在港推行ESG有何難處?

香港地球之友綠色金融顧問

香港的ESG發展起步較慢並非新鮮事,過往有研究發現香港只佔全球ESG投資份額0.06%,反映投資者作出這方面的投資決定時遇到障礙。過往本網誌專欄曾經批評有上市公司在ESG披露上做得不足,未能遵照港交所的要求。而縱觀整個股票市場,儘管港交所已經要求企業提交ESG的關鍵指標,但根據安永去年的研究,有多達六成的公司仍然當ESG披露為「例行公事」。

香港作為國際金融中心,雖然政府及上市機構近年正在加快支持綠色金融,但現今對推動ESG進展仍處於起步的階段。今年金管局宣布開始將ESG納入外匯基金的投資分析的一環,證監會去年制訂監管框架以加強上市公司的環境資訊披露,而聯交所亦剛完成針對上市規則中環境、社會及管治方面的檢討諮詢。雖然制度上香港仍是在布局階段,但相信綠色金融未來也會在香港成為大趨勢。

筆者認為ESG仍未受投資者重視的原因在於ESG數據的質素,上市及監管機構需要繼續加強力度去改善ESG滙報機制。專欄以往批評的上市公司只是冰山一角,很多公司都需要作出改善。因為業務不同,個別行業應有特定的要求準則,方能令公司有效交代重要的ESG風險。縱觀而言,許多綜合企業涉獵範疇廣泛,變相未能深入披露公司情況,而且現時許多公司未必有完善的ESG數據管理系統,或是沒有相關資源進行全面的分析,導致投資者對資料沒有信心。歸根究底,社會需要把ESG融入企業思維,才是治本方法。


湯臣一品

香港地球之友綠色金融顧問

上回筆者談過有關大快活的ESG 如何粗疏,遠遠未符港交所上市附例的最基本要求,但和今天筆者要談的湯臣集團 (258),相信大快活也要甘拜下風。

筆者執筆時,湯臣集團的2018年ESG 報告仍未上載,所以只能參考其2017年的報告。湯臣集團的業務,包括物業開發及管理、高爾夫球場、酒店以及娛樂事業。說到環境影響,最大的肯定是酒店業,其餘的業務也不能輕視。但見湯臣集團的報告,範圍定義竟然不包括酒店業及娛樂事業,明顯有意避開最重要的酒店業環境及社會責任影響。

看其報告內容,基本上沒有任何一個數字可用合理來形容,直接氣體排放Nitrogen oxides 的排放量是15,736,216 kg,距離合理數字千倍以上。他們定的報告範圍只包括物業管理及高爾夫球場,卻神秘地有798 kg 的 Methane 排放而沒有任何解釋,而他們用水量,更是天荒夜談,有351,329,597立方米,又是距離合理數字千倍以上。

如果說大快活的數字是隱惡揚善,湯臣集團的數字只能形容為徹底垃圾。這集團到現在仍是全國最奢侈住宅湯臣一品的開發商,偌大集團視港交所法律要求如無物,怎能不用為富不仁四字來形容?走筆到此,筆者真懷疑港交所內部的專業水平,為何容許如此荒謬的數據出現而沒有行動?

TCFD是什麼? / What is TCFD?

【意見交流園地】Karen Ho /【Idea Exchange】Karen Ho

TCFD,意即氣候相關財務披露工作小組,為企業提供框架,方便公司向投資者、貸款人、保險公司和其他持份者提供相關信息。

截至2019年6月,支持TCFD的團體已上升至792個。最近數月,一些本地機構陸續表態支持TCFD,例如香港金融管理局 (5月)、香港交易及結算所有限公司(6月)及證券及期貨事務監察委員會(7月)。

為什麼社會近月對此領域的興趣激增?

答案很簡單 — 氣候變化是迫切的事實(請瀏覽https://climate.nasa.gov/),我們需要為氣候危機做好準備,並積極留意周遭的機遇!

可是,作為個人、企業、投資者或貸款人,我們又應如何識別氣候變化對自身的影響?

