Asian FMCG sector lagging on sustainability

A new report by World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) has found that most major Asian consumer goods firms are lagging behind their western counterparts on making their operations and supply chains more sustainable.

Similarly, their investors are also not paying enough attention to environmental risks.

The report analysed sustainability and annual reports from 26 Asian Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) firms to see how they managed the environmental impact of the three most important elements of their operations, namely water use, packaging, and ‘soft commodities’ such as palm oil, sugar, and meat.

According to the findings, the low awareness was evident from companies’ lack of responsible practices such as sourcing certified sustainable commodities and implementing policies requiring a company’s suppliers to reduce their water use, among other things.

“The FMCG sector’s vulnerability to extreme weather events and water and food crises emphasises the need for companies and financiers involved in the sector to better understand and manage such risks” said Ben Ridley, Asia Pacific head of sustainability affairs at Credit Suisse, which sponsored the WWF report.