Research reveals only 30% of the largest 200 companies in Hong Kong issued ESG report

Alaya Consulting has issued a research about ESG reporting trend in Hong Kong, revealing that only 60 of the largest 200 companies (based on market capitalization) listed on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) published a separate Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report in the financial year of 2015. HKEX increased reporting obligations for companies in December 2015 by announcing stricter disclosure requirements for ESG.

95% of the published ESG reports adopted either guidelines issued by HKEX or by Global Reporting Initiative. Nearly 70% of the reports disclosed all environmental and social policies as required by the HKEX ESG Reporting Guide. However, only about 25% were able to report performance on all 12 environmental indicators, in addition to policy disclosure on environmental and social aspects.

Tony Wong, Founder of Alaya Consulting, stated, “Listed companies should realize that adopting sustainable practices is no longer an option but a growing requirement which create both challenges or opportunities. Though some findings suggest a strong foundation for reporting, we believe the value of reporting is not well communicated.  Companies need to step up their game and start reporting on non-financial information so as to meet the rising market expectations in the coming years.”

With regard to environment sustainability, over 60% of the reports were able to disclose performance indicators and targets on emissions, energy and water consumption, waste generation. Regarding social aspects, 90% of the reports disclosed indicator on training and almost 85% included gender and age composition of the workforce.  95% of the reports were able to disclose information on corporate donations and volunteering hours.

The research examines the sustainability reporting practices of the largest 200 companies by market capitalisation listed on HKEX. These 200 companies capture approximately 50% of the total market capitalization, encompassing the constituent stocks of Hang Seng Index and MSCI Hong Kong Index.  “In the long term, we believe with their size and resources, these large-cap companies should be able to set industry best practices for companies which have yet to start reporting on ESG in Hong Kong,” Tony concluded.

For full research report, please download it from below hyperlink: .

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ESG reporting can be expected to become a norm

Last week, Alaya Consulting joined the second Community Investment Forum organized by Community Business, sharing the latest developments of ESG reporting and some of its best practices.

The forum began with Ellie Pang from Hong Kong Exchange presenting key-points on the latest version of The Stock Exchange’s listing rules and the release of the updated ESG reporting guide. This was followed by an overview of the five critical steps in producing a quality ESG report by Tony Wong from Alaya Consulting. Kit Law from the MTR Corporation Limited and Rando Yuan from Sa Sa International Holdings Limited shared their reporting journeys, while Sylvia Chiu from Schroders provided an investor’s view on the calculation of ESG into investment strategy.

Below are some of the key highlights from the forum:

  • Following the increasing global trend of investor interest in non-financial information as a part of their investment strategy, HKEX will only continue to deepen its involvement in promoting ESG. Moreover, the HKEX ESG Reporting Guide will continue to evolve. The aim is to balance the demands of issuers and investors.
  • In terms of formulating an ESG report, the reporting content should focus on what matters and where. Assessing materiality and forming a clear reporting boundary are essential.
  • For a company like Sa Sa, investors are highly important stakeholders. ESG reporting becomes important to them as it is a channel to connect and engage with stakeholders. As a business grows, ESG reporting also become more crucial.
  • Even though ESG reporting provides an opportunity to the organisation to tell their story, the idea is to not over-expose the company.
  • ESG encourages innovation as identified risks create opportunities. An environmental issue may create a market for resources efficient products.
  • The key is to embed a sustainability vision into day to day business. Promote sustainability within the office, and change the mindsets of employees.
  • Resistance to the HKEX guide will soon be overcome as demand grows for supply chains to publish ESG reports.
  • After box-ticking, companies will see the benefit of sustainability. In Hong Kong, companies used to publish their ESG reports mainly for compliance and now this is shifting to proactive moves by organisations to embrace sustainability.
  • ESG reporting can be expected to become a norm like annual financial reporting by companies. The beginning of integrated reporting is a step in the right direction.


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GRI Certified G4 Training Course

This GRI certified training (Cantonese) provides the know-how required for creating a top-quality sustainability report based on the GRI G4 Guidelines, focusing on key topics and targeting your relevant stakeholders.

