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New ESG platform aims to benefit local firms

A new eco-community-based platform aimed to help small to medium size enterprises realise their sustainability goals  launched on Jan. 22.

The platform, ESG One, was unveiled at ForeSight 2024, an annual event organised by the Hong Kong Productivity Council.

Local SME representatives at Foresight 2024

“The newly launched ESG One is an ecosphere that provides guidance and services and enables SMEs to share information and resources at all levels,” said Mohamed Butt, the Chief Executive Officer of the HKPC in his opening speech at ForeSight 2024. “ESG is now crucial for corporate strategy and a key indicator of a company's value and prospects in today's business environment,” he added.

The Hong Kong Stock Exchange, has been actively promoting Environmental, Social, and Governance, in its bid to make the city a green finance trading centre. 

On its website, HKEx states its policy of enhancing “ the transparency of sustainable financial products, improving supply information and opening up opportunities to promote the development of sustainable finance in Asia.”

Butt pointed out HKPC has been providing  ESG services to local enterprises over the past ten years

Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Joseph Chan Ho-lim said SMEs have not yet reaped the full benefits of these ESG initiatives.

He said "SMEs would face numerous obstacles in implementing ESG, such as a lack of resources, especially after the three-year epidemic."

As of September 2023, over 360,000 small and medium-sized enterprises operated in Hong Kong, making up over 98% of all business establishments in the region and creating jobs for over 1.2 million people, according to the government.

In this context, encouraging ESG practices among SMEs is crucial to the region's long-term economic viability, according to Butt.

At the forum, leaders from different industries discussed and exchanged ideas on how to promote ESG practices in SMEs.

Law Ka-chun, the President of China Light and Power Company Syndicate, suggested uniting Hong Kong's forces to help SMEs reduce carbon in their supply chains and meet customer needs. 

Law (far right) shared insights on the ESG planning for SMEs at ForeSight2024

"SMEs have their expertise. We should encourage them to make use of their respective strengths and wisdom, provide technical support for carbon reduction where appropriate,  walk with them, and join hands to build emission reduction programmes," he said.

Choi Wun-hing, the Chief Executive Officer of Chinachem Group, used the Central Market as an example to demonstrate that the practice of a good ESG programme can “provide opportunities for SMEs, meet environmental sustainability requirements, and be enjoyed by the public”.

The launch of the ESG One at Foresight 2024

According to Butt, the brand new ESG One community circle will initially be dedicated to providing services for SMEs to create excellence and value.

The platform will also contribute to supporting companies achieve digital transformation and implement their green finance strategy, according to HKPC.

However, some entrepreneurs expressed confusion about the ESG One platform.

“Whether ESG has any admission criteria for enterprises, whether the information resources circulating amongst them are reliable, and how the government can regulate the operation of this platform,I still have no answer,” said Joyce Leung of an internet-based medical start-up.

《The Young Reporter》

The Young Reporter (TYR) started as a newspaper in 1969. Today, it is published across multiple media platforms and updated constantly to bring the latest news and analyses to its readers.


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