisfaction of witnessing the difference one has made.”

This year, over 200 submissions across 19 countries were received from organizations across Asia. AREA judges, led by Dr Eugen Chien, former Minister of Environment of the Republic of Taipei, sieved through the submission over a three-month judging period.

According to Dr Chien, “the panel of judges were impressed by the quality and diversity of submissions this year and had the challenging task of evaluating and determining this year’s finalists. The winners are determined not just by their efforts and results, but also by such criteria as effective delineation, nexus to the community, identification of needs, measurability, effectiveness of implementation, ability to reach the target audience, impact, leadership involvement, institutionalization and continuity.”

Dr Chien added, “I am happy that many of the participants this year have put in greater efforts in managing the continuation of their CSR projects. This result in projects that are more sustainable, of greater relevance to the target community, and create greater impact than ever before during this time of crisis.”

Among the notable winning projects were “Colourful Dream” by NIPSEA Management Company Pte. Ltd – commonly known as Nippon Paint, the initiative was conceptualized as Nippon Paint’s CSR program which focuses on education and empowerment of youths and the communities across Asia; the project “Solid and Transparent Corporate Governance Mechanism” by E.SUN Financial Holding Co., Ltd. is to pursue better corporate governance, the Company has a well-designed director election system, which is a fair and open process to ensure an effective management in aspects of board of directors, stakeholders’ interests, and transparency and disclosure; Bangchak Corporation Plc’s “Rak Pan Sook: A Circular Solution for Plastic Waste Issue” project is a public awareness and sustainability project supporting the recycling of used polyethylene terephthalate (PET) bottles and used lubricant containers and turning them into usable products.

The most coveted CSR event in the region – AREA 2020 are supported by official PR partner Two Way Public Relations, supporting organizations – Circular Economy Club, CSRone Taiwan, Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation Malaysia, National Institute of

Entrepreneurship and Innovation (N.I.E.L) Cambodia, Institute for (IGES) Japan, Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy and Vietnam Development.

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