Date : 2122 July 2016
Time : 9am-6pm
Venue : 10/F, First Commercial Building, 33-35  Leighton Road, Causeway Bay, Hong Kong
Fee : HKD5,500*

Participants will acquire an overview of the reporting process, develop insight into what actions to take, and are made aware of the potential challenges and benefits of sustainability reporting.  Presentations, case studies, group activities will be used to facilitate learning during the training. Training participants will receive an official certificate issued by GRI.

*Upon successful completion, organisations supporting their employees will be entitled to receive a subsidy of HKD2,000 per person under the New Technology Training Scheme administered by Vocational Training Council.

^10% early bird discount will be offered to participant whose enrollment is made one month prior to the course.Capture

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Four Principles for Good ESG Report



When preparing sustainability reports using GRI G4, organizations should be aware of four principles for defining report content.  I have made an acronym for them – MSCI.


GRI puts most emphasis on materiality. Organizations usually find a wide range of issues on what to report, but they have to ask themselves, “what issues (among economic, environmental and social impact) are necessary for the organization and what is it doing about them?” To be strategic, concise, credible, and be easy to navigate, organizations should report only the information critical to their business and aspects that have a profound influence on stakeholders. GRI provides a tool on how to select material topics and explain the boundaries of where these occur.

You can test materiality by answering the following questions:

  • Are sustainability impacts, risks or opportunities identified through sound investigation by people with expertise?
  • Are the issues on the report main sustainability interests and topics raised by stakeholders?
  • Are the issues on the report the main topics and future challenges for the sector reported by peers and competitors?

Sustainability Context

On the report, the organization’s performance should be presented in wider context of sustainability. For example, the report should state whether the organization is with 100 employees in a small town or New York. One of the questions that the organization should answer in the report is, “how an organization contributes to the improvement of economic, environmental, and social conditions at local, regional or global level, or vice versa?” Reporting only on individual performance fails to answer this question, so the report should state the sustainability performance depending on the context of the limits and demands of different environmental and social resources.

You can test sustainability context by answering the following questions:

  • Does the organization present its performance in a manner that attempts to communicate the magnitude of its impact and contribution in appropriate geographical context?
  • Does the organization present its understanding of sustainable development?
  • Does the organization describe how the topics can be related to long-term organizational strategy, risks, and opportunities?


The report should cover the material economic, environmental and social impacts so that stakeholders can assess the organization’s performance in the reporting period. This principle encompasses the dimension of scope, boundary, and time, and used to refer to practices in information collection and assessment on the appropriateness of presentation of information.

You can test completeness by answering the following questions:

  • Does the report include all critical impacts in the reporting period, and reasonable estimates of significant future impacts when those impacts are reasonably foreseeable?
  • Does the report take into account impacts within and outside of organization and prioritize all material information?


The report should clearly state who are the organization’s stakeholders (customers, employees, investors, or NGOs) and how it responded to their different interests and expectations. Meeting the reasonable expectation of each stakeholder is an essential reference point for making decisions in preparing the report. During this process, the organization can be aware of the issues, and how it influences on them. Increased awareness of certain issues means it can be reflected in its internal decision making. Consequently, it leads to building trust between the organization and different stakeholders.

You can test inclusiveness by answering the following questions:

  • Does the organization describe the stakeholders to whom it considers itself accountable?
  • Does the report include the outcomes of stakeholder engagement process used by the organization in its ongoing activities?
  • Does the report discuss the outcomes of any stakeholder engagement process undertaken specifically for the report?
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Join GRI Greater China Regional Delegation

GRI2016 Logo Blue Large
The 5th GRI Global Conference will be held 18 – 20 May 2016 at RAI Amsterdam, the Netherlands.  This time, GRI will focus on delivering innovative sustainability content that embraces this new era, enabling capacity building, networking, and peer-to-peer learning.
GRI China office is organizing a Greater China Regional Session on May 20 and in the meantime, they would also be leading a Greater China Regional Delegation that includes all conference registrants from Mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, and Taiwan. Conference registrants who are part of the Regional Delegation could have free access to exclusive sessions at the conference. Registrants could join the Delegation by simply use the bespoke regional code – see instructions below:
  • Provide each delegation participants with the registration link and bespoke regional code below, to register.
  • Bespoke regional code for Greater China Region: DELCHIN
  • Registration link:
  • This code ensures that all participants can book an exclusive breakfast Q & A session for delegation participants only; held on Friday May 20 (7:30 – 8:30 hrs.).

