Putting Hong Kong on the Map for Green and Sustainable Finance
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).
The Future of People Management: ESG as a Workforce Strategy
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.
Going Digital in China
China boasts the world’s largest e-commerce market, driven by a booming population of middle-class citizens with increasing purchasing power, favourable government policies and the rapid development of innovative technologies. The opportunities for businesses in this digital market are vast, but standing out in this crowded space also comes with obstacles.
At a webinar on 11 May, Franck Chevallier, APAC Head of Presales and Solution at Linkbynet, and Olivier Durand, E-commerce Senior Consultant at Clever Age, shed some light on how businesses can navigate the challenges of China's evolving regulations and e-commerce landscape to join this competitive space. They also shared a number of case studies on how foreign companies have successfully established a greater market presence in China through choosing the right strategies for digital infrastructure and hosting.
Brexit in Reality – Tax and Customs: What Businesses Need to Know
Britain’s exit from the E.U. means changes to tax and customs procedures for companies doing business there. Thanks to Nick Heath from the British Consulate-General Hong Kong, Andrew Weir from KPMG and Mark Slade from DHL Global Forwarding for discussing what Brexit means for businesses at our webinar on 6 May. The shared their insights in areas including compliance, audit risk and budget planning, as well as the impact on ecommerce firms and Hong Kong exporters who use Britain as a gateway to the E.U.
Trade with Africa - Things You Need to Know
Most countries in Africa have enjoyed sustained economic growth over the past 15 years, with growth rates often exceeding 5% per year. At the Chamber’s webinar on 5 May, a panel of experts shared their insights into the latest developments in Africa, the potential impacts of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, as well as the challenges and opportunities that their countries are facing.
Skander Negasi, CEO of Trade and Fairs Consulting & Trade and Fairs East Africa, kicked off the event with a presentation on the business environment in Africa. He explained that the continent was home to half of the world's fastest-growing economies in terms of GDP growth. Africa is also poised to keep its position as the world’s youngest continent by 2030, by which time 57% of the population will be under 25 years old, meaning the continent will continue to possess a young workforce and large consumer market ripe for investment. Economic activities will be catalyzed with the AfCFTA, which came into force in 2021 and aims to boost continental trade from 16% to 60%, strengthen industrialization and logistics, and bring African countries into a unified customs bloc.
In the panel discussion that followed, Getachew Regassa, Secretary General of Addis Ababa Chamber of Commerce & Sectoral Associations, told members that Ethiopia was going through a complete economic reform with the private sector spearheading the country’s economic growth. The country was in the process of establishing its first stock market, Regassa said, and changes to its investment laws had liberalized its telecom sector by allowing foreign investors in. Other areas of interest include the digital economy, financial sector, mining and manufacturing.
Dr Erick Rutto, Vice President of the Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, pointed out that Kenya was the largest economy in East Africa and had sustained a GDP growth of 5-6.5% in the past five years. The country has emerged as Africa’s top technology and innovation hub, so much so that it has been dubbed “Silicon Savannah” in recent times. Dr Rutto encouraged members to look into promising sectors such as ICT, healthcare, affordable housing and agritech.
Chime Jude, Executive Director of Trade of the Abuja Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said Nigeria accounts for about half of West Africa’s population, with approximately 202 million people. While it is the largest oil exporter in Africa and has the largest natural gas reserves on the continent, in addition to an abundance of untapped mineral wealth, the Government has made efforts to diversify its economy, so there are opportunities in priority sectors such as mining, agriculture, energy and transportation infrastructure, as well as telecommunications.
Special thanks to Trade and Fairs Consulting & Trade and Fairs East Africa (official representative of Messe Frankfurt) for co-organizing the webinar with us.