Multinational shift . . .
As more multinational companies are turning to Southeast Asia to base their manufacturing plants or seek suppliers, sustainability-related topics are gaining more attention, especially from non-governmental organizations focused on the environment and human rights. Companies could come under sharp criticism from such groups if they focus only on maximizing profits but lag behind on sustainability issues such as working conditions at factories that make their products.
Room for improvement . . .
Concerns about sustainability have been rising in Asia, especially in South and Southeast Asia. These concerns are not misplaced; in the Global Liveability Index 2019, published this week by The Economist, Dhaka and Karachi are among the 10 least liveable cities. Hanoi is also ranked low among Asian cities, although it has made improvements in all categories over the last year. New Delhi has fallen in the ranking because of downgrades to its environment and stability scores. The Index assesses living conditions across five categories – stability, health care, culture and environment, education, and infrastructure – for 140 cities around the world.
Canada as a model . . .
Initiatives such as the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership, which incorporates environmental and labour protection chapters and of which Canada is a member, could play a new role in mitigating corporate sustainability concerns in Southeast Asia. Canadian cities are also in a good position to share their best practices with their Asian peers; three Canadian cities – Calgary, Toronto, and Vancouver – are among the 10 most liveable cities in the same Index. All three cities excel in health care and education, areas of particular reference for cities in Southeast Asia.
- Nikkei Asian Review: Sustainability takes center stage in Southeast Asia
- The Economist: The Global Liveability Index
- T-Net: City of Vancouver provides annual update on 'Greenest City' initiative