July 2024 Events on Green Finance / 2024年7月綠色金融活動一覽

Check out the above calendar for the fantastic green finance events for Jul 2024! Interested to join and know more about the events? Click the links below for details:


2 Jul [1] GRESB Inside ESG: Going beyond climate – Biodiversity in focus

9 Jul [2] Bridging corporate sustainability reporting with SDG implementation

10 Jul [3] IPR Quarterly Briefing: Global climate policy developments – Quarter 2

11 Jul [4] The Path to Net Zero: A Climate Mitigation Journey for Banks

11 Jul [5] Business Reporting on the SDGs: A State of Play and Future Directions

16 Jul [6] Investors and human rights: Ways forward in a time of complexity

18 Jul [7] Circular economy: An enabler for responsible banking

25 Jul [8]  Introduction to the Taskforce on Inequality and Social-related Financial Disclosures

Insight Sharing from World Benchmarking Alliance – Allies Assembly 2024 in Bangkok

【Certified ESG Analyst Insights Sharing】 Ericson Lee, CESGA

The World Benchmarking Alliance – Allies Assembly in Bangkok from June 10-13, 2024 provided a crucial platform for global stakeholders to come together and share insights on the role of business in achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). As a Certified ESG Analyst (CESGA) representing Friends of the Earth (HK), it is my honor to attend this premier sustainability conference and gaining firsthand perspectives on the progress, challenges, and collaborative efforts underway. The 4-day program, covering critical issues such as social challenges in supply chains, the evolving role of investors in driving sustainability, and the pressing need to develop globally accepted ESG standards and frameworks. The insights gleaned from this assembly offer valuable lessons and a roadmap for businesses, investors, policymakers, and civil society organizations to accelerate progress towards a more sustainable and equitable future.


Social Issues in Supply Chain

Southeast Asia plays a pivotal role in the global supply chain, especially in food and marine products. The environmental and social status of this region requires urgent attention due to small-scale, dispersed suppliers with low education and technological adoption, leading to challenges in supply chain engagement and data collection. The fishing industry, dominated by small-scale suppliers, is problematic in terms of human rights violations[1], with weak law enforcement and ineffective whistleblowing mechanisms.

Just transition in the supply chain is also critical, ensuring fairness while pursuing environmental and social improvements. Small-scale suppliers may face increasing production costs to meet sustainable standards, impacting their vulnerable income and living conditions. Participants proposed collaborative efforts from large companies, governments, and NGOs are essential. Companies must ensure fair profit distribution, invest in sustainable practices, and support small-scale suppliers with tailor-made education and technological assistant.

NGOs are working for human rights and support vulnerable communities on-site, like The Labour Protection Network (LPN) combating human trafficking in the fishing industry. LPN operates centers for migrant workers, investigates wage disputes, and provides legal services. Raising awareness and educating employees is crucial, as victims may be unaware of their rights. LPN faces challenges such as fake documents, difficulty reaching small-scale supplier employees, and accusations of damaging Thailand’s image. The organization advocates for transparency in supply chains and data sharing but struggles to obtain compensation and evidence for long-term cases involving workers on boats.

During our visit to LPN, government representatives emphasized the importance of private sector support reaching those in need and enforcing laws. Collaboration between ministries, police, and trade unions is crucial for social welfare and whistleblowing. The ministry partners with NGOs to provide education, training, and facilities for victims, but comprehensive mechanisms and law enforcement to protect migrant labor are insufficient.

Stewardship and Engagement

Foreign investors play a pivotal role in driving sustainable development through the effective utilization of their shareholder power. Participants in the discussion emphasized the significance of finance in unlocking sustainable business opportunities in Asia, highlighting the evolving skills and knowledge required for effective stewardship. Institutional investors are increasingly adopting a proactive approach, engaging with companies as collaborators to drive meaningful changes in sustainable development practices. Rather than simply divesting from companies, investors are holding them accountable to develop and implement real transition plans. Given that Asian companies tend to be less open to engagement compared to their Western counterparts, investors are encouraged to leverage shareholder resolutions and co-file with NGOs to amplify their influence.

Initiatives such as Climate Action 100+ have made significant progress in persuading companies to make net zero commitments and improve their governance and disclosure practices. Investors are gradually shifting their emphasis from mere compliance and disclosure to integrating sustainability commitments into the core business strategy of the companies they invest in. Additionally, there is a growing recognition of the importance of addressing social issues, as investors understand the impact of these issues on economic systems and company performance.

Transparent and globally comparable standards and frameworks are essential for engaging stakeholders effectively, particularly when addressing complex social issues such as wages and inequalities. By adopting a comprehensive approach that encompasses both environmental and social considerations, investors can play a vital role in shaping a more sustainable and equitable future for businesses and communities alike.

