Beyond Climate Change

Karen Ho, Green Finance Advisor of Friends of the Earth (HK)

The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (HKEX) just published last Friday its Consultation Paper “Review of the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Reporting Guide and related Listing Rules”.

One of the key focus of its consultation paper is climate change. HKEX proposed to require disclosure of policies on measures to identify and mitigate the significant climate-related issues which have impacted, and those which may impact the issuers, and the action taken to manage them. It proposed to revise the Environmental KPIs to require disclosure on a description on target set regarding emissions, energy use and water efficiency, waste reductions etc and steps taken to achieve them. It also proposed to require disclosure of Greenhouse Gas Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions. All of disclosure mentioned are subject to “comply or explain”.

Better Disclosure means Better Market Efficiency

As we discussed in our blog last week, HKSAR Government is catching up on Green Finance and we are pleased to see that HKEX is seeking to strengthen its ESG rules. Whilst the Task Force on Climate-related financial disclosure (TCFD) Recommendations focus on material risks and opportunities from climate change perspectives, HKEX’s Guide applies more broadly across all environmental and social areas.

It is clear that climate change has already begun to affect global business, with extreme weather, threatening company assets and supply chains. As the environment evolves, companies that improve their energy efficiency and create new products and services will survive and companies that are slow to change will struggle.

Investors rely on ESG data to identify which companies may be best positioned to succeed in a sustainable world. FoE welcomes HKEX’s commitment in strengthening disclosure on ESG and climate-related information as it would help to drive better market efficiency. 

Green of Green – are you ready?

Si Ling Wong, Green Finance Advisor of Friends of the Earth (HK)

The theme of this Blog is “Green Finance”. So what is Green Finance actually? One could google and get a very detailed definition from the website. My simple interpretation is “Responsible Investment”.

When we talk about finance or investment, the first thing that comes into mind would be money making – this is very true and fair. Everyone works to earn and support living and if an investment is not going to bring any benefit, who will be doing it?

That’s why we may need more incentive/ pressure from the government. Hong Kong has been a bit behind our peers in this area but the government is trying to catch-up. Starting from 2017, listed companies are required to follow the comply-or-explain obligations from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange in making their Environment, Social and Governance (“ESG”) reporting. The HKSAR Government announced the launch of the Green Bond Grant Scheme in June 2018 to subsidize eligible green bond issuers in obtaining certification under the Green Finance Certification Scheme established by the Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency. The Securities and Futures Commission (“SFC”) issued a circular to provide guidance to management companies of SFC-authorized green or ESG funds on enhanced disclosures last month. A roadshow for the HKSAR Government’s first green bond under its HK$100 billion green bond program was also kicked-off last Tuesday.

More information on the latest HKSAR government’s green initiatives could be read here:

While the government is picking up the pace, general public could also contribute via “Responsible Investment” – buying shares/ bonds issued by companies that pay effort in managing ESG, allocating assets into funds that incorporate ESG in their investment decision-making process, etc. No big money is needed – every penny counts.

One last reminder: watch out for “Greenwashing”. Some corporates might use “green” deceptively just to promote their products/ brands. It will always be good to take a closer look at these “green” labels to avoid being fooled and dumping money into something actually evil and not sustainable.

Friends of the Earth (HK)’s Response to the HKMA’s Measures on Green Finance / 香港地球之友回應金管局的綠色金融措施

Hong Kong is the leading asset management centre in Asia. FoE (HK) is pleased to see that HKMA will adopt a principle that priority can be given to Green investments. The government should demonstrate its green finance leadership by not only investing in green projects but also divesting from fossil fuels, and also encourage asset owners and investors to do so. Over 1,000 institutions with almost USD $8 trillion have committed to divest in fossil fuels.

The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) today unveiled three sets of measures to support and promote Hong Kong’s green finance development. Climate change is universally regarded as the biggest threat to humanity. Friends of the Earth (HK) [“FoE (HK)”] lauds these measures and believes that they will help alleviate climate change.

Hong Kong is one of the top three international finance centres. However, the city ranks poorly compared to its traditional peers and even neighbouring cities on green finance, being placed 31st on the Global Green Finance Index. FoE (HK) welcomes the establishment of the Centre for Green Finance (CGF) under the HKMA Infrastructure Financing Facilitation Office (IFFO) to strengthen our position as a global green finance hub. 

To promote Green Finance in Hong Kong, FoE (HK) launched a “Green Finance Blog” on Earth Day 2019 ( FoE(HK) will also announce our Green Finance Roadmap for Hong Kong on the World Environment Day, 5 June 2019. 

