ESG – an expense or a profit?

Climate change is a burning issue. Human activity is recognised as the main of climate change. The harmful act is burning fossil fuels that release large amounts of carbon dioxide and greenhouse gas and are trapped in the atmosphere. We never thought our presence would change our planet to such a level, though we hear it on the news daily. It is our time to learn how to minimise our impacts while making our living. Governmental, commercial, industrial, and individual. It is not only for us but also for the next generation. We would not want our next generation to live in a messy world.

For Hong Kong, Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2030+ had issued to engage the business sector and community to combat climate change in full force and sets an ambitious target of carbon intensity reduction by 65% to 70% by 2030. In 2021, it developed to Hong Kongs Climate Action 2050, embracing four NetZero strategies—NetZero electricity generation, energy-saving and green buildings, green transport, and waste reduction.

While at the governance side, the Companies Ordinance requires Hong Kong companies to include descriptions of the company’s principal risks and uncertainties, environmental policies and performance in their directors’ reports for each financial year (for a public company). The company must comply with relevant laws and regulations that significantly impact the company. Just as importantly, a company’s relationships with its employees, customers and suppliers would substantially affect the company and on which its success depends.

Keeping up with the world trend of transparency, the Hong Kong Exchange has been part of the global movement to disclose ESG performance. The listing rule has been upgraded to requiring listed companies to make mandatory public disclosures about their ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance) performance and risk management on ESG report annually, starting from 2016.

In combating climate change, benchmarking is needed to evaluate progress and performance. Benchmarking requires data. Without data, performance cannot be quantified, and targets cannot be planned accordingly. Without a clear goal, policies and strategies cannot be formulated, let alone implemented.

The first is regarding the data. Scoping climate change-related data is complicated. Here below are examples of Greenhouse Gas emission scopes. Greenhouse Gas emission is one of the most significant contributors to climate change.

  • Scope 1 Greenhouse Gas Emission: Direct emission data includes the stationary combustion sources (e.g., electricity, heat or steam generation), mobile combustion sources (e.g., motor vehicles and ships), and the use of refrigerants (e.g., HFC and PFC) and any other emission activities. 
  • Scope 2 Greenhouse Gas Emission: Energy indirect emission data, such as the electricity purchased from electricity suppliers and the gas purchased from the energy company, can be inputted and calculated through the system.
  • Scope 3 Greenhouse Gas Emission: Throughout the supply chain, Indirect emission data like landfill gas generation, business travel, electricity consumption by freshwater and wastewater processing, paper consumption and other emission activities are suggested and included in the current system.

The following issue is that people face problems when compiling reports for their company, such as complicated Unit Conversion for non-ESG Background Colleagues. Emission Factors and Standard Requirements are constantly changed. Internally, staff are using different formats of data collection.

Hence, companies invested in ESG Dashboard that can handle Unit Conversion and emission factors and simplify data collection amongst group companies/subsidiaries. Because accuracy is essential as this will affect the decision-making. Imagine that you have the wrong data about electricity consumption and the incorrect action/remediation to the problems. In the long term, it’s becoming a substantial wrongful total energy consumption calculation. The dashboard can support companies handling complicated data collection, streamlining the process, and generating accurate ESG reports.

Photo Above: ESG Dashboard handling complicated data collection, streamlining the process, and generating accurate ESG reports

After all, In the context of a company reporting or investing, would you say ESG is an expense or a profit? This dilemma is like when your room cooler is broken, you go to the shop and have choices of 1) room cooler of old model which is not an energy-saving type, and 2) the room cooler granted with Energy Efficiency Label. The former is cheaper than the latter, but in the long run, the latter induces lower electricity bills. Which room cooler would you choose? On the technical side, we always perform a life cycle assessment – a cradle-to-grave analysis to assess impacts associated with a product from raw materials extraction to manufacturing, distribution and use. We consider all the stages of thinking if it’s “worth” making it. When we put this concept and practice into ESG reporting and investing, paying a bit more upfront on governance tool—the ESG dashboard, discovering the issues and controlling it through effective ESG data management. It will result in savings, enjoying lower operation and reputation costs, and costs to the environment.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday Newer,YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

What is technology Vs Sustainable Development Goals?

We have heard many about these terms: “Climate Change, NetZero, Decarbonisation”. There is Paris Agreement, nations targeting to combat climate change by 2030, 2050 etc. A lot of sustainable infrastructures are established. They are labelling like Green Buildings, Energy-efficiency labels, etc. Many governments’ funding schemes relate to innovative green technologies and awards. And, because of COVID-19 and the technology development, innovative measures are required nowadays and in the future to combat all sorts of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues. Digitalisation, Information and Communications Technology are those innovative solutions, and no one can escape from this trend. SDG 9 – Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure will become another focus on climate change.

