The “environmental movement” now has a seat in the boardroom. Investors around the world are increasingly demanding environmental sustainability from corporations[i]. Companies have responded by increasing disclosure of environmental, social and governance (ESG) data.
78 percent of G250 (the world's 250 largest companies) now include ESG information in their annual reports.[ii] Hong Kong businesses have followed suit, with the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing (HKEX) requiring companies to disclose ESG data.[iii]
While most local companies have responded positively,[iv] some have had difficulty following through. Staff with no prior ESG experience can find the compliance process “costly and time-consuming… requiring much management effort.”[v]
Even compliant companies can be hindered by flawed reporting systems. “A large portion of companies… calculate the data in Excel spreadsheets,” explains John DeRose, Ernst & Young director. “You might as well have a pen and ledger paper—that’s how antiquated it is.”[vi]
Companies need an effective ESG reporting system to plan and implement sustainability management programmes. An ESG data management system can do what spreadsheets can’t:
- Data conversion: HKEX requires disclosure on dozens of key performance indicators (KPIs).[vii] An effective ESG system can collect data supporting these KPIs, store them on a single cloud platform, and convert/visualise them to comply with reporting requirements.
Automated data collection technology can minimise human error and save users from manual data input and filing
- Data segmentation & governance: data can be securely reviewed by managers or auditors without resorting to email or hard copy. Approval systems and audit trails can be recorded in the system
- Collaboration & enhanced accessibility: users can share ESG data from anywhere over the Internet, with pre-defined permission controls deciding levels of access. This permits users to maintain an updated set of ESG data, without fragmentation from emails or isolated edits
- Data Security: a secured cloud server hosts ESG data; defence in depth deploys individual layers of security that repel threats and protects confidential data
To select an ESG tool that fits your requirements, look for one that delivers the criteria above—with the addition of professional support that can adjust your system to meet your specific reporting needs.
FUJIFILM Business Innovation Hong Kong’s ESG data management solution, iESG, leverages Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and document workflow management to streamline the workflow of ESG reporting, helps organizations drive compliance through simplified processes.
[i]Eccles, Robert G. and Klimenko, Svetlana. “The Investor Revolution.” HBR. Harvard Business Publishing, May-June 2019. https://hbr.org/2019/05/the-investor-revolution.
[ii]"ESG: A view from the top." KPMG China. KPMG International, September 2018. https://assets.kpmg/content/dam/kpmg/cn/pdf/en/2018/09/esg-a-view-from-the-top.pdf.
[iii]"HKEX Requires Additional Disclosure on ESG for New IPOs." ESGNewswire. ESGNewswire, May 21, 2019. https://esgnewswire.com/hkex-requires-additional-disclosure-on-esg-for-new-ipos/.
[iv]Koo, Adam; Ng, Simon Lamrad, Dr Nadira. "Hong Kong business is generally in favour of ESG disclosures." Business Environment Council. Business Environment Council Limited, August 13, 2019. https://bec.org.hk/newsroom/hong-kong-business-is-generally-in-favour-of-esg-disclosures.
[v] "Consultation Response". Chamber of Hong Kong Listed Companies. Chamber of Hong Kong Listed Companies, July 19, 2019. https://www.chklc.org/images/Consultation/Response-19072019.pdf.
[vi] Ashwell, Ben. "Investors seeking consistent ESG disclosure, research finds." Bloomberg Professional Services. Bloomberg Finance L.P., December 4, 2017. https://www.bloomberg.com/professional/blog/investors-seeking-consistent-esg-disclosure-research-finds/.
[vii]"Appendix 27 Environmental, Social and Governance Reporting Guide." HKEX. Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited, 2018. https://en-rules.hkex.com.hk/node/3841/revisions/3841/view.