CHINA – 11 March 2019 – Green Council today unveiled a new online evaluation platform — the Sustainability Assessment — for grading corporate environmental, social and governance (ESG) maturity levels.
The innovative platform will allow companies to comprehensively assess their ongoing ESG contributions — recognising and encouraging sustainability practice in the corporate sector. The Sustainability Assessment was developed alongside PwC, which provided technical advice on the development of the system’s framework and methodology.
“The Sustainability Assessment is a great new tool to help companies assess their own ESG practice. What this means is that executives can now accurately evaluate the ESG performance and maturity levels of their organisation in order to make thorough, clear comparisons to past performance — and to consider and make improvements where necessary,” said Green Council CEO Linda Ho.
“Meanwhile, as a standardised assessment and rating system, the Sustainability Assessment can give investors a credible and more transparent overview of the ESG performance of a company, allowing them to make more responsible investment decisions.”
Dozens of business leaders were introduced to the Sustainability Assessment at today’s official launch ceremony and cocktail reception, hosted at The Rotunda, Exchange Square and attended by Katherine Ng, Managing Director, Head of Policy, Listing, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited.
The Sustainability Assessment is a comprehensive ESG performance rating which aims to act as a bridge between firms and investors, by evaluating the maturity levels of companies’ sustainability performance, according to a rigid set of ten principles, considering factors including top management involvement, sustainability strategies, environment impact, employee and customer rights and community contributions.
The tool helps further Green Council’s ongoing goal of promoting sustainability practice to corporations, ultimately leading the way to a greener, more sustainable Hong Kong.
“There is an increasing demand from investors to have access to quality and reliable ESG information to make their risk assessment and investment decisions,” said Sammie Leung, PwC Risk Assurance Partner.
“PwC is delighted to be the technical advisor of the Sustainability Assessment, launched today by the Green Council. The assessment tool is designed to give companies a diagnostic view of how their current ESG practices are doing when compared to market expectations and good practices. The assessment result is aimed at helping companies to better strategise and plan around how to enhance their ESG performance.”
The Sustainability Assessment builds on a growing demand for companies to accurately report ESG measures, in the wake of recent trends set by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Market (HKEx), Global Reporting Initiatives (GRI), and growing international awareness. It will continue to be enhanced and updated over time to match the growing regulatory expectations of ESG disclosure.
Participating companies will demonstrate their ESG credentials by completing an intuitive online questionnaire, submitting relevant supporting documentation and, where necessary, completing a follow-up interview. After the information is verified, a full assessment report will be issued, presenting a diagnostic view of the company’s level of maturity in sustainability practice, as well as areas where the candidate performs well and areas where improvement is needed. Completing the Sustainability Assessment will demonstrate a company’s commitment to playing a leading role in industry sustainability performance, and help strengthen deserved brand reputations.