Allies in Action Discussion – Addressing the Gap in ESG Standards and Frameworks

At the Allies in Action session, I was invited to co-lead a table discussion on addressing the gap in “Standards and Frameworks”. The primary issue is the absence of globally accepted reporting standards that align with global agendas, resulting in a lack of transparency and comparability of ESG performance among companies.[2]

Challenges identified for this topic such as lack of primary data, standardized quantifiable units of measurement, and consensus on ESG concepts and expectations due to diverse cultures and values across countries and sectors.

Participants suggested collaboration and communication on unified standards and frameworks, also making them more layman and accessible to ordinary people. However, reporting standards for corporates should be detailed and formal as it is a legal obligation, while performance metrics and scores can be easily understood and comparable by the general public despite the risk of “Black box”.

Establishing a globally accepted reporting standard for ESG disclosure is just the first step towards meaningful sustainability practices. The real challenge lies in developing a performance standard that drives actual change and improvement. While reporting standards ensure comparability, they do not guarantee active efforts towards better ESG performance, as seen with the slow improvement in lifecycle assessment despite the ISO 14040 standard being the sole internationally recognized framework for this issue.

Developing a globally accepted performance standard is significantly more difficult due to the subjective and context-specific nature of ESG issues. Achieving consensus requires the active participation and buy-in from diverse stakeholders with different priorities and concerns. Nevertheless, a robust and widely accepted performance standard is essential for driving meaningful change, ensuring credibility and effectiveness of ESG practices, and creating a level playing field for companies to compete on ESG performance.


While ESG and sustainability have made significant progress, there are still numerous areas that require improvement. The Allies Assembly in Bangkok provided a valuable platform for stakeholders from various sectors to collaborate and share insights. The conference highlighted the critical social issues faced by small-scale suppliers deeply embedded in supply chains, emphasizing the need for immediate action. Investors are increasingly leveraging their influence through engagement and stewardship to drive meaningful changes in sustainable development practices. However, the key to achieving consensus and establishing globally accepted standards and frameworks for ESG reporting and performance setting lies in collaboration. By fostering partnerships among diverse stakeholders, including companies, governments, NGOs, and investors, we can work towards addressing the complex challenges in the ESG landscape and create a more sustainable and equitable future for all. The Allies Assembly served as a catalyst for fostering partnerships and accelerating collective action towards a more sustainable and equitable future.

Article is written by EFFAS Certified Environmental, Social, and Governance Analyst (CESGA). CESGA is highly recognized in Europe and globally which has been steadily increasing in the worldwide. If interested in enrolling, please refer to https://bit.ly/3tFUQ1M

[1] https://www.hrw.org/news/2018/01/23/thailand-forced-labor-trafficking-persist-fishing-fleets



[意見交流園地] 章逸飛博士(港大經管學院經濟學高級講師)、葉梓淇女士(港大經管學院本科生)





至於作為世界五百強之一的建築公司,中國中鐵(00390)不僅獲得了環境、社會及管治(Environmental, Social, and Governance,ESG)評級的AAA級,並獲中國上市公司協會選為ESG最佳實踐案例。其業務項目多與環保有關,更投入大筆資金研發綠色科技,將可持續發展作為企業使命。可惜現實偏偏相反,中鐵經常收到環境罰單,更在2022年因違法使用和破壞林地,被罰款約65萬元人民幣;同年,中鐵子公司也因排污和噪音問題違規,罰款逾160萬元人民幣。


歐洲方面,為了打擊企業漂綠行為,歐盟議會在本年1月17日正式通過《為綠色轉型賦權消費者指令》(The Directive on Empowering Consumers for the Green Transition,ECGT)。這項指令作為歐盟循環經濟計劃的一部分,旨在透過取締誤導性產品資訊和籠統環境聲明,協助消費者作出較佳購買選擇。








(本文同時載於《信報》「龍虎山下」專欄 及港大經管學院網頁)

Source: https://www.hkubs.hku.hk/research/thought-leadership/hkej-column/corporate-greenwashing-and-regulatory-response/

Investing in Natural Regeneration Projects: Insights from Hong Kong’s Private Sector

Mr. Anthony Cheung CESGA, Vice-Chairperson & Green Finance Convenor of Friends of the Earth (HK)

On World Environment Day, I had the privilege of serving World Vision and FoE(HK) as a panelist in a thought-provoking discussion titled “Supporting Natural Regeneration Projects: The Role of the Private Sector.” 