關鍵是數據披露,沒有數據,我們便無法作出合理的決定來識別我們面對的潛在威脅,亦不能開始嘗試緩減和管理風險;同樣地,我們也無法得知能幫助建立業務彈性或保護個人投資項目的其他機會。請瀏覽https://www.tcfdhub.org/,以索取能幫助你進行TCFD披露的資源。

一切從建立意識和作出承諾開始,請繼續關注我們的綠色金融網誌,讓我們共同踏上可持續發展的未來!

TCFD means Task Force on Climate-Related Financial Disclosures which provides a framework for companies to provide information to investors, lenders, insurers, and other stakeholders.

Support for the TCFD has grown to 792 organizations as of June 2019. In Hong Kong, some noticeable additions of TCFD supporters are: Hong Kong Monetary Authority in May, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited in June, followed by Securities and Futures Commission in July.

What could be the reasons of a sudden surge of interest in this area?

The answer is simple – Climate change is real (See https://climate.nasa.gov/), and we all need to be prepared for the risk, and look out for opportunities!

But how can we identify the climate change risk impacting us – as an individual, or corporate, or investor, or lender?

The key is data disclosure! Without data, we cannot make sound decision to identify potential threats to us, and start to mitigate and manage the risk; nor can we identify other opportunities which could help us to build business resilience or protect our investments. There are plenty of resources to help you with TCFD Disclosure (https://www.tcfdhub.org/).

It also starts with your awareness and commitment, stay tuned with our Green Finance Blog and let’s walk this journey together for a more sustainable future!

新聞稿 : 綠色團體坐言起行 香港地球之友牽頭綠色投資 推動慈善界減碳 / Press Release : Decarbonise Charity Decarbonise Philanthropy Green Group Walks the Talk

香港地球之友今天為環境作出承諾,未來將進行環保及負責任投資、向石化能源撤資及推動應對氣候變化的投資項目。

香港地球之友一直關注氣候變化與減碳議題。慈善,由環保團體自身做起,本會相信對可持續發展資金管理作出承諾,能有效緩和氣候變化。

本會希望為其他環保團體及非牟利機構樹立榜樣,凝聚同業認真考慮作出環境、社會及管治的投資。

香港地球之友主席吳方笑薇女士 BBS 致辭時提到:「減少傷害;多做好事。減碳慈善事業是回報善長慷慨捐贈的最好方法,也是為我們下一代維持健康生態環境的最佳途徑。地球是寬容的;年輕人卻等不及了!環境、社會及管治的投資,是消除社會和生態不平衡及衝突的補救措施。真正的社會和諧,需要透過復原性的經濟和生態社會企業去帶動才能達至。」

Ms. Elizabeth Fung with FoE (HK) board

本會很榮幸能邀請投資推廣署助理署長蔣學禮博士作為主禮嘉賓,他表示:「有政府作強大後盾、有實力雄厚的金融和法律人才、有由一帶一路及大灣區發展而衍生的大量機遇,香港具備足夠條件成為不單是亞洲、更是國際的綠色金融中心。」

在今天舉行的「綠色金融與你同行啟動儀式上,香港地球之友作出了公開承諾:

(1) 展示環境、社會與管治的投資及由環保團體帶動減碳

(2) 開展綠色金融相關研究

(3) 為香港培育綠色金融人力資本

「綠色金融 與你同行」啟動儀式代表本會綠色金融倡議路線圖正式開始。本會將定期舉行圓桌會議、與持分者對話和工作坊,匯聚持分者和商界對綠色金融的興趣與關注。

同時本會已推出綠色金融網誌,推動意見、資訊、最新動向、趨勢和案例的交流。

Mrs. Mei Ng with Dr. Jimmy Chiang

香港地球之友更將作出以下承諾:

(1) 承諾採用負責任的擁有權原則

本會承諾將全面採納證券及期貨事務監察委員會(證監會)於2016年發出的負責任的擁有權原則,並倡議所有資產擁有者、捐贈者、慈善機構和基金會檢視並確保旗下投資政策配合該原則。

