PwC Malaysia recently announced that it had selected 20 public-listed companies as finalists for this year’s Building Trust Awards. The awards recognise companies that are making efforts to build trust among their stakeholders.
The winner of the awards will be revealed on Sept 6.
The top 20 are Alliance Financial Group Bhd, Astro Malaysia Holdings Bhd, Axiata Group Bhd, CIMB Group Holdings Bhd, DiGi.Com Bhd, Fraser & Neave Holdings Bhd, Gamuda Bhd, IHH Healthcare Bhd, Malakoff Corp Bhd, Malayan Banking Bhd, Maxis Bhd, Nestlé (M) Bhd, PETRONAS,Public Bank Bhd, Sime Darby Bhd, SP Setia Bhd, Tenaga Nasional Bhd, Telekom Malaysia Bhd, Westports Holdings Bhd and YTL Corp Bhd.
In making the announcement, PwC Malaysia managing partner Sridharan Nair says businesses should take up the responsibility of developing and building trust for customers and investors alike in a world where there is an increasing erosion of trust.
He believes that trust — an ongoing journey — can be measured and be a real asset to businesses. This is one of the reasons why PwC is running its Building Trust Awards for the second time in September 2017 after the launch in 2015.
In a press statement last Friday, Sridharan says: “The Building Trust Awards 2017 reinforces our belief that in this climate of diminished trust, there is a real opportunity for Malaysian businesses to take the lead in rebuilding some of that trust.”
In an interview with The Edge, Sridharan, better known as Sri, speaks about the methodology behind PwC’s Building Trust Awards, which focuses on the top public-listed companies in Malaysia.
“We do not open up the awards for nominations or submissions. Instead, we look at the top 50 largest public-listed companies in Malaysia based on market capitalisation. The reason for choosing public-listed companies (at this point in time) is because there is more information available and it is publicly accessible,” he says.
PwC then uses the International Integrated Reporting (IR) framework to shortlist the top 20 finalists from the initial list of 50 companies.
“The IR framework was developed by the International Integrated Reporting Council — a global coalition of regulators, investors, companies, standard setters, the accounting profession and non-governmental organisations.”
“When we consider the top 50 companies, we look through their annual reports and benchmark how they report and communicate about themselves against the IR framework,” Sri says.
“The IR framework proposes a more holistic style of reporting that aims to go beyond discussing a company’s financials. It considers how the company creates value as a whole, and how it engages the public.”
Sri explains that the 20 finalists are then assessed on public perception of them, with two different perspectives for the judges to consider.
He says PwC Malaysia will partner with PwC UK, which uses its Trustworthy Organisation Model (TOM) built over years of research and testing, to develop a “trust profile” of the companies.
“We work with our UK firm to apply its TOM to our 20 finalists. The TOM gathers digital conversations — in both English and Malay — from over three million sources [including social media sites, online news, blogs and forums] to find conversations which are trust-related for each of these companies. This way, we can understand public opinion of each of the finalists.”
Sri says PwC is conducting an online public poll from May 5 to 19 to provide another perspective on trust for the judges to consider. The objective of the poll is to get an indication of the public perception of the 20 finalists. (To participate, please visit http://bit.ly/btapoll2017)
“The different perspectives are presented to our independent judging panel, which will meet and deliberate to decide on the winner,” he says.
“Our panel comprises men and women who are well-respected, seen as influencers, have high credentials in their respective fields and bring a diversity of experience to the judging process.”
The four judges are Sir David Tweedie (chairman of the Board of Trustees of the International Valuation Standards Council and former chairman of the International Accounting Standards Board); Tan Sri Dr Zeti Akhtar Aziz (former Bank Negara Malaysia governor and currently co-chair of the Board of Governors, Asia School of Business); Tan Sri Dr Jemilah Mahmood (Under Secretary-General for Partnerships at the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies); and Faris H Hadad-Zervos (World Bank country manager for Malaysia).
In the May 5 press statement, Tweedie says: “I am very encouraged by PwC’s efforts to build on its existing body of research by having conversations with various stakeholders — business leaders, young professionals, students and the public — as part of its larger Building Trust programme.
“This demonstrates that the trust agenda has grown beyond just the awards, shaping how the wider society views trust as an important asset to business that can be both managed and protected in these extraordinary times.”
Sri says, given that many businesses transact with people on a daily basis, they have the opportunity to develop and build trust with the public.
“We live in a global environment where trust levels are at one of their lowest ever. Businesses should take on the mantle to fill that void and lead the discussion on building trust.
“Building trust is not easy and it is not something you can do overnight. It has to be thought through and is a long-term process.”
He points out that the discussion on trust should not be limited to corporate or business circles but should be extended to the public and youth, who are the future leaders.
“As [American magnate] Warren Buffet once said, ‘I learned to go into business with only people whom I like, I trust, and I admire’. So, it is clear that if you do not trust someone, you cannot do business with them,” Sri adds.
For more information on the PwC Building Trust Awards 2017, visit www.pwc.com/my/bta
The Edge is the media partner for the PwC Building Trust Awards 2017