  • Mr. Tony Rinaudo, the Forest Maker, Principal Climate Action Advisor, World Vision Australia 
  • Mr. Daniel Misson, Carbon Programming and Partnerships Manager, World Vision Australia 
  • Mr. Ken Chiu, Head of Carbon & ESG Products, HKEx 
  • Mr. Calvin Wong, Head of Sustainability Assurance Services, SGS Hong Kong 

During our engaging conversation, we delved into the benefits, challenges, and opportunities for corporations and investors interested in engaging in Farmer-Managed Natural Regeneration (FMNR) and other natural regeneration initiatives. I would like to highlight several key takeaways from this insightful exchange: 

1. Return on Investment and Realizing Impacts 

Panelists emphasized the relatively swift realization of tangible benefits in these initiatives, often surpassing expectations compared to traditional tree planting projects. For instance, Tony shared instances where farmers experienced remarkable increases in crop yields, sometimes doubling, within the first year of FMNR projects. The advent of remote sensing technology enables more frequent monitoring and verification of carbon projects, allowing investors to witness carbon credit generation sooner. Moreover, natural regeneration projects contribute to multiple Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), enabling corporations to showcase their ESG investments. Implementing robust monitoring and evaluation frameworks facilitates the tracking of environmental, economic, and social impacts over time. 

2. Reporting Impact and Elevating biodiversity Considerations 

Accurately quantifying and reporting impacts emerged as a significant concern for stakeholders. Calvin underscored the significance of not merely presenting narratives but also adopting new ESG reporting frameworks such as GRI. Given the growing importance of ESG reporting and frameworks, companies must proactively address these issues. The panel further emphasized the need for corporations to mitigate environmental and biodiversity risks, highlighting the extensive economic value at stake due to biodiversity loss. Initiatives like the Taskforce on Nature-related Financial Disclosures (TNFD) emphasize the mounting focus on biodiversity. Companies that proactively integrate biodiversity considerations within their reporting will be better equipped to navigate emerging risks and opportunities. 

3. Collaborating with Stakeholders To Foster Sustainability

The panel explored how corporate partnerships can support carbon reduction initiatives. Ken remarked that HKEx adopts a multifaceted approach, leading by example in setting ambitious targets for carbon neutrality and net zero. HKEx focuses on engagement, awareness, and practical implementation through educational initiatives.  
In my view, it is essential for corporates to recognize the interconnection of Sustainability reporting, biodiversity, and financial performance, and take action to address these issues in a comprehensive and proactive manner. 

Greenwashing poses one of the biggest risks in the sustainability transition. To tackle this, developing robust measurement metrics, KPIs, and a comprehensive framework is crucial. Sharing and standardizing these tools among all stakeholders will be essential in combating greenwashing and ensuring genuine progress towards sustainability goals. 

4. Balancing Risks and Ensuring Long-Term Viability 

In his keynote speech preceding the panel, Daniel highlighted FMNR’s low-risk nature, based on decades of experience. The key lies in designing projects with appropriate long-term economic incentives for communities and accounting for challenges expected over a project’s 30 to 40 years lifespan. This entails local assessments, adaptive management plans, and empowering local teams to make informed decisions. Addressing potential obstacles necessitates counterparty risks consideration, implementing effective ongoing monitoring, and engaging stakeholders to articulate project relevance and impact. 

In conclusion, this audience instilled a sense of urgency and inspiration, urging concrete action in safeguarding the environment and biodiversity. FMNR and natural regeneration projects offer exciting opportunities for the private sector to effect transformative environmental and social change. By designing projects with appropriate long-term incentives, addressing potential risks, and partnering with key stakeholders, responsible companies can generate meaningful returns while restoring landscapes and empowering communities. As mandatory sustainability reporting continues to evolve, companies must proactively develop robust measurement frameworks to track progress, combat greenwashing, and demonstrate genuine sustainability commitments. 

A Huge Step Forward in Our Mission for a Sustainable Future

Bien Wong, Governor and Honorary Treasurer, Friends of the Earth (HK)

Happy World Environment Day! I hope this message finds you all in good spirits and ready to make a positive impact on our planet. As the Board Governor of Friends of the Earth (HK), I am delighted to share with you a groundbreaking collaboration.

Together with the Lingnan University, we have launched the Executive Certificate in Sustainable Finance & ESG Analytics, a programme that I firmly believe will be a turning point in the realm of environmental sustainability.

By aligning the programme with the globally recognised professional CESGA qualification, this not only lays the foundation for the graduates’ success in their careers but also signifies a crucial step forward in our mission to drive sustainable change.

The curriculum has been meticulously crafted to be both engaging and practical, with seasoned instructors from the finance and business sectors sharing their invaluable expertise. Moreover, all learning hours are qualified to earn Continuing Professional Development (CPD) hours.

If you are interested in learning more about the Executive Certificate in Sustainable Finance & ESG Analytics, I encourage you to visit the website and explore. For the programme details, please visit: https://bit.ly/3VbUXOt

For the press release, please visit: https://bit.ly/3yJVKPo

Our dedicated team will be able to provide support and guidance to help you succeed in this exciting field.

Let us stand together, side by side, and make a difference.