(2) 擔當綠色及負責任投資的先導者和領導者

截至2019年6月,香港金融管理局是香港唯一承諾採用負責任的擁有權原則的資產擁有者。本會很榮幸能成為首個採用該等原則的非牟利機構。

(3) 培育綠色金融人力資本

本會將向業界倡議綠色金融及環境、社會與管治投資。本會又會與香港理工大學可持續經濟發展及創業金融中心合作,成立「環境、社會與管治投資教育承諾」計劃,培育本地綠色金融人才。

香港理工大學可持續經濟與創業金融中心總監鄭子云教授說:「『環境、社會與管治投資教育承諾』計劃充分展示了香港地球之友在本地非牟利機構界別中先行作出的財務承諾,並通過推動環境、社會與管治投資教育,促進可持續發展。此項計劃能有效指導理工大學會計及金融學院學生關於環境、社會與管治方面的知識,以及透過相關的投資研究,了解環境、社會與管治的重要性。」

理工大學會計及金融學院的學生,將在價值1,000萬港元的綠色及負責任投資組合(GRIP)支持下,進行學術研究。

香港地球之友很榮幸能夠獲得環球財富及資金經理──瑞士隆奧集團的支持和提供的專業服務,協助管理該項投資,並指導理工大學學生進行學術研究。

瑞士隆奧集團亞太區首席投資總監及香港區行政總裁Jean-Louis Nakamura先生表示:「可持續發展代表著瑞士隆奧本世紀最大的投資機遇。成立至今223年以來,我們一直以可持續的方向替顧客管理資產,堅持不斷思考我們的社會責任投資方法以及工具。今天我們能夠支持香港地球之友及香港理工大學可持續經濟發展及創業金融中心,推動以廣泛的方法管理資產,並加快營商行為的必然改變,促進重視可持續發展的營商模式,為此我們感到非常自豪。」

Call for unity to support Green Finance

Friends of the Earth (HK) 【FoE (HK)】today pledges to Green and Responsible Investing, divest in fossil fuels and to promote climate responsive investing.

Climate Change and Decarbonisation are FoE (HK)’s major advocacy focus. Charity starts at home, FoE (HK) believes its pledge to sustainable treasury management is an effective response to mitigate climate change.  

It also hopes to lead by example to catalyse other charities and NGOs to consider ESG (Environmental Social Governance) Investing.

“Do Less Harm. Do More Good. Decarbonise Philanthropy is the best way to repay the generosity of donors and to safeguard a resilient environment for our future generation. Earth is tolerant. Youth are impatient. ESG Investing could be a remedy to neutralise social and ecological imbalance and conflicts. Social harmony could be redeemed by restorative economy and eco-socio enterprise,” said Mrs. Mei Ng, Chairperson of FoE (HK).

FoE (HK) is also honoured to have Dr. Jimmy Chang, Associate Director-General of InvestHK as our officiating guest. He said, “With strong government commitments, a great pool of finance and legal talents, as well as tremendous opportunities arising from the Belt & Road Initiative (BRI) and the Greater Bay Area (GBA) development, Hong Kong is well positioned to develop itself into a premier green finance hub not only in the region, but also in the world.”

At the “Green Finance Connect” launching ceremony today, FoE (HK) made an official pledge:

(1) Demonstrate ESG investing and decarbonise charity

(2) Conduct research on green finance

(3) Incubate green finance human capital for Hong Kong

Mrs. Mei Ng, Prof. Louis Cheng and Mr. Jean-Louis Nakamura

“Green Finance Connect” launch kickstarted FoE (HK)’s Green Finance Advocacy Roadmap. Regular roundtables, dialogues and workshops will be organised to catalyse stakeholder and business sector interests.

A “Green Finance Blog” has been set up to facilitate sharing of insights, info, trends, ideas and case studies, about ‘everyone has the ability and option to invest in Green’.

FoE (HK) will commit to take the following actions:

  • Pledge for Principles of Responsible Ownership adoption

FoE (HK) pledged to fully adopt the Principles of Responsible Ownership (“Principles”) issued by the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) in 2016, and would also advocate all asset owners, endowments, charities and foundations to align their investment policies with the Principles.

