ESG is high on the agenda for many businesses. However, certain organizations and companies are going even further, forging a new path and setting sustainability examples the rest of us can learn from. HSBC invited some of these ESG trailblazers to discuss key issues around sustainability at this year’s Drive 2022 event1.
For these businesses, sustainability is at the centre of their mission statements. They explain how they have built value around it. They also share insight on the blockers they faced, and how they overcame them.
For many sustainability trailblazers, sustainability sits at the heart of the business proposition.
“For us, the main insight that led to the formation of the company was realizing that we have 10 years to fight climate change,” says Rohit Bhattacharya, CFO, Next Gen Foods. “This is probably the largest existential crisis we face as humans. And, therefore, we needed to create a product that could create impact in that short timeframe.”
Bhattacharya’s company, Next Gen foods, is a two-year-old startup with an aim to make the world’s food system more sustainable with plant-based foods. Their first product is TiNDLE, which is imitation chicken made from plants. It was launched in Singapore in March 2021. They are now in more than 400 restaurants across Singapore, Hong Kong, the Middle East, and North America, and they have just announced their launch in the UK.
“When you think about climate change, people think about fuel, the combustion engine or architecture. Agriculture somehow hasn’t got as much attention,” explains Rohit.
He says the company saw food as the most immediate way individuals can make a difference and found a solution whereby rather than giving up meat, people could eat something delicious, but plant based, perhaps once a week or twice a week.
Making an impact was also a key driver for Simple energy, says co-founder Ankit Gupta. Simple energy is an electric vehicle (EV) company formed and operating in India, the largest two-wheeler market in the world.
Their soon-to-be-launched electric scooter can charge in less than two hours, says Gupta. More than 50,000 people have already pre-paid for one, ahead of it coming to market. The company spent almost four years developing the product.
Ankit believes that if you want people to adapt to electric vehicles, it cannot be done by government policies. It has to be done by creating excitement around a product.
“For many the perception is that sustainability means extra cost – but is this really true? According to Gabriel Tan, Director, GUAVA Amenities, it’s a myth that sustainability is more expensive.
GUAVA Amenities, established in 2004, with headquarters in Singapore, provides guest amenities and healthcare supplies to help global hospitality chains, airlines and cruise liners to improve profits while embracing sustainability at scale. Their solutions are aimed at minimizing waste and carbon emissions, focusing on advancing UN sustainable development goals (SDG) 11, 12 and 13.
Gabriel shares an example of a major project GUAVA did for a large hospitality group. GUAVA put in place sustainable solutions that reduced their client’s costs by more than 20%. They also reduced their waste by more than 12 tonnes. And, at the same time, they managed to win a sustainability award.
“Sustainability is a win for all, if you do it right,” he says. “Of course, there is a lot of strategy and thinking that goes beyond the superficial things in order to achieve this.”
Ben Wong, Head of Open Innovation, Eureka Nova, agrees.
He gives an example of a startup called Chomp, which alleviates food wastage in Hong Kong by offering revenue to restaurants for leftover food, which is then sold at a discounted price.
“What could have been waste is now additional revenue for a lot of the restaurants and also maintaining sustainable goals by alleviating a lot of food wastage,” he says.
Meanwhile, Wong’s company, Eureka Nova, a New World Group Member, identifies technology pain points, and matches them with technology startups that can solve these problems.
One of the accelerators they have created is called Impact Commons, Asia’s first UN SDG accelerator. They use reverse engineering to look at sustainable goals and then find sustainability startups that can come in and accelerate the process of trying to reach some of these goals.
“Yet sometimes it is unavoidable that sustainability does come at a higher price point.
Tan shares his advice for this scenario: “What kind of customers are you trying to target? And are these customers aware of the benefits of your products? If the customer is not aware, then you need to educate them, instead of just selling to them.”
Once the customer understands that they need these solutions, then you need to be able to justify your value, he says.
“Why is it that for this particular need that they have, you are the best company or the best partner?”
“Sustainability-minded businesses tend to have an eye on the future.
“Sustainability is not just about the environment, but it is about being able to sustain what we are doing with our business into the long term,” says Tan.
