Themed “Corporate Governance towards Sustainable Development,” this year’s programme encourages businesses to further improve the quality of published information on corporate governance. Norms, transparency, professionalism and creation continue to be the major criteria this year’s programme looks at. Winning the awards or not depends on the way the listed companies publish their information rather than on their business performance.
The awards programme is for all annual reports from enterprises listed on both the Ho Chi Minh Stock Exchange (HoSE) and Hanoi Stock Exchange (HNX). The appropriate entries for selection are those for the 2013 fiscal year, officially announced and submitted on time to the two bourses.
At the ARA launch press conference, VIR’s editor-in-chief Nguyen Anh Tuan said the launch came with two new points for the selection process. For judging in the preliminary round, in-depth judging will go to contents and each content will get their marks in line with patterns, instead of marks for the content headlines as before. The patterns are based on major or subordinate criteria. Those entries without major contents are disqualified.
The second new point was, he said, judging would focus on corporate governance, especially towards sustainable development for the sake of community and society.
The programme also sees changes in marking in the preliminary round. Starting from 2014, this round will have more voice for the final round, with the new proportion being 20 per cent and 80 per cent. The final round will be gauged by the Board of Judges.
The Board of Judges now have five members instead of seven as before, including representatives of World Bank arm International Finance Corporation who will continue to judge in corporate governance.
This year will also see a new award, which is for this year’s theme, thus will go to the entry with the best corporate governance, in addition to the official awards Top 10, Top 30 and Top 50. Meanwhile, the Best Annual Report will be the one with the highest score, including more than half of the criteria winning the highest marks, and, the average point of all criteria be at least 80.
The ARA programme, the seventh edition so far, is co-organized by HoSE and Vietnam Investment Review’s sister publication Dau tu Chung khoan, and sponsored by fund management company Dragon Capital.
Regarding the Sustainability Reporting Awards (SRA) first introduced in 2013, this year’s programme continues to see IFC and Britain-based global body Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in charge. SRA aims at encouraging the listed companies to publicize
information on issues related to the environment and society, as well as to raise awareness of sustainable development associated with environmental social responsibility, thus promoting corporate social responsibility. SRA also serves as homework for the listed companies as Vietnam will soon introduce a law on sustainable development. SRA will include one first prize, one second prize, one third prize, and consolation prizes for integrity, credibility and layout.
HoSE CEO Phan Thi Tuong Tam, head of the organising committee and chief of the Board of Judges, said: “Over the past six years, the ARA programme has been drawing more and more attention from listed companies and the quality of entries improved with the gaps among them narrowed. Therefore, the organising committee has decided to make the said changes.”
She added,” Notably, corporate governance towards sustainable development becomes part of it for the first time ever, together with the introduction of the best corporate governance title. The organising committee expects the listed companies will pay more attention to corporate governance issues, particularly in the current context economic difficulties, so that they could build a firm foundation to deal with the uncertainties, thus able to getting ahead for sustainable development.”
Dominic Scriven, CEO of Dragon Capital, the exclusive sponsor for the program over the past six years, said: “The ARA programme moved to a new phase in 2013 with the introduction of the Sustainability Reporting Awards, and IFC and ACCA taking part. The goal is to promote corporate awareness of their positive impact on the environment and society. This year’s introduction of corporate governance awards will be another milestone.
“I am certain that sustainable development cannot be achieved without good corporate governance. This also assures a perfect incorporation of environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) into their decision making and business strategy,” he added.
Launched in 2008, ARA has increasingly attracted many investors and listed companies. Between 2008 and 2013, the organisers honoured almost 180 reports out of more than 2,400 entries.