What is the role of ICT in sustainability?

Information and Communications Technology (ICT) can spread information around the world, facilitating people to reach the information and education and therefore transforming their lives by having more knowledge. The mass will make the world change.

The ICT practice lies in the goal of economic growth. An increase in technology application is one of the ways to increase in the production of goods and services in an economy. In recent years, especially in Covid time, we’ve heard a lot about the Internet to provide services, such as education, online shopping, and food delivery, for our convenience and health and safety. This is precisely the use of ICT.

Back in 2012, OECD launched a study about “ICT investments and productivity: Measuring the contribution of ICTS to growth”. The study revealed that “ICT producing industries account for no less than two-thirds of total factor productivity (TFP) growth in Germany, Slovenia and the United Kingdom, about 60% in the United States and just below 50% in France and the Netherlands. ” The more modern example is banking service going virtual – online banking, contributing service distribution to a broader scope of audience and territories.

Other than economic growth, nowadays, we all talk about sustainability, ESG. ICT contributes a lot to sustainability and ESG. We apply ICT in managing ESG factors on the dashboard. The company can use the dashboard to manage and monitor the ESG performance for the company itself and its subsidiaries. Environmental and social are two of the dominant factors in sustainability and ESG. ICT in environmental is about environmental data management and monitoring plus the Internet Of Things (IoT). ICT in the social topic is about engagement, inclusion and diversity, such as using 4D virtual reality to educate non-specialists and the general public about the complex data and environment.

Adopting ICT can avoid being suspected of greenwashing too. Greenwashing is a very notorious image that companies would not want to bear. ESG impact is considered, e.g. for a product from raw materials extraction, production, distribution and use. The whole value/supply chain involves different companies and staff from diverse backgrounds. We cannot assume all staff from other experiences, and companies know well about ESG and how to implement it. There’s a technical side of skillsets and knowledge. Not everyone can comprehensively understand the ESG issues and describe them well enough.

For example, the product manufacturer may be different from the one responsible for the packaging. The marketing person may not understand what ESG matters in promoting the products. And the logistics that we often neglect. The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has produced “Guidance for Making environmental claims on goods and services” in the UK, advising what and when is misleading the environmental claims. Before claiming the product/service is green, we need to ensure the necessary aspects are examined with proof. Data is the proof.

All-round ESG awareness and education are vital. ICT can spread the message and knowledge widely—the ICT captures, aggregates, stores, analyses, displays, and exports performance data. The accumulated data proof represents the corporate action. ICT itself is an industry. The new market/business model can potentially be explored because of the application of ICT.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday Newer,YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

What is acoustics Vs Sustainable Development Goals?

ANewR starts our story with Acoustics. Participating in acoustics projects since 2008, let’s explore the meaning of acoustics in the sustainability movement.

(1) What is the role of acoustics in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? How can acoustics contribute to sustainability?

When we talk about “Environment”, the first thing that comes to mind is the greenery vs the waste, the blue sky vs the air pollution, and the crystal-like water vs the mud-like water. The acoustics is invisible; still, it is not hidden—We do not see acoustics, but it does not mean it is not affecting us. We know that noise is bad for health. Noise can cause elevated heart rate and blood pressure. Noise can alter our immunity system too. It is common for us to experience sleep disturbance with significant problems. To the extreme, we would lose our hearings to a substantial noise level. In this way, it is no doubt to say acoustics is about our health and safety. Human beings must stay healthy to contribute to the economy and society.

While innovative acoustic development has inspired us a lot, the role of acoustics in SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) should not be purely about our health. Let’s take an example of one of the marvellous acoustic instruments, the Acoustic Camera. It helps us detect noise in a complex environment. In our exceptional case, an acoustic camera was used to detect the faulty rail wheels to avoid causing significant casualties to the public. The potential utilisation in preventing problems do us great help. Health and safety are social issues.

Photo above: Acoustic Camera as maintenance and quality control solutions

On the other hand, city planning also involves soundscape—the acoustic ecosystem can be designed through analysis of the big sound data and seamless integration with the city planners, architects, environmental consultants, landscape architects, and psychologists. The city design via big sound data analysis facilitates our achievement toward sustainable cities.

Photo Above: Soundscape for urban design

We do not see much mention of acoustics in any SDGs. However, the real-world practice shows us acoustics is part of the sustainable movement, helping people maintain health and safety (SDG 3) and develop sustainable, liveable cities (SDG 11) via the benefit of big sound data and innovative technology.

(2) What are the challenges facing the acousticians?