“I think the key is, what is your vision?” Gupta explains. Is your vision to just get in market early with a product on hand? Or to adapt to new forms of energy, which will evolve over time and be agile enough to change your organization accordingly?
With innovative methods and thinking, these trailblazers are transforming our planet through environmental and social change. And along the way, hopefully they have inspired others to be bold ESG trailblazers.
To find out how HSBC could support your sustainability goals, speak to your relationship team.
There was a time not too long ago when environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues were a niche concern for businesses and indeed, for the wider public. But in recent years, we’ve seen a lot of key developments when it comes to ESG. The 2015 Paris agreement on climate change set the stage for sustainability to become part of the public consciousness. In the intervening years, extreme weather events have shown the impact of failing to curb global warming. And that comes with an urgency to act, not just on climate change, but on social impact and governance issues as well.
Activists have campaigned on a range of issues and a global pandemic has pointed out to us all how important the S in ESG is. We’ve seen rising global awareness of issues from plastic pollution to biodiversity, and from social inequity to work/life balance. We have more listing rules, stewardship codes, and governance codes, and there’s been a lot of pressure on companies, especially listed companies, to disclose how they’re acting. Climate change is at the fore here, but we are also beginning to see a convergence of standards, and a growing demand that companies act sustainably for all stakeholders.
When businesses first begin to think about their responsibility to the environment, what often gets missed is that climate change should not only spur them to embrace sustainability, it will also have direct effects on their business operations. Every company, from the largest to the smallest, needs to address adaptation and build resiliency into their business and their strategy. Those who do will find that they are future-proofing their business and building resiliency and a competitive edge into their operations.
Firms should assess risks and vulnerabilities, as well as opportunities, at a country level. There are transition risks, policy changes and technology changes, and there are also physical risks, from extreme weather events and dwindling resources.
The Earth’s water resources, for example, will alter with climate change. Precipitation will become more frequent and more intensive in some regions, and businesses need to be ready with flood defenses at key locations. Assets or operations below a certain height above sea level, often as little as five metres, will be at risk. Similarly, ports and surrounding infrastructure may be at risk, affecting your supply chain. If you’re in a water-intensive industry, you need to think about how water availability may change. In agriculture, you need to think about sea rises.
Net-zero targets will need to be backed up with methodologies for implementation. Carbon pricing will become more prevalent, starting with larger companies, but moving down the emission thresholds with time. Some jurisdictions, including Europe and the US, are considering carbon border taxes that will require products and services to be below a certain common threshold. These trends will eventually affect all companies, but even initially, it will be important for smaller companies along the supply chain to conform to the standards of larger corporations. Small firms may actually find that their products gain a competitive edge if they build in sustainability from the start. Larger companies may find it difficult to pivot an entire product cycle towards sustainability, but by starting out sustainable, small firms will already be in a prime position to benefit.
For SMEs, sustainability should be woven into your mission statement and your purpose as a company. Embedding sustainability from the beginning means it grows with you, develops and evolves along with the company. Not all ESG issues will apply to all companies, so look for where your company can really make a difference. Are you more involved in the environmental side? Should you be more focused on climate change or pollution? Do your operations affect water and soil or plastics? Or are you a services company? What are the effects in terms of your employment quality, or health and safety?
There’s also significant overlap among the environmental, social and governance factors. Climate change issues that affect people tend to become social issues, for example. Environmental issues are managed at a corporate level, and that’s part of governance. Bad governance can also affect people again, bringing it back to a social issue. It’s clear that the silos of E, S and G are not always helpful – instead, you should think about sustainability issues as a whole.
When looking for a place to start, the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals help to capture that overlap. They cover many different areas of sustainable development, often from the human perspective, but also natural capital, biodiversity, and related issues. They range over poverty, global hunger, equality, education, clean water, affordable energy, and much more, offering a useful framework to help you prioritise your businesses’ sustainability goals.
The SDGs are also recognisable and aligning your ESG goals to such a well-known standard will help others to benchmark your business.
