By Ada Leung, head of ACCA China
Being a part of the Accounting for the Future global virtual conference, which was held in October, really helped to push our messages about the green economy in China and Hong Kong.
China’s success in evolving a green economy is in everyone’s interest. It is also in the interest of the accountancy profession – not just in Hong Kong or Mainland China, but globally – to play a central role in helping Chinese business adapt to the changing operational and legislative landscape.
During the conference week, ACCA China launched a report, Greening China’s Economy: Pushes and Pulls on Corporate China, which looks at how an increased focus on environmental and social performance, at international and national levels, is affecting the private sector in Mainland China and Hong Kong.
In seven chapters, the report explores the many factors that businesses need to consider – from government policies aimed at reducing carbon emissions or pollution levels, to demands from customers based outside of the country to improve labour conditions in factories, to calls from investors for greater disclosure on environmental, social and governance (ESG) topics. It’s a wide-ranging report tackling wide-ranging issues.
At our event, we had speakers such as guest of honour Christine Loh, under secretary for the environment of the Hong Kong SAR Government; speakers from PwC Hong Kong and Beijing; speakers from the Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx) and the Shanghai Stock Exchange (SSE), and speakers from businesses such as BASF, Sinopec, MTR Corporation Limited and John Swire & Sons (HK) Ltd.
I summed up the conference in Beijing by saying that sustainability performance one day may well be as important as economic performance. Hong Kong and Mainland China have worked closely like never before. China’s drive towards a green economy could be a challenge, but there are always opportunities as a result of change and as a result of challenges. It is a changing world, no doubt, but it is important for any business to be properly aware of the implications of change, and how to deal with them.