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Climate Change: Global Issue, Regional Challenge

It has been affirmed that climate change is one of the greatest challenges of our time. The world’s climate system, including the atmosphere and oceans, is changing and will continue to change at rates unprecedented in recent human history. Extreme weather, persistent droughts and sea-level rise are becoming more common as the effects of climate change take hold. Climate change is therefore not a distant but a present threat. Economies around the world are all finding their way to try to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change is definitely a global challenge which Hong Kong has to embrace, not only in collaboration with overseas and Mainland cities, but also with the private and public sectors here in Hong Kong.

Local Policy: Call for Action

As assessed by the Government Consultant, the effects of climate change are acutely felt by a number of sectors in Hong Kong. These are not limited to biodiversity and nature conservation, food and water resources, human health or infrastructure support, but also business and industry, as well as financial services. This is because heavy reliance on international trade, financial markets, imports of key products and services is exposing Hong Kong to climate change impacts beyond its boundaries and increasing its vulnerability, with higher business risks and insurance costs.

Hong Kong is set to lower its carbon footprint and the Government has been taking actions to tackle the problem, such as carrying out carbon audits on major Government buildings and public facilities. To encourage the private sector to join hands with the Government in combating climate change by conducting carbon audits and implementing carbon reduction measures, the Chief Executive also pledged in the 2011/12 Policy Agenda to encourage companies to participate in identifying more room for carbon reduction. Furthermore, the Council for Sustainable Development (SDC) in its public engagement exercise report on “Combating Climate Change: Energy Saving and Carbon Emission Reduction in Buildings” also recommended that the Government should encourage carbon audits for general businesses. Specifically, SDC recommended that Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx) should explore how their on-going or new initiatives for Environmental, Social and Governance Reporting could further promote carbon audit and environmental or sustainability reporting.

Streamlining Process: in line with ESG Reporting for Listed Companies in Hong Kong

Taking on board the SDC’s recommendations and the responses received during its four-month consultation, the ESG Guide for companies listed in Hong Kong was promulgated by HKEx in August 2012. As a recommended practice, the ESG Guide stipulates the requirement for listed companies to report their carbon emissions and intensity, to describe the measures adopted to mitigate emissions and explain the results achieved. The ESG Guide applies to all listed companies with financial years ending after 31 December 2012.

In light of the above initiatives, this website is intended for listed companies in Hong Kong to disclose their carbon audit findings and to facilitate access to the available information released by other listed companies.