For more details on the conference programme, please click here.

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GRI Certified Training Program (14-15 April 2016, Thursday and Friday)


Course Description

This GRI certified training provides the know-how required for creating a top-quality sustainability report based on the GRI G4 Guidelines, focusing on key topics and targeting your relevant stakeholders.

Illustrating with local Hong Kong examples and international best practices, the Program prepares participants in coordinating a sustainability reporting process with the context of current latest developments.

Participants will acquire an overview of the reporting process, develop insight into what actions to take, and are made aware of the potential challenges and benefits of sustainability reporting.

Presentations, case studies, group activities and best practice examples will be used to facilitate learning during the training course.

Key takeaways of this course:

  • Develop an in depth understanding on the GRI G4 Guidelines and reporting framework
  • Conduct stakeholder engagement and materiality assessment
  • Develop report content
  • Link the sustainability report to HKEx ESG Reporting Guide

Training participants will receive an official certificate issued by GRI.  For registration, please fill in the form and send an email to

As a GRI Certified Training Partner in Hong Kong, Alaya Consulting offers public and private courses designed for individuals and organizations interested in a deeper understanding of GRI, sustainability and sustainability reporting. Alaya Consulting offers comprehensive 2-day courses as well as shorter and customized trainings and workshops.

ESG REPORTING TRAINING (18 April 2016, Monday)

The aim of this one-day ESG Reporting Training Course is to give knowledge of the HKEx ESG Reporting Guide and reporting process to facilitate ESG reporting within your company.  You will be provided with practical tools to assist on ESG reporting.

This course will start with a basic introduction to ESG reporting and will take you through the different phases of the reporting process. Workshop exercises will enable participants to understand how to identify ESG issues that are most important and relevant for your company.

At the end of the course you will leave with basic knowledge of the HKEx ESG Reporting Guide, the reporting process, and the resources of other international reporting standard and framework.

Fee and discounts: HKD2,380

  • 10% discount on training fee is applied to those who register before 19 March 2016.
  • This course will be conducted in Cantonese. For course description and registration, please send email to
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Alaya Consulting now a GRI Certified Training Partner for Hong Kong

Alaya Consulting has been appointed Certified Training Partner by the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI). As a Certified Training Partner, Alaya Consulting is qualified to deliver training courses on sustainability reporting based on the GRI G4 Reporting Framework.

Developed through a multi-stakeholder process, the GRI Reporting Framework is one of the most widely used sustainability reporting frameworks globally. It is used by some of the largest multinational corporations to report on their respective environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance.

“ESG reporting has been growing exponentially in Hong Kong and Asia. The challenge now is to raise the bar regarding level of disclosure and quality. Following the upgrade of ESG performance disclosure by the Hong Kong Exchanges to comply or explain, listed companies are required to report on general disclosure in 2016, and their environmental key performance indicators in 2017.  Coping with the uptrend to include increasingly more non-financial information in corporate reporting, companies should take sustainability or ESG reporting seriously and see value in accurately documenting their key sustainability activities and performance,” said Tony Wong, Founder of Alaya Consulting.

To facilitate the rising number of non-financial reporting, Alaya Consulting has become the first and only GRI Data Partner for Hong Kong in July 2015, committing to create a more comprehensive database of published ESG reports from Hong Kong by hosting the inventory of all newly released GRI reports and non-GRI reports. The Alaya Consulting’s database is in turn linked to GRI’s international database.

“According to industry estimates, responsible investments market is expected to grow to USD 26.5 trillion by 2015, which is approximately 15 to 20 percent of global assets under management.  Building a searchable database on sustainability performance is almost as critical as providing quality reports, our unique position as both Certified Training Partner and Data Partner for Hong Kong will enable us to contribute to the development of sustainability reporting and responsible investments,” added Tony.

With this certification, Alaya Consulting will now be able to provide training sessions. The training highlights the application of GRI’s sustainability reporting framework and includes customised local content tailored to the region’s needs. It also incorporates group exercises, interactive case study presentations and discussions. Upon completion of the course, participants will receive a certificate from GRI.

These training sessions are suitable for companies producing their first sustainability report as well as those that have previously prepared sustainability reports but are keen to up their reporting standards.

For registration and enquiries, please send email to or contact Tony Wong at +852 2388 8810.

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