  • FoE (HK) as a pioneer and leader in Green and Responsible Investing

As of June 2019, Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is the only asset owner in Hong Kong pledged adoption of the Principles and FoE (HK) is proud to be the first NGO to do the same.

  • Incubate Green Finance Human Capital

FoE (HK) would advocate industry practitioners about the importance of green finance and ESG investing. We would also work with Centre for Economic Sustainability and Entrepreneurial Finance (CESEF) at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) to incubate green finance human capital with the “ESG Investment Education Pledge”.  

Panel Discussion

Professor Louis Cheng, Director of the CESEF of PolyU, told the audience, “This ESG Investment Education Pledge aims to show case FoE (HK)’s financial commitment among NGOs in Hong Kong and to push for sustainability through ESG investments education. Such a pledge helps School of Accounting and Finance at PolyU to educate its students about ESG and its importance through investment research for the Pledge.”

This will enable PolyU students at the School of Accounting and Finance to conduct research on the HK$10m Green and Responsible Investment Portfolio (GRIP).  

FoE (HK) is pleased and honoured to enlist the professional support and service of the global wealth and asset manager Lombard Odier to manage the fund and to mentor the PolyU students in their research.

Jean-Louis Nakamura, Chief Investment Officer Asia and CEO Hong Kong, Lombard Odier, said, “Sustainability represents for Lombard Odier the biggest investment opportunity of our century. Throughout our 223-year history, Lombard Odier has embraced a sustainable approach in managing our clients’ money, consistently rethinking our socially responsible investment methodologies and tools. We are proud today to support FoE (HK) and CESEF in their efforts to promote an inclusive way to manage money, accelerate the necessary changes in business practices and value more sustainable business models.”

環境、社會及管治或綠色投資注定沒有回報? / Does ESG or Green Investing Mean Sacrificing Returns?

香港地球之友綠色金融顧問Michele Leung / Michele Leung, Green Finance Advisor of Friends of the Earth (HK)

近年,環境、社會及管治或綠色投資成為主流議題,雖然業界對這個新興投資趨勢意見不一,但環境、社會及管治或綠色投資顯然是百利而無一害。

如果你認為環境、社會及管治或綠色投資注定沒有回報,現在該是時候改變一下觀念了!

愈來愈多學術研究及業界研究都在討論綠色投資議題。根據史丹福大學研究指出,近年投資者逐漸加強重視氣候金融,又偏向尋找「高回報及對環境有較高正面影響」的投資機遇。「經過分析由2005年1月至2015年12月期間高達74,486個美國企業個案,我們發現以上的投資機會真的存在。¹」此外,由牛津大學進行的大規模研究所得,在90%個案當中,生態效益高及對環境負責的公司擁有的資本成本(包括股權和債務)都較低,而以上企業皆顯示出優異的股票市場表現²。另一業界報告亦總結,披露更多環境、社會及管治事宜的公司絕少落後大市,且大多跑嬴大市³。

值得留意的是,環境、社會及管治或綠色投資應被拆解成不同的元素,例如重要數據點、環境、社會及管治評級、投資方法等。如沒有細心研究每一種基礎元素便判斷環境、社會及管治或綠色金融有否提供alpha值(以證明跑嬴大市),那未免將它看得太簡單了!

我想這篇文章的總結是,環境、社會與管治並不意味著犧牲回報,由於這類投資波動性較低,風險管理會較容易。全球投資者現正站在解決氣候變化的最前線,也許現在正是你接受環境、社會及管治或綠色投資的時候了!

ESG or green investing has undeniably become mainstream in recent years. Despite the continuous debates in the market, it is getting clear that ESG or green investing does no harm.

If you think investing in ESG or green considerations will sacrifice your investment returns, it is the time to think twice.

