[Review] Diversity in Corporate Asia: How do we improve?

Published on 2016-11-16

On 10 November, the Chamber’s Sustainable Business Focus Group and Financial Services Focus Group welcomed members for a detailed presentation and panel discussion focussed on diversity and inclusion in Asia.


Opening up the morning session, Tristan Edmondson, Partner at Carnstone Asia and Chair of the Sustainable Business Focus Group, provided members with an overview of Carnstone Asia’s recent report, “Diversity in Corporate Asia”. 

Following Tristan’s presentation, Chitra Hepburn, Senior ESG Executive, shared with members her wealth of knowledge on diversity and inclusion. Members were then provided with the opportunity to present their questions to Tristan and Chitra, alongside Vincent Benjamin of Bo Le and Chaochao Chen of Carnstone Asia, during the panel discussion.

Diversity and Inclusion Today

  • Having introduced the methodology, range and results of the Report, Tristan highlighted its five key conclusions:
  • Some companies are performing very well
  • Some companies are doing something whilst others are doing nothing
  • Gender was the most active topic area
  • Sri Lanka was the strongest performer with Singapore being the poorest performer; and
  • Asia should do better

Whilst the outcome of the report indicates that companies should improve their diversity and inclusion outlook, Tristan examined the key complexities involved in bettering Asia’s position.   

With a Western model of diversity and inclusion being incompatible with companies operating in Asia, one key question comes to mind: how can companies then improve their approach to diversity and inclusion?

Moving Forward with Diversity and Inclusion 

Tackling the issue of companies bettering their approach to diversity and inclusion, Chitra provided members with an overview and analysis of the key ways that companies can meet their diversity and inclusion goals.

Assessing the more traditional gradual approaches to diversity and inclusion to the newer advanced methods, Chitra navigated members through six possible strategies:

  • Gradual Liberal
  • Prescribed/Radical
  • Evolving/Transformational
  • Credibility Crunch
  • Millennial Mind-set
  • Exponential Tech and Disruption

With each approach differing in its nature, Chitra explained the important benefits that diversity and inclusion can have to a company’s competitive edge.

Chitra provided members with unique case studies of how companies of all types and sizes have been able to utilise diversity and inclusion to better their economic performance.


Carnstone Asia’s 200 company wide report has enabled Asia to take a step back and assess their performance on diversity and inclusion. How companies react to diversity and inclusion remains to be seen, but with the global economy grows increasingly competitive, the importance of diversity and inclusion is likely to follow suit.