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ASIA CORPORATE EXCELLENCE & SUSTAINABILITY AWARDS 2019 SPECIAL FEATURE

ACES go places

Asia's business titans rise to the clarion call of the region's first leadership and sustainability awards

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The ACES Awards 2019 winners - both large and small, national and international - are recognised for their contributions towards making their communities, and the world, a better place to live and work in.

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"Going for an award also helps an organisation develop drive. Gathering data for submission brings different departments together, and as people work together, a realisation is built which underscores something all good business coaches teach: that team trumps the individual all the time." - Hemant K Batra, chairman of the jury panel, ACES Awards.

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"Our differentiated value stems from our sustained and substantial efforts in research and development, with a dedicated research team focusing on understanding the potentials of Asia and the instruments that may aid in boosting Asia's business prominence." - Shanggari Balakrishnan, MORS group chief executive officer.

THE Asia Corporate Excellence & Sustainability Awards (ACES) recognises successful companies and individuals in Asia across two main domains: leadership and corporate social responsibility.

The awards laud the achievements of businesses - both large and small, national and international - for their contributions towards making their communities, and the world, a better place to live and work in.

Through the ACES, companies and their respective leaders are able to connect on a platform where individuals who share the same drive for excellence are able to build connections, and exchange new ideas on how to bring to full effectiveness Asia's best practices for sustainable growth.

To be part of this select group, a business leader or corporation needs to believe in an Asia that is resilient, sustainable, and united, and to work on implementing strategies for forward-thinking leadership, the best practices for human resource management, and socially responsible business ethics.

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The ACES Awards was conceptualised by corporate think tank, the MORS Group.

The MORS Group is managed by a board of directors from diverse backgrounds: serial entrepreneurs with key connections across the globe, academicians, venture capitalists, and technology adventurists.

Its mission is to assist companies, corporate leaders, and eminent industrialists to share a platform to exhibit leadership and sustainability excellence, to learn from market experts across the world, to engage stakeholders and employees in valuable ways, and to embrace a culture of progressive learning.

This is achieved via a series of programmes organised across Asia in progressing phases.

The MORS Group draws on years of industry experience to craft business programmes of value, which help play a role in promoting Asia's sustainable growth.

The ACES Awards was born of the MORS Group vision of gathering likeminded business leaders and organisations together to help make Asia a dynamic, socially responsible business powerhouse.

MORS group chief executive officer Shanggari Balakrishnan explained: "The MORS Group was founded in 2012. Our differentiated value stems from our sustained and substantial efforts in research and development, with a dedicated research team focusing on understanding the potential of Asia and the instruments that may aid in boosting Asia's business prominence.

"To strengthen our core operations and extend our market to new areas, MORS Group continuously integrates with reputable industry players in our various programmes, ultimately to join in our commitment to bring Asia to the world stage."

"Since our inception, we have led the effort to understand the dynamics of Asia, and have developed instruments to propel Asia towards sustainable growth. Our role is to assist companies, corporate leaders, and industrialists to come together to share experiences of leadership and sustainability excellence.

"We do this by learning from market experts across the world about methods with which to engage stakeholders and employees in valuable ways. In this way we can teach companies how to embrace a culture of positive leadership and ethical social responsibility."

Striving for transparency

To this end, the ACES Awards strives for transparency, stellar business practices and impartial judging processes. The Awards has its own jury, drawn from eminent business people from around Asia, who are armed with a stringent checklist of procedures and standard operation protocols.

The jury is tasked to shortlist nominees based on publicly available information, recommendations, research reports and past accolades. They then execute a rigorous evaluation process based on the final submission documentation provided by nominees.

The ACES Awards is open to all companies and individuals with a registered business address in any part of Asia.

In an open-call format, any individual or company who meets the qualifying criteria may submit an official nomination to participate in the Awards.

All programmes nominated for the CSR category must have measured results, a complete project report, backed by a fair level of promotion, and resultant awareness of the public of the program.

Nominees for the Leadership category need to achieve a minimum sales turnover as an entry pre-requisite.

These include a minimum sales turnover of US$300 million for the Industry Champion award; US$200 million for Asia's Most Influential Companies, US$80 million for Asia's Best Performing Companies, US$10 million for Asia's Leading SMEs, and US$2 million for Asia's Most Promising SMEs.

Outstanding Leaders in Asia need a minimum sales turnover of US$50 million to qualify, although financial requirement may be reviewed and/or relaxed by the organisers for certain industries and circumstances.

Distinctly different

The ACES Awards is also distinctly different in that nominations for the Individual Leadership categories of Entrepreneur, Woman and Young Entrepreneur of the Year, as well as Eminent Leaders in Asia are by invitation of the jury or the MORS Group only.

Hemant K Batra, chairman of the jury panel of the ACES Awards, said: "In launching the ACES Awards, we had to outline to ourselves what we were going to accomplish.

"A reputable Awards helps companies realise the level at which their organisation is working. Being part of a well-planned Awards programme like the ACES helps companies get a clearer picture of where they stand among like-minded companies.

"Going for an award also helps an organisation develop drive. Gathering data for submission brings different departments together, and as people work together, a realisation is built which underscores something all good business coaches teach: that team trumps the individual all the time."

Additionally, Mr Batra said, awards like the ACES help deliver third-party validation. "Awards help companies gain perspective by letting an impartial third-party tell them how they are doing vis a vis your peers."

In keeping with the spirit of sustainability which the ACES Awards espouses, ACES 2019 was held at Plaza Athénée on Sept 20, 2019. Plaza Athénée is the first hotel in the world to have received ISO 20121 accreditation for Sustainability Event Management Systems for the planning and delivery of sustainable meetings and events.

The Luxury Collection Hotel, located in the heart of Bangkok's embassy row, is an elegant representation of Thai culture that stands on the site of Kandhavas, the royal palace of HRH Princess Valaya Alongkorn, daughter of King Rama V.