求學還是求分數?

香港地球之友綠色金融顧問 黃思靈

8月時筆者工作的機構完成了一年一度的上市公司ESG評審,部份公司的ESG評級報告及結果亦已刊登在網站。本次評審覆蓋了接近450間香港上市公司及逾1,300間A股公司。整體表現跟往年差不多,但達至最高評級AAA的香港公司佔比有所增長,從去年6.1%上升至今年的8.7%。

可能社會對ESG的討論多了,公司收到ESG評級報告後的反應亦比過往的激烈。可以想像這些(討論)都是對評分不太滿意的公司,看見分數比預期的低自然希望「上訴」,否則對外難以交待。雖然深明大部份公司(有)努力做好ESG的動機,但看見多了人關注這題目,並認真探討如何可以改善公司ESG表現,這還是讓筆者感到開懷。

然而在與這些公司解構ESG表現評分時,有時亦會遇上野蠻對手。去年有個案例,某公司被我們公司從企業可持續發展指數中剔除,心中不忿來「找晦氣」,並指出另一家海外指數公司剛將其納入ESG指數,希望藉此證明自身清白,是我方評分有誤;然而該公司原來當年出現員工傷亡事故,又未有就此加強管理措施,因此失分。而今年又有另一家內地保險集團上門「求分」,不明分數退步原因,當我們表示這是因為該集團違規被國內監管機構大幅罰款時,對方竟然表示這種處分在國內是常態所以不應反映在ESG評分,(而且另一海外指數公司亦調高了該集團最近的ESG評級,藉此挑戰我們公司的評分準則。筆者本來對這保險集團頗有好感,因看到其近年確實投放不少資源在ESG發展,以宣傳、推動ESG文化,以為有機會也希望多與該機構交流、學習。)誠然,這次真的教人超級失望,原來一切都只是ESG-washing。

這亦同時暴露了一個事實,每家ESG評分機構對於「好」、「壞」、「美」、「醜」可以很大差異。使用國際性的評分準則,固然有一致性,但由於對本土市場不熟悉,有時未免出現一些盲點,評分未能充份反映某些事情對公司的影響。建議讀者還是多參考幾份ESG報告再判斷公司的實際ESG表現吧。


香港地球之友將於11月2日夥拍香港理工大學,舉辦一場主題為《綠色金融論壇 – ESG在香港的實踐》的網上綠色金融論壇,論壇將於網上以zoom形式進行,有興趣的朋友切勿錯過!

>>立即報名
>>更多論壇資訊

【Join us!】Green Finance Connect Forum – ESG Implementation in Hong Kong / 綠色金融論壇 – ESG在香港的實踐

Coming up in Nov, Friends of the Earth (HK) and PolyU Economic Sustainability & Entrepreneurial Finance (CESEF) will jointly hold an online Green Finance Forum regarding ESG development in Hong Kong. We are delighted to announce that JP, Under Secretary, Financial Services and the Treasury Bureau and Head of Markets, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited will be joining us for the event. Other details of the symposium are as follow:

Title: “Green Finance Connect Forum- ESG Implementation in HK”
Panel Discussion Topic: Opportunities & Challenges of ESG Integration in HK
Date: November 2, 2020 (Mon)
Time: 2:30 pm – 4:40 pm
Organisations: Friends of the Earth (HK), Center for Economic Sustainability and Entrepreneurial Finance, The Hong Kong Polytechnic University
Language: English

**The session will be conducted online via Zoom.

If you are interested, please register HERE to reserve your seat. For more information, please visit HERE.

香港上市公司在推行ESG的過程中會遇到什麼問題?ESG又能夠為企業帶來什麼機遇呢?香港地球之友將於11月2日夥拍香港理工大學,舉辦一場網上綠色金融論壇,主題為《綠色金融論壇 – ESG在香港的實踐》,當天我們邀請財經事務及庫務局副局長與香港交易所管理層出席,本會主席吳方笑薇女士及行政總裁洪藹誠博士亦會出席論壇,機會難得,切勿錯過!

