Hong Kong, 22 September 2015 － Business Environment Council Limited 商界環保協會有限公司 (“BEC”) made a submission to the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (“HKEx”) on 17 September 2015 in response to the Consultation Paper on Review of the Environmental, Social and Governance Reporting Guide (“the Guide”). BEC supports the HKEx’s proposed changes to the Guide with the aim of strengthening environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) disclosure requirements and encouraging more widespread and standardised ESG reporting amongst issuers.
BEC recognises the value of ESG disclosure in helping companies manage their social and environmental impacts, improve operating efficiency and natural resource stewardship, as well as enhancing engagement with their shareholders, employees, and other key stakeholders.
BEC believes that the HKEx can create powerful incentives for issuers to measure and publicly disclose their ESG performance by incorporating clear ESG disclosure requirements into its listing rules. BEC applauds HKEx’s efforts at promoting a more harmonised approach to sustainability reporting by referencing international standards and reflecting global regulatory trends. This added consistency and comparability will add value to ESG disclosures for investors and other stakeholders.
BEC considers it essential to allow companies to focus on issues that are significant to their operations and are aligned with their business. As such, BEC supports a “comply or explain” model of mandatory disclosure and welcomes the flexibility for issuers in deciding on which aspects to report on, particularly emphasising the need to report on aspects that are “material” to the company and its stakeholders.
BEC supports HKEx in taking a strong and active leadership position on this issue and bringing Hong Kong in-line with rising international standards, by following through with its planned amendments to the listing rules. BEC looks forward to further collaborating with the HKEx in continually improving the quality and quantity of ESG disclosure in Hong Kong. BEC will also continue to provide training to issuers in disclosing their ESG performance through BEC Institute of Environmental Education.
Full version of BEC’s submission to the HKEx dated 17 September 2015 can be accessed at BEC’s website at http://bec.org.hk/files/images/Resource_Centre/Submission/HKEx_Consultation_Response_final.pdf.
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