HSBC Greater Bay Area ESG Index

Inaugural ESG Index in GBA

As one of China’s most open and economically vibrant areas, the GBA’s Outline Development Plan for the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area includes green development, improving people’s livelihoods as sustainable development concepts and more. HSBC has released the first GBA ESG Index in Q4 2022 to effectively reflect the status and improvement directions of sustainable development in the GBA.

Developed in partnership with China Energy Conservation and Environmental Protection Group (CECEP) Environmental Consulting Group Limited, a consultancy specialising in sustainable management as well as green and sustainable finance, the HSBC GBA ESG Index provides holistic insights into the area’s sustainable development.

The GBA ESG Index uses a combination of macro and micro methodologies and is updated quarterly. As well as the main GBA ESG Regional Index, a number of sub-indices are compiled, including City Sub-indices, Industry Sub-indices and Sub-indices by company size. The GBA ESG Index aims to objectively reflect and track the GBA’s sustainable development and its ESG.

From a macro perspective, we analyse the region, cities and industrial characteristics from five areas, namely policy, environment, economic and social development, corporate governance, and green and sustainable finance. The ESG performance of companies is evaluated from a micro perspective using the following five first-level indicators: environmental, social, governance, green and sustainable finance and external assurance. To these an adjustment indicator, ESG reputation, is added which takes negative or controversial ESG events into consideration

Q2 2023 Key Highlights

Our study shows a 3% year-on-year increase to 122.15 in the Greater Bay Area ESG Regional Index in the second quarter of 2023. Improvements have been made in the areas of economic and social development, corporate governance, and green and sustainable finance, while stability has been maintained in the areas of policy and environment.

ESG disclosure rate of GBA companies increased from 71% in 2021 to 73% in 2022, led by companies based in Hong Kong and Macao. This coincided with the tightening up of the GBA’s ESG disclosure requirements, especially with regard to climate-related issues. Our study also found that the GBA has improved its climate-related performance, with a notable improvement in the CDP (Carbon Disclosure Project) climate change scores achieved by GBA companies.

The volume of GSSS (green, social sustainability sustainability-linked) bonds issued by the GBA has continuously increased and reached a record high in Q2 2023. Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Shenzhen continued to lead the GBA GSSS bond market. According to our data, the volume of GSSS bonds issued by the three cities collectively accounted for 97% of the GBA’s total volume in Q2 2023.

The average value of the GBA ESG Industry Sub-Index increased 22% year-on-year in the second quarter of 2023, as a result of improved ESG performance across almost all sectors. Among the eight key sectors (communication services, consumer discretionary, consumer staples, energy, financials, healthcare, industrials, and real estate), industrials remains as the top-performing sector. The communication services sector, which registered the biggest increase in the number of enterprises having set carbon reduction targets or made commitments aligned with the SBTi1 during the review period, ranked second for its overall ESG performance in Q2.

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