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Shortlisting the creme de la creme

The official members of the Jury Panel of ACES Awards 2018 share their views on the winners

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(From left) Ronald Daniel Ricaforte Mascarinas, president & GM of Bounty Agro Ventures; Dr Jayanthi Desan, Jury of ACES Awards; Hemant K Batra, chairman of ACES Awards; Shanggari B, CEO of MORS Group; Andrew Bryant, Jury of ACES Awards; Luis Bueno Nieto, Jury of ACES Awards; Jose Jerome R Pascual III, CFO of Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation; and Roshith Rajan, Sodexo,Corporate Responsibility APAC director.

CORPORATE growth is meaningless without excellence, good governance and sustainability. So it is fitting that the ACES Awards honours exemplary business leaders and sustainability advocates across the Asian region, said Hemant K Batra, chairman of the Jury Panel of the ACES Awards.

"Shortlisting the creme de la creme among 280 corporate and individual leaders this year was not only an arduous task but also challenging in many ways - all the candidates were deserving in one respect or the other.

The expert jury panel comprising global thought leaders was given meticulous assistance by a highly professional team of analysts and researchers," said Mr Batra.

Jayanthi Desan, a lead judge at the awards, said that companies with the right structure, process and systems are the ones succeeding today. These organisations also feature leadership that is resilient and focused, even when the benefits of sustainability are not immediately obvious.

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"Companies with the vision and idea towards a sustainable future are those that are disruptive, driven by unlearning conventional exploitative mindsets, with deep consideration of their stakeholders.

Winners of this year's ACES Awards possess these traits, leading by best-practice sustainability strategies, producing responsible and sustainable products and services with a leadership and management structure for integrated implementation," said Dr Desan.

She noted that moving forward, corporate sustainability reporting - also known as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Reporting- will play an increasingly important role as an essential business management tool.

It is a means by which businesses can better understand the impacts of their activities, mitigate risks and identify opportunities.

On the issue of assessing leadership qualities, ACES Awards judge Andrew Bryant said that there are three pillars to consider; "like a three-legged stool that never wobbles".

"You need to look at the leadership style of the founder or the managing board and you need to look at the environment because we are across so many countries, and in so many industries - the environments are so very different. And you have to look at the motivation of the employees.

"So when there is a very good algorithm between its leadership style and the engagement with the employees, which is appropriate to the context, then you have a leadership formula that is working," said Mr Bryant.

In an era of rapid changes spurred by globalisation and universal connectivity, corporations are also beginning to understand the importance of being engaged with the society, said Bueno Nieto, another judge at the ACES Awards.

"Corporations in the past measured economic results and this was enough to stay relevant in the market, but today corporations of all kinds are expected to demonstrate social commitment, both inside and outside of their business," said Mr Nieto.

He added: "The winners of ACES Awards across the Asia region are showing their leadership excellence by committing to this new transformation across the globe; they show a strong commitment to social needs and practise good governance."