香港金融管理局 (金管局)今日公布三項措施以支持及推動香港綠色金融發展。氣候變化已被全球公認為對人類最大的威脅,香港地球之友歡迎相關措施並認為有助緩減氣候變化。


香港是全球三大國際金融中心之一,可惜在全球綠色金融指數(Global Green Finance Index)只排行31名,綠色金融發展不敵傳統金融中心以及鄰近城市。本會歡迎在金管局基建融資促進辦公室下成立綠色金融中心,以鞏固香港綠色金融中心的地位。

為了推動綠色金融發展,香港地球之友在2019年世界地球日推出綠色金融網誌( ,並會在2019年6月5日世界環境日宣布本會提出的香港綠色金融路線圖。

Message from Chairperson Green Finance Blog Launch

Message from Chairperson Green Finance Blog Launch / 主席的話 啟動綠色金融網誌

Mei Ng – Chairperson of Friends of the Earth (HK) / 吳方笑薇 – 香港地球之友主席

The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that you can only do little.

One Note, one Vote, one Share, one Care, everyone can make a world of difference with the dollar note we spend, the vote we cast, the share we buy and the care we commit for the planetary health that we all depend upon for our common existence and that of our future generations.

In a flatter, hotter, bitter and litter world, we are being naïve if we think we can achieve a sustainable future without harnessing the best of the corporate world to these ends.

Green Finance

If economics is somehow to blame for environmental problems, shouldn’t that means that the cure for those problems must also lie in the economy?

Can “enlightened accounting” catalyze revaluation of true long-term value of natural systems to become “common currency” for sustainable growth?

Can “enlightened investment “ catalyze paradigm shift for reappraisal of “Natural Capitalism”?

Can Green Finance & Green Economy catalyze the adoption of Green GDP?

Green manufacturing, green farming, green building, green transport, green industry, green technology, green consumption, green services bring social, environmental and health benefits to ensure sustainable wellbeing?

No more fossil fools. No more carbon debt. Finance policy-makers and finance sector practitioners, stakeholders and investors can play an important role by divesting in fossil fuel to reduce carbon emission and to adopt green and responsible investing to promote renewable energy and green technology.

Global trends, research, analysis, forecasts and interests in green and responsible investing are growing. Over 1,000 institutions with almost USD $8 trillion have committed to divest in fossil fuels.

Hong Kong needs to catch up

Hong Kong is a global financial hub and a late-comer in promoting Green Finance, lagging behind London, Shanghai, Tokyo, Singapore and Korea.

Hong Kong needs to catch up to assume climate responsibility and green finance leadership to gain back top spot in the Global Green Finance Index (GGFI).

FoE Green Finance Blog on Earth Day

To celebrate Earth Day, Friends of the Earth(HK) launched a “Green Finance Blog” on its website to harness collective wisdom to catalyse Hong Kong policy makers and asset managers’ interest and commitment to adopt green finance and responsible investing.

Friends of the Earth (HK) believes that each one of us in our small ways and examples can generate positive changes to save Planet Earth and our common future.

Visit the Green Finance Blog on .


















歡迎透過 瀏覽「綠色金融網誌」。

How does Green Finance impact you? / 綠色金融會如何影響你?

Green Finance may sound like a remote concept, however it is closer to our everyday lives than we think.

In promoting Green Finance, we are helping to channel investments into opportunities which has both a good rate of return and also has a positive impact to the environment.

In the long run, it will promote more accountability from the financial industry across the ecosystem of banks, insurance companies, investment companies, corporates seeking financing, etc, to price such sustainability in their products, creating a win-win situation for both investors and for the planet.

In Hong Kong, there is a framework for Green Bonds.

Hong Kong is Asia’s fourth largest bond issuance center (Source: SCMP, June 2018) so us at FoE (HK) believes that we can do more to promote and encourage the issuance of such Bonds across corporations and investors. In addition to Green Bonds, there are other investment vehicles that we would like to introduce in this blog so you can also be aware of the types of Green Financing opportunities available to you.

As an additional reference material, the UN has also mentioned Green Financing as one of their regional initiatives in Asia Pacific, and you can read more about it in their website: –

Furthermore we would like to share the view from practitioners in Hong Kong (Prof. Entela Benz-Saliasi – Adjunct Associate Professor of The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, Ms. Alexandra Boakes Tracy – Founder and President of Hoi Ping Ventures), please enjoy the interview video.




而香港更是亞洲四大債券保險市場之一 (資料來源: 南華早報, 2018年6月),因此香港地球之友相信應在企業及投資者間廣泛推廣此類債券。




Welcome Message / 歡迎辭

Welcome to the first Green Finance blog post from Friends of the Earth (HK). We would like to be pioneers to promote Green Finance in Hong Kong – through this blog, we will share both our views and relevant publications around this topic.

The Earth Day is the best day for us to start this blog. We believe that Green Finance has a great value proposition – both from an investment perspective and from an environmental sustainability perspective.

We hope this blog would be interactive with the viewers so we welcome any comments and suggestions.

As the first introduction, we would like to invite you to view the following interview with Mr. Robin How, independent analyst and Mr. James A Maguire, Partner of Sustainable Development Capital LLP.



我們特意選取了獨立分析員Robin How先生和Sustainable Development Capital LLP合伙人James A Maguire先生的訪談去作為這個博客的第一個篇章,歡迎各位觀賞並提出意見。