More academic studies and industry research papers have been addressing to this related topic. According to Stanford University, investors increasingly prioritize climate finance and look for investment opportunities that offer “high returns with high environmental impact.” “After analyzing 74,486 observations of U.S. firms from January 2005 to December 2015, we find that such investment opportunities do exist”. Meta-study by Oxford University also found that in 90% of cases they analyzed environmentally efficient companies have lower costs of capital (both equity and debt) and that eco-efficient and environmentally responsible companies show superior stock market performance. Another industry report also concluded that “increasing exposure to ESG rarely underperforms the market, and often outperforms the market”

It is important to note ESG or green investing would be decomposed into different elements, from underlying data points, ESG rating to investment construction methodology. It would be overly simplistic for one to conclude ESG or green does or does not provide alpha (outperformance) without carefully study each fundamental element.

I guess the baseline here is, ESG doesn’t mean sacrificing returns while it does help you to manage risk as they tend to translate into lower volatility. As global investors are now getting at the forefront of climate change, perhaps it is also the time for you to embrace ESG or green investing.

Source:
1 https://gpc.stanford.edu/publications/being-green-rewarded-market-empirical-investigation-decarbonization-risk-and-stock
2 http://www.smithschool.ox.ac.uk/publications/reports/SSEE_Arabesque_Paper_16Sept14.pdf
3 https://jii.iijournals.com/content/early/2018/08/07/jii.2018.1.061

綠色金融對煤說不 / Green Financing Saying No to Coal

香港地球之友綠色金融顧問 / Green Finance Advisor of Friends of the Earth (HK)

法國農業信貸銀行(Credit Agricole)是一家主要的全球金融機構,最近宣布將放棄為煤炭行業提供融資:不僅包括煤礦業務,還包括煤電廠和煤炭運輸基礎設施。法國農業信貸銀行不是第一個拒絕煤炭的金融機構。根據能源經濟與金融分析研究所(IEEFA)的數據,全球100多家金融機構已經削減了對煤炭的資金支持。(點擊此處查看報告

不用煤炭的原因很簡單 — 煤的真實成本很高。我們不僅談論開採方面可衡量成本,而且更重要的是對生態系統的破壞和燃燒煤炭的後果。從燃煤釋放到空氣中的碳排放是氣候變化的主要來源。憑藉更好的技術,我們現在可以以更低的成本使用清潔能源。完全放棄燃燒供電正變得越來越可行。

雖然煤炭仍然是其主要的電力來源,但中國一直在積極投資替代能源 — 中國已經是世界上最大的太陽能和風力發電國。香港的反應較遲緩,但正在迎頭趕上。去年,中電推出了可再生能源上網計劃(點擊此處了解詳情),購買通過可再生能源產生的上網電力。換句話說,家庭和公司不僅可以減少電費,還可以通過安裝自己的太陽能系統並有機會向中電售電來賺取豐厚的收入。從那時起,太陽能在香港迅速擴張。

這是我們綠色金融顧問希望看到的內容。這就是綠色金融的意義:投入資金建立可持續發展的世界。

Credit Agricole, a major global financial institution, recently announced that it will walk away from financing the coal sector — not only the miners but also power plants and infrastructure for coal transport. Credit Agricole is not the first to say no to coal. According to Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), over 100 global financial institutions have already cut back the funding support for coal. (Click here for the report)

The reason for stopping coal is simple — the true cost of coal is high. We are not only talking about the direct measurable cost of getting it out of the ground but more importantly the consequence of damaging the ecosystem and all the cost of burning coal. The carbon releases to the air is among the major source of climate change. With better technology, we can now generate cleaner energy at lower cost. Powering our world without coal is becoming more real.

While coal is still its key source of power, China has been actively diversifying into alternative energy — it is already the world’s largest solar and wind power producer. Hong Kong has been slow in reacting but is catching up. Last year CLP introduced a scheme (Click here for the details) to buy electricity generated by renewable energy. In other words, households and companies can not only reduce their electricity bills but also make good income by installing their own solar power system and sell to CLP. Since then solar power has expanded rapidly in Hong Kong.

This is what we, green finance advisors would like to see. This is what green financing is about — putting capital to build a sustainable world.

圖片來源 / Image Source:https://www.zephrocious.com/coal