There are many drivers in embracing sustainability; protecting the company reputation, customer satisfaction, improving stakeholder relationships, responding to investor pressure or simply a sense of responsibility and concern. These drivers are present for large and small enterprises, and whatever the size of business, it must be recognised that sustainability is a journey.
Many firms look at internal operational sustainability first – for example, using less energy or less paper, or producing less waste. As sustainability develops within a company, it will encompass risk management and the needs of stakeholders, from customers to suppliers to investors. And eventually, sustainability becomes strategic. It becomes an integral part of your corporate strategy, so that every single part of a decision at a corporate level has sustainability in mind.
As regulators make first voluntary and then mandatory rules on disclosure for listed companies, other businesses will need to follow. There are already countries writing ESG-related amendments to legislation, such as the Companies Act in the UK. This signals a shift that will embed ESG across the whole economy, as governments strive to reach national targets.
Journeying towards sustainability is challenging, but it is also rewarding. Companies that don’t make ESG an integral part of their mission will find it difficult to compete, but those that do will have a sustainable business that is forward-looking and resilient.
To find out how HSBC could support your sustainability goals, speak to your relationship team.
Large-scale global change, seismic shifts in the design process, the imminent rise of the metaverse – these revelations will enact massive transformation in the realm of design over the next decade. Who will be a designer? What will we design? And how will we do it?
PALO IT’s Future of Design 2030 report digs into these questions from business and consumer perspectives, offering actionable strategy you can implement here and now to tap into the innovation of tomorrow. Topics covered include:
3600 tonnes of food is wasted every, single, day, in the city of Hong Kong. Coupled with this, 47% of store disposed food is leftover bread, expected to completely exhaust landfill capacity in Hong Kong by the end of 2022. With the coronavirus, the pick and go model that Hong Kong’s bakeries relied on has seen reduced demand, but supply stands firm. Because of this, food waste has been increasing at a fast rate, with more supermarkets and bakeries finding unsold bread at closing ties. Simultaneously, Hong Kong is one of the heaviest beer drinkers in the world – with 30+ billion litres of annual beer consumption! This growing craft beer trend and rise of consumers looking for new tastes while prioritising sustainability gave birth to Breer as a food upcycling venture that collects otherwise unsold and uneaten bread, and uses it to brew local craft beer. Anchored around their aim to serve the ask of UNSDG#12 & #13 by promoting sustainable drinking across Hong Kong, this beer brand wants to involve the Hong Kong’s community to take a part in this food upcycling revolution.
Being staunch proponents of the phrase – ‘Waste is not waste until you waste it’, Breer is revolutionary because it reintroduces otherwise wasted food back into the supply chain, supports local businesses, and presents customers with exactly what they wanted. The start-up was born out of the mutual passion of its then student co-founders to alleviate food wastage, illustrating the ease with which one can make a sustainable choice. You don’t need to change your consumption habits – you simply need to opt for the option that makes a difference, with every, single, sip.
Repeated outbreaks of Covid-19 have raised health concerns among elderly. RHT Industries Limited has therefore invented a new product – “NCCO Anti-Epidemic Mobile Cabin”, to improve the situation in Elderly Homes.
With this Mobile Cabin installed, even if Covid-19 patients are not immediately transferred to hospitals, they can temporarily stay in this isolated safe space. This can prevent an outbreak within the nursing home, also provides a safe space for dining and resting for staffs.
Key Features of NCCO Anti-Epidemic Mobile Cabin
Dr Robin Kennish, Director Corporate Sustainability & Climate Change – ERM
Summer Chen, Senior Consultant, Climate Change – ERM
Hong Kong Stock Exchange (HKEX) has been advancing requirements for sustainability reporting for listed companies with the intention of raising the bar to meet prevailing international practice. The HKEX Environmental Social Governance (ESG) Reporting requirements came into effect in July 2020 and since then HKEX published (November 2021) new guidance on climate disclosure to facilitate reporting in line with the Task Force of Climate-related financial Disclosure (TCFD). Hong Kong’s Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) also finalised (August 2021) amendments to the Fund Manager Code of Conduct (FMCC) that will require fund managers to take climate related risks into consideration in the investment and risk management process.
