Chinese A-share listed companies have been improving their environment, social and governance (ESG) disclosures following the Central Government’s pledge to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060.
At a webinar on 20 August, Frederick Chu, Executive Director at Haitong International Asset Management, said that Mainland companies have responded quickly, with most of the Shanghai-Shenzhen CSI 300 Index constituents incorporating ESG reporting voluntarily.
He was joined by Pat Woo, Partner at KPMG China, who explained ESG regulatory developments across the Asia Pacific and Europe. His colleagues Budha Bhattacharya and Kin Yu, respectively Head of Analytics for ESG IQ and Data Analytics Director, provided an introduction to their company’s ESG data platform, which helps identify greenwashing risks.
Members exchanged views with Government officials on the proposed Scheme on Regulation of Disposable Plastic Tableware (Regulation Scheme) at a Chamber webinar on 19 August.
In connection with an ongoing public consultation on the Regulation Scheme, Fong Kin-wa, Assistant Director at the Environmental Protection Department, explained that the Government’s proposals to prohibit the sale and use of single-use plastic tableware were intended to help Hong Kong transition to a “plastic-free” city. His colleague Joanne Yung, Principal Environmental Protection Officer, explained in detail the intended scope and features of the Regulation Scheme, which will be implemented over two phases as from 2025.
In addition to considering the potential dangers of extreme weather, companies should also look at the risks of transitioning to a low carbon economy when formulating a comprehensive climate strategy.
Katie Butterworth, HSBC Chief Operating Officer and Regional Head of Risk Strategy, Asia Pacific Risk, guided members through the process of quantifying the impact of climate change at a webinar on 14 July. She also explained the various tools and methodologies available to companies to take stock and future-proof their assets to mitigate the catastrophic effects of a warming planet.
Peter Reynolds, Partner and Asia Sustainability Lead from Oliver Wyman, who also spoke at the event, provided practical examples of applying climate risk models to such sectors as real estate, shipping, financial services and power supply. He stressed that all businesses would be affected in the global transition to net zero, so there is a compelling need to draw up a long-term corporate strategy on climate change as soon as possible.
Nearly 200 people attended our webinar on 12 May where a distinguished line-up of speakers discussed ways to promote Hong Kong as a premier regional hub for sustainable finance.
Chamber Chairman Peter Wong welcomed Hong Kong Monetary Authority Chief Executive Eddie Yue and the Securities and Futures Commission Chief Executive Officer Ashley Alder, who delivered the keynote remarks.
The first panel included Ellie Tang, Head of Sustainability at New World Development, and Robert Barker, Chief Sustainable Business Officer at BNP Paribas, who spoke respectively on the development of sustainable bonds and the role of the banking sector in helping Hong Kong corporates tap into the global sustainable finance market.
Their fellow panellist Grace Hui, Head of Green and Sustainable Finance of the Markets Division at Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, provided an overview of the Sustainable & Green Exchange (STAGE) platform established by the market operator to create transparency in the local sustainable finance market. She was joined by Nishad Majmudar, Assistant Vice President and Analyst of Sovereign Risk Group at Moody's Investors Service, who explained how governments in the Asia Pacific region helped accelerate the adoption of sustainable finance as well as the challenges they faced.
Dylan Bryant, Co-chair of the Insurance Working Group at the Hong Kong Green Finance Association and David Day, Head of North Asia of Data & Analytics at the London Stock Exchange Group, were among the speakers in the second panel. Bryant provided an insurance and risk management perspective while Day shared his insights on data aggregation in sustainable finance. Amy Lo, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Private Wealth Management Association, was also on hand to speak on the latest sustainable investment trends and talent supply.
The Chamber is grateful to the following organisations for their support of the event: The Asia Securities Industry & Financial Markets Association, the Hong Kong Green Finance Association, the Hong Kong Securities and Investment Institute, and the International Association of CFOs and Corporate Treasurers (China).
Companies that actively pursue ESG (environment, social and governance) policies are more likely to outdo their counterparts in terms of stock market and accounting performance, explained Trey Davis, Executive Compensation Leader at Willis Towers Watson, at a webinar on 11 May. He was discussing the results of an ESG survey conducted by his company. In some cases, Davis added, these companies tied executive performance and pay to sustainability metrics for higher value creation.