主題:綠色金融論壇 – ESG在香港的實踐
日期:2020年11月2日(星期一)
時間:下午2時30分至下午4時40分
主辦機構: 香港地球之友、香港理工大學可持續經濟與創業金融中心
語言:英語

**論壇將於網上以zoom形式進行

報名表格>>https://bit.ly/35h8med
了解更多>>https://bit.ly/34hC3fT

The Call for Green Premiums and Carbon Taxes

Green Finance Advisor of Friends of the Earth (HK)

In a previous article The Financialization of Negative Externalities, this blogpost argued for an adoption of Coasean bargaining in attaching a measurable, fair and standardized financial cost to negative externalities that leads to global warming in the normal course of economic activity. In attaching a financial cost, the market mechanism takes over, leading to incentives for economic participants to adapt, innovate, and wean itself from fossil fuel energy sources, and provide a real and quantifiable economic basis for moving towards a carbon neutral economic system. Often times the theoretical basis for such arguments are sound, however when it comes to application, regulators and industry participants often cite lack of evidence or impracticality or other unforeseen difficulties such as unequal impact to lower income countries or demographics. Taken together, there is considerable inertia in implementing policies that can mitigate the effects of global warming which in order to meet targets of carbon neutrality, ought to be implemented as early as possible. It is therefore encouraging that Goldman Sachs and Bill Gates recently published articles citing the practicality of quantifiable financial measures of negative externalities as one of the tools to tackle the immense challenge of climate change.



Exhibit 1: The Cost Curve of Decarbonization Shows Many Low-Cost Investment Opportunities, but Quickly Becomes Steep

Source: Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research



Exhibit 2: A Carbon Tax of $50 Would Lower Emissions by Around 25%

Source: Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research



Exhibit 3: Empirical Studies Find Similar Effects of Carbon Taxes on Emissions

Source: Goldman Sachs Global Investment Research



In the Goldman Sachs research, the team finds that the marginal cost of replacing current power generation in the United States from fossil fuels to gas & renewable alternatives to be low and represents one of the low hanging fruits in the first steps towards reducing carbon emissions. The team also modelled a mere $50 per metric ton of carbon tax would have the effect of reducing CO2 emissions at 2018 levels by 25% and a tax of $100 per metric ton would lower this further by 45%. Moreover, these estimates are supported by empirical studies from jurisdictions that implemented carbon taxes in Europe and Canada (Hatzius, J., Struyven, D., Bhushan, S., Milo, D., 2020).

Similar to the carbon tax argued by the Goldman Sachs team, Bill Gates advocates for a Green Premium as a measure of our progress toward eliminating carbon emissions as well as a guide to action to identify where the biggest gaps are and thus where innovation is needed. Gates defines the Green Premium as the difference between the cost of the existing fossil fuel source of energy and its clean alternative. One notable study Gates cited is that decarbonizing Europe’s power grid by 90 to 95% would only cause rates to increase around 14 euros per month for a typical household in the European Union. In the United States, the cost would be an increase of $18 per month for the average home. These are striking findings as it suggests only incremental increases of costs will have a significant reduction in carbon emissions. Gates suggests three levers to reduce Green Premiums and thus the adoption of the clean alternative. (i) Governments to use policies to increase the cost of the carbon-based production method, similar to the carbon tax proposed by the Goldman Sachs team and or to make the clean alternative cheaper; (ii) Companies and investors to commit to buying an using cleaner alternatives, invest in research and development, and support for clean-energy entrepreneurs and startups; (iii) Individuals can help by choosing the cleaner alternatives, thereby incrementally increasing the market and demand, encourage innovation and ultimately reduce the price and increase affordability of clean alternatives (Gates, B., 2020).

In summary, the basis for applying Coasean theorem to tackle the challenges of climate is not only theoretically sound but also has practical basis. Of course, for large economic polities such as the United States and the European Union, it is understandable that incorporating Carbon Taxes or Green Premiums may encounter more political hurdles to achieve implementation as the potential cost for ill-conceived or poorly implemented policies may be quite significant. However, for us in Hong Kong, we have prided ourselves as a highly developed and nimble economy, the costs of missteps will be manageable given our relatively small economy. Moreover, seeing the success achieved in Canada and Scandinavian countries with the implementation of the carbon tax in achieving reduction in carbon emissions, the likelihood of not achieving carbon emissions reduction should be relatively low. Thus, our government should adopt measures of carbon taxation and or green premiums and serve as a leading example in the Asia-Pacific region in the global charge towards carbon neutrality, the eventual success will only serve as another case study for global leaders to take reference and further push the needle towards the full adoption of green policies.

