KUALA LUMPUR: The Department of Environment has introduced guidelines for companies to voluntarily publicise all eco-friendly actions in their business.
DOE director-general Rosnani Ibarahim said the guidelines would encourage firms to undertake the publicity as their social responsibility towards consumers and stakeholders.
She said the law compelled companies to fulfil certain environmental requirements and the voluntary reporting would publicise the steps they take to fulfil them.
She said this would empower the consumers, giving them a say in how the products they buy are made, and how a company should conduct business.
This will allow consumers with the choice of purchasing ethical products.
Buying ethically will encourage more innovative products and companies while discouraging those that ignore the social and environmental consequences of their action, she said when launching the Environmental Reporting Guidelines for Malaysian Companies yesterday.
The guidelines were compiled with the co-operation of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA).
Rosnani said that most of the companies now undertaking the voluntary reporting were multinational corporations.
We have to see how the companies react to the reporting before thinking about making it compulsory, she said.
ACCA's head of social and environmental issues Rachel Jackson said the guidelines included the benefits of environmental reporting and reporting activities across Asia and Malaysia, what stakeholders look for in the report, best practices and environmental policies.
Investors will want to know if the products are made in a responsible manner. Responsible investors will not buy the products if they were sourced unethically. The report is an effective communication tool to attract investment, she said.
An ACCA survey showed more KLSE mainboard-listed companies are involved in environmental reporting.
From 25 companies doing the reports in 1999, it grew to 35 in 2000, and 40 in 2001. This represented 5.3%, 7% and 7.7% of the listed companies in the three years.
The Industrial Product sector (such as oil and gas, chemicals and manufacture of metals and cement) is the largest sector engaged in environmental reporting, comprising 23% of reporting companies in 1999 and 28% in 2001.
The plantation sector was the second largest, followed by consumer products, trading/ services, construction, infrastructure and properties and finance.
No reporting companies were identified in the mining, technology and hotel sectors.
On the land clearing on an 8ha plot of land formerly part of the Blue Valley Tea Plantation in Cameron Highlands, Rosnani said the stop work order by the district office was still in force.
She said the office had also told the parties responsible for the illegal clearing to rehabilitate the area.
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