The evolution of ESG disclosure requirements in Hong Kong 香港ESG匯報要求的演化

Environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues are not simply a matter of compliance, but of certain weight whereby investors are actually putting ESG factors into their investment decisions. Due to growing concerns over climate change, investors are demanding more information about companies’ ESG approaches alongside financial data.


Hong Kong, being the world leading global financial center, is not doing well when it comes to ESG disclosure. Listed issuers over the past years have been generally doing a box-ticking exercise aimed at meeting the “comply or explain” provisions of the HKEX ESG Reporting Guide (Appendix 27 of Main Board Listing Rules). With an original intention to enhance issuers’ transparency on non-financial risks, so as to allow informed investment decisions, many of the ESG reports sadly were not up to HKEX’s expectations.


Despite the help of the ESG Reporting Guide, companies tend to observe what is required but not recommended. These recommendations often relate to equally significant ESG issues and addressing these would unquestionably add more value to the ESG report. Hence, companies’ mindsets have to be changed in a way that ESG risks could be accurately and seriously addressed, so as to publish reports that are truly valuable to investors. The board thus plays an important role in driving effective ESG risk management and facilitating external and internal assessment of the actual impacts brought by ESG risks on their business.


環境、社會和治理(ESG)不僅是合規問題,其亦對投資者是否做出投資有一定指示意義。投資者實際上亦逐漸將ESG因素納入其投資決策當中。基於對氣候變化的擔憂日益增加,他們開始更加重視公司的ESG方案以至財務數據。


香港作為全球領先的金融中心,在ESG披露方面的表現並不理想。過去幾年,大多數上市發行人一般都只是旨在達到香港交易所ESG報告指南(主板上市規則附錄27)的“遵守或解釋”條款方框。雖然最初目的是為了提高發行人對非資金風險的透明度,以便讓投資者做出明智的投資決策,遺憾地,許多ESG報告卻達不到香港交易所的預期要求。


儘管有港交所的ESG報告指引,許多公司只對指引中的“必需”條款亦步亦趨,並無跟從港交所的ESG報告的“建議”條款。這些建議條款往往都與“必需”條款有著同樣的重要性,而解決這些問題毫無疑問將會為ESG報告帶來更多價值。因此,公司必須改變思維方式,努力認真地解決ESG問題,以發布一份對投資者有真正意義的報告。因此,董事會擔任重要的角色,應推動有效的ESG風險管理政策,同時評估ESG風險對業務帶來的內、外部實際影響。

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