Internationally, there have been three major sustainability disclosure proposals released earlier this year to guide on how to report on, and assess, climate-related risks. They come at a pivotal time in corporate disclosure and have significant implications for investors and issuers in Hong Kong.
While the SEC, ESRS, and ISSB proposals deal with similar material, they differ in certain aspects, including their enforceability, jurisdictional scope, substantive scope of coverage, and detailed requirements. The Evolution of Sustainability Disclosure was jointly authored by the SustainAbility Institute by ERM (‘ERM’), ERM’s primary platform for thought leadership on sustainability, and Persefoni, the leading carbon management and accounting platform. It profiles these three proposals, focusing on the components related to climate-related risk and opportunity disclosure and the use of the TCFD guidance.
Key takeaways and implications for HK corporate disclosure include:
– SEC: Comments are due June 17, 2022
– ISSB: Comments are due July 29, 2022
– ESRS: Comments on ESRS are due by August 8, 2022
ERM and Persefoni encourage corporate issuers, investors, and other stakeholders to participate in the public consultation process for these proposals to help drive momentum towards a consistent global reporting baseline.
Hong Kong EV Power Limited was found in 2010 and is currently the leading EV charging solution provider and E-CHARGE (HK) charging network operator in Hong Kong. In 2014, EV Power Group was formed and nowadays has extended the business coverage to 28+ major cities in Mainland China including Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenzhen, Hangzhou and Chengdu, and has been serving 6,000+ residential and commercial buildings, shopping arcades & other premises with 22,000+ charging points in service.
The primary goal of the Group is to promote the use of EV in the region. Our key customers and partners include Governments, Hong Kong International Airport, Power Utilities, Land Developers, Property Managers, Global EV Manufacturers and Importers, Commercial Fleets, Corporates and Private Users.
The Company provides One-Stop Service for EV Charging with our comprehensive products and services in the business regions including:
1) Design and Supply : EV Chargers, EV Charging Management Systems;
2*) Installation, Operation and Maintenance : EV Charging Stations, Customer Service, Technical Support;
3*) Cloud Application Platform : E-CHARGE Mobile App, Web Portal, User Management, Payment Solution.
Striving to create the values to our esteemed customers, we provide various EV charging solutions which will be well fit to your application. We are cordially cooperating with you in the development of INTELLIGENT, GREEN and SUSTAINABLE charging infrastructure.
Freight transportation of the future is one that is sustainable and technology-driven. ESG reporting across industries have put increasing pressure on the logistics sector to deliver on energy efficiency and environmental sustainability aspects. Challenges such as the ongoing COVID disruption and fuel concerns point at the urgency for the sector to strengthen resilience.
Efforts to develop greener options are starting to see good results. The world’s first CO2 reduction program for airfreight, RHEGREEN, was launched by Rhenus Logistics in 2019. Today, RHEGREEN remains the only product that provides insights on the emissions prior to shipping. Since then, customers have been able to improve their emission performance by knowing which lanes their emissions are higher than the average and thus they can reduce emission in future by choosing greener (RHEGREEN) options.
Building a Greener Future through Sustainable Freight
Rhenus is committed to help businesses reduce their ecological footprint as it continues to develop greener and better supply chain solutions. In the area of ocean freight, Rhenus will neutralize the carbon emissions of all of its less-than-container-load (LCL) products by 2030. Other ongoing initiatives include exploring more trade lanes across different transport modes, and working on Carbon Neutral initiatives for air freight. It undergoes an annual assessment, and has received the Silver Status for several years from EcoVadis, an independent agency that evaluates corporate social responsibility-related activities in accordance with international standards.
Rhenus continues to explore green ideas and new technologies, in collaboration with research institutions, partners and customers, to make the global supply chain more sustainable.
Swire Pacific disclosed its ambitious targets for its sustainability strategy, SwireTHRIVE in Swire Pacific’s Sustainable Development Report 2020: to achieve net zero carbon emissions, water neutrality and zero waste to landfill by 2050. The latest performance and progress in delivering the SwireTHRIVE targets can be found in its Sustainable Development Report 2021 published on 27th May 2022.