Members also heard from Raymond Yau, General Manager for Technical Services and Sustainable Development at Swire Properties, who discussed how his company engages its employees to establish and meet sustainability objectives. Yau explained that by making a concerted and company-wide effort to foster a culture of sustainable development and ESG performance, Swire properties had been successful in attracting Millennials and Gen Z-ers who are keen to work in an impactful, purpose-led and inclusive environment.
Members exchanged views with Government officials on the proposed Producer Responsibility Scheme on Plastic Beverage Containers (PPRS) at a Chamber webinar on 8 April.
In connection with an ongoing public consultation on PPRS, Iris Lee, Assistant Director at the Environmental Protection Department, explained that the Government’s proposed scheme was consistent with its Waste Blueprint for Hong Kong 2035, which is intended to uphold the principle of “polluter pays” and facilitate the creation of a circular economy in the city. Her colleague Stephen Siu, Principal Environmental Protector Officer, then gave more details about the intended scope and features of the scheme.
The officials were joined by Paul Zimmerman, Chairman of Drink Without Waste, a cross-industry working group focused on reducing single-use beverage packing, who stressed the importance of setting a recycling target for PPRS. He also suggested reducing the number of exemptions under the proposed scheme, which would achieve a more meaningful reduction in plastic waste.
The International Maritime Organization has adopted an initial strategy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from ships, with the goal of eventually achieving zero emissions before the end of the century. In light of this, the shipping industry has started to search for viable options, including liquefied natural gas (LNG), to reduce greenhouse gas emission. While LNG is not a carbon-free fuel, it still has a major role to play as a transition option until other zero-carbon solutions become market-ready.
At a webinar on 16 March, Simon Ng, Director (Policy and Research) at the Business Environment Council, identified the benefits of LNG in maritime transport as well as the barriers to its use. He also discussed the developments and prospects for LNG in Hong Kong and beyond. Johnny Wang, Deputy Director, Innovation and Commercial Development at CLP Power Hong Kong, shared that CLP Power and HK Electric have been given the go-ahead to operate an offshore LNG terminal in Hong Kong, which presents a viable additional gas supply option through access to competitive gas supplies from world markets.
Declining biodiversity is one of the many environmental challenges that we must address through international cooperation and public-private partnerships, said President of the Basel Convention COP-15 Osvaldo Alvarez.
Alvarez made his remarks at the virtual Sustainability Submit: Animal, Health and Environment: Biodiversity organized by the Chamber and the Institute of International Sustainable Development on 4 March, during which a panel of experts shared their views on conservation issues.
Chinali Patel, Consul – International Illicit Finance Policy Lead at the British Consulate-General Hong Kong, spoke on the importance of public-private partnerships in combating the illegal wildlife trade. She was joined by Francesco Ricciardi, Environmental Specialist from the Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department at the Asian Development Bank, who provided an overview of the wildlife trafficking situation around the world, including in Hong Kong.
Also on the panel was Andrew Mead, Chief Architect with the MTR Corporation, who shared his company’s approach to protecting biodiversity including plans to build more eco-friendly stations. Bosco Chan, Head of Kadoorie Conservation China Department at Kadoorie Farm & Botanic Garden, was also on hand to share his organization’s conservation projects, including to protect endangered wild cattle in Cambodia and Yunnan Province.
The market for alternative protein is going through a revolution as more and more consumers opt for plant-based meat, egg and dairy products. Today’s plant-based products are superior to their predecessors of yore in terms of taste, texture and nutritional value, and their popularity is also being driven by a growing awareness of sustainability and animal welfare.
At a Chamber webinar on 4 February, Nick Cooney, Founder and Managing Partner at Lever VC, provided an overview of the development of the plant-based protein market, which is projected to grow to US$140 billion by 2030. He also explained that a combination of factors including broad consumer interest and strong government support would propel China into becoming a sizeable market for alternative protein. He was joined by Nick Halla, SVP International at Impossible Foods, who shared the experience of his company in bringing plant-based meat products to market, and which are increasingly available to consumers in Asia including Hong Kong