REFERENCES

Gates, B., 2020. Introducing the Green Premiums, Gates Notes

Hatzius, J., Struyven, D., Bhushan, S., Milo, D., 2020. Mitigating Climate Change via Taxes and Subsidies, Goldman Sachs Global International Research


Visit www.foe.org.hk for more news about Friends of the Earth (HK)!
Green Finance Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/greenfinancefoehk/
FoE (HK) LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/friends-of-the-earth-hk/

網上研討會 – 在ESG大潮下,中小企如何承擔社會責任/ Online Webinar – Under the trend of ESG, how do the SMEs practice social responsibility?

自2013起香港聯合交易所(聯交所)已推出了《環境、社會及管治報告指引》(ESG Reporting Guide),為上市公司提供框架,並要求它們每年匯報在ESG方面的工作。因此,近年來越來越多中小企的業務加入環境(Environment)、社會(Social)及管治(Governance)元素,以提升生產力。長遠來說,ESG會為中小企維持業務增長,更能拓展新市場。

香港地球之友連同中小企可持續發展學會將舉辦網上研討會,讓中小企更能詳細了解ESG「環境、社會及管治」的相關內容及如何尋找機遇,以達至企業履行企業社會責任並創造可持續發展的未來。

主辦機構:香港地球之友及中小企可持續發展學會
日期: 2020年10月20日 (星期二)
時間:下午2時半 至 下午4時正
語言:廣東話
*會議將於網上透過Zoom進行。

主持人:
麥沛霖先生 – 香港地球之友董事局副主席
連舜香女士 – 香港地球之友董事局成員

程序:
下午2:25      登入
下午2:30      主題分享   (楊孝文先生 – 香港地球之友綠色金融顧問)
下午3:30      總結          (洪藹誠博士 – 香港地球之友行政總裁)
下午3:40      問答環節
下午4:00      完結

有興趣參加者,請於2020年10月19日(星期一)或之前按此報名參加。

如有查詢,請致電(852)3184 1510與葉小姐聯絡。


瀏覽香港地球之友網頁 www.foe.org.hk 了解更多
綠色金融 Facebook 專頁: https://www.facebook.com/greenfinancefoehk/
香港地球之友 LinkedIn 專頁: https://www.linkedin.com/company/friends-of-the-earth-hk/



Since 2013, The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (SEHK) has launched the ESG Reporting Guide, which provides a framework for listed companies and requires them to report on ESG work annually. Therefore, in recent years, more and more SMEs have incorporated Environment, Social and Governance into their businesses to improve productivity. In the long run, ESG will maintain the business growth of SMEs and will be able to assist them to expand into new markets.

Friends of the Earth (HK) will be organising an online webinar with SME Sustainability Society to enable SMEs to learn more about ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) related content and how to look for opportunities so that they can fulfil their corporate social responsibilities and create a sustainable future.

Organiser: Friends of the Earth (HK), SME Sustainability Society
Date: 20 Oct 2020 (Tue)
Time: 2:30-4:00pm
Language: Cantonese
*The session will be conducted online via Zoom. 

Host:
Simon Mak, Vice-Chairperson of Friends of the Earth (HK)
Ophelia Lin, Board Members of Friends of the Earth (HK)

Rundown:
2:25pm check in
2:30pm Sharing Session: Hauman Yeung – Green Finance Advisor of Friends of the Earth (HK)
3:30pm Closing remarks: Jeffrey Hung – CEO of Friends of the Earth (HK)
3:40pm Q&A session
4:00pm End

Interested parties please register online (https://bit.ly/376Ebcn) on or before 19 October 2020 (Monday).

For enquiries, please contact Tiffany Yip at (852) 3184 1510.


Visit www.foe.org.hk for more news about Friends of the Earth (HK)!
Green Finance Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/greenfinancefoehk/
FoE (HK) LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/friends-of-the-earth-hk/

Final Call for CESGA! / CESGA最後召集!

Jointly presented by FoE (HK) and EFFAS, the Certified ESG Analyst Programme (CESGA) will be closing for registration for Nov 2020 intake tomorrow. If you are a financial analyst, a portfolio manager or others specialists who are interested in ESG and corporate sustainability, you must not miss this chance to upgrade yourselves with internationally recognised ESG♻️ qualification. For registration and more information, please browse️ the link here.

我們與歐洲金融分析師聯合會(EFFAS)合作推出的「環境、社會與管治分析師認證計劃」(CESGA),將會於明天截止報名。如果你的企業有意可持續性發展、加深對ESG的認識、或在環境保護上出一分力,請記得把握最後機會報名!詳情請按此了解更多。