• Converted two additional revolving credit facilities totalling HK$2.2 billion into sustainability-linked loans. Sustainable finance constituted 18% of the Group’s total financing in 2021.
• Approved HK$8 million to fund trials of cleantech solutions that reduce carbon and waste at four operating companies via the Swire Pacific Sustainable Development Fund.
• Strengthened our Task Force on Climate-related Disclosures (TCFD) reporting, incorporating initial findings from our assessment of the physical climate risks to 850+ of our top value assets by insured value.
In 2021, Swire Pacific was included in the S&P Global Sustainability Yearbook 2022, which recognises top performers in corporate sustainability based on assessments of over 7,500 companies across 61 sectors. Companies must be within the top 15% of their industry to be included. Swire Pacific was also included in the 2022 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index, acknowledging the company’s commitment to creating an inclusive and supportive workplace. Swire Pacific is the only Hong Kong-headquartered company to be included.
Swire Pacific will continue to report its latest sustainable development progress through its Sustainable Development Report and other communication channels.
CLP Holdings Limited (CLP) has adopted a double materiality approach in its latest Sustainability Report and Annual Report to provide an integrated picture of the environmental, social and governance (ESG) opportunities and risks in its business.
In line with the best global reporting practices, CLP’s 2021 Sustainability Report focuses on material topics that impact on people, the environment and the economy, addressing the concerns of a diverse range of stakeholders.
In its Annual Report, CLP focuses on ESG topics that potentially create or erode its enterprise value – issues that may be of most interest to shareholders and other capital providers.
The topics were identified and confirmed through a comprehensive materiality assessment involving research into megatrends affecting CLP’s operating environment and in-depth interviews with senior management and important stakeholders.
While climate-related financial disclosures were included in CLP’s Sustainability Reports in past years, CLP published its first standalone Climate-related Disclosures Report in 2021 as interests in climate change grow.
The report adopts the four pillars recommended by the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures and was also prepared with reference to the Climate-related Disclosures Prototype, released by the IFRS Foundation-chaired Technical Readiness Working Group in 2021.
As an early adopter of integrated reporting, CLP is regularly reviewing the company’s approach to reporting as its business and operating environment continue to evolve. The double materiality approach underscores CLP’s commitment to integrate sustainability into its business strategy, and to respond to increasing stakeholder demands for greater corporate transparency.
Collaboration is one of the major elements needed to make circular economy solutions and business models successful. Circular economy is much more than just recycling. It includes new business models, such as furniture as a service, and new products, like bioplastic. It involves new ways to consider an item’s life cycle, like building a product that is long-lasting and repairable.
Finland has a history of developing circular solutions, even before the phrase “circular economy” was common. Finland has technical know-how in circular solutions and is one of the world leaders in being awarded relevant patents. Many practical circular economy solutions have also been developed in Finland, making the country a global forerunner in circularity.
Therefore, Circular Economy Hong Kong (CEHK) partnered with Asia Circular Economy Association (ACEA) and the Finnish Consulate in Hong Kong to invite experts in the circular economy fields for a webinar in mid-June. During the webinar the experts presented their view and work on sustainable fiber, textile waste, and present their views on how to establish circular business model in the textile industry with stakeholders in Europe and Asia in order to create more SDG’s with economic and environmental benefits along the way.
Getting tired of ordering here and there for your products?
Looking for a complete solution? …
Elements Branding Solutions can help you achieve your objectives with one-stop-shop, we are not just offering you a full line of packaging products with high-quality solutions but also Sustainability to achieve business goal.
Apparently, sustainability is the biggest hot topic to all the brands now and Elements’ raw materials and products meet all the international standards including recycled contents, biodegradable, compostable, FSC, etc, that help reducing the impact on the environment, so that our customers and consumers can enjoy a better quality of life.
The advantage of Elements One-Stop packaging solutions helps you making the process go from complex to simple. Just order with one reliable partner for all your needs. Whether it is supporting your e-commerce stories, or promoting your products with displays in physical stores in Apparels, Electronics, Luxuries, Cosmetics, etc…. At Elements we know what to do with it.
Contact us today, we’ll help you discover the perfect sustainable packaging.