There is a quote, “If a craftsman wants to do good work, he must first sharpen his tools.” We do not witness noise by eyes. And noise is omnidirectional; it is hard for human ears to find noise direction. That is why we need tools to assist us in doing our job. Acousticians’ best handy tools are unquestionably additional pair of ears—sound level meter, noise compass, acoustic camera. These tools are innovative in their invention and highly useful too. Reliable tools improve our work efficiency. The experience of the acousticians also defines the work quality and accuracy. If you have experience in measuring noise, you will know what to be aware of—the surroundings, the background noise, the obstacles, and the position.

Acousticians tend to be very technical people. It can be challenging to explain to others what they find out from the equation. Conventionally, the noise model can be descriptive type, full of text and numbers.

(3) How shall we equip our young acousticians?

Young acousticians learn acoustics concepts and theory in school, practise noise measurement in their first job, and accumulate analytical skills over time. Nowadays, we are experiencing the metaverse—a virtual world network. Could we make good use of this incredible technology with acoustics? We find that acoustics are very traditional in the presentation in some countries. The report is wordy and full of technical data that non-specialists find impossible to understand on their read. If the acousticians contribute by participating in the development of acoustical 3-dimension (3D)/4-dimension (4D), acoustics has a new way to go to the future. In Asia, especially when talking about Hong Kong, they have been developing a 3D Environmental Assessment for over ten years. Noise is envisioned in a 3D/4D model for public engagement and education purposes. The visualisation brings the information inside out. It enhances the ability to decide on project commencement by revealing the noise mitigation effect before and after.

Photo Above: 3D Environmental Impact Assessment

(4) Where can talents acquire such skills?

Universities and institutions are prone to support and succeed in passing down knowledge. They will help you master the fundamentals of acoustics. In contrast, the market development is diverse and fast. Talent’s experience also depends on the culture of the organisation they work for—whether the organisation is innovative or sticks to the conventional. Acousticians could learn more by expanding their horizons from the projects they handle.

As acousticians, their minds are full of acoustic equations and numbers. They even may not realise the actual impact of their calculations. Impressively, we had a project helping acousticians realise the result of acoustic products. We utilised 4D virtual reality to visualise and illustrate the effectiveness of the acoustic window product. It was an exciting project, seeing young professionals engaging so much in learning the acoustic window effectiveness.

Photo Above: Applying 3D/4D and acoustics to education acousticians

(5) What can we do to create more positive impacts?

The rise of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) brings us together. We can share and express without boundary limitations, and we learn openly. We believe that incorporating environmental knowledge with another discipline (today, we talked about information technology) accelerates innovation in sustainability.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday Newer,YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

How to get on track in transforming construction with global responsibility

Environmental good is always precious to preserve, but what does it mean in practice? As environmental impact assessment practitioners, market players still struggle with cost-effective, modernised, scientific approaches to achieving overall environmental, social, and governance (ESG) on the decarbonisation roadmap. We want to help the industry comprehend ESG implications and the latest digitalisation development reaching eco-goals.

Where do we start? Let’s begin with the market.

According to Future of Construction: A Global Forecast for Construction to 2030, global construction output is foreseen to rise by 6.6% in 2021. Government stimuli and residential demands will increase construction by 42% by 2030. What the sector growth implies is a greater risk of pollution and waste. The current 40% of the world’s global greenhouse gas emissions from the construction sector have covered a wider environment – the construction supply chain.

The roadmap is the decarbonisation journey requiring a lot of footsteps to achieve. Each footprint is associated with stakeholders’ enactment. Stakeholder groups in construction sector: The project sponsor, Contractors and subcontractors, Materials suppliers, Designers, Employees, The Authorities, Professional bodies, Communities, End users, etc.

Why is supply chain important in decarbonisation? In the construction sector, from raw materials to steelworks and concrete production, the suppliers may not be listed companies, but they are in the supply chain affecting ESG performance.

Each company has their carbon footprint. So have their suppliers. Let’s take building materials companies’ ESG risks as examples. S&P Global ratings unveil building materials companies consume substantial fuels for production, resulting in greenhouse emissions and other kinds of pollution.

What do we do to get on track in transforming businesses with global responsibility?

Law enforcement elevates the environmental consultancy industry – Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) Ordinance. Environmental Licence Permit holder is liable for breaching, including all their suppliers’. There are emerging needs other than EIA, such as ESG reporting, roadmap, implementation plan.

Listed construction companies are now reporting on ESG matters. In 2016, the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (the HKEX”) raised a requirement for listed companies in Hong Kong to report their ESG performance. Supply chain management is one of the reporting areas.

Source: HKEX

Practitioners have a responsibility to advise their clients about ESG matters of their construction project. Because ESG ricks, including ESG supply chain risks have negative effects on 1) non-alignment with investor values, 2) operational risks, and 3) financial risks. (source: UNPRI.org)

It is also not a straight road towards the new direction. For construction sector, we observe numbers of challenges for them to reach comprehensive ESG targets. They are:

1) The project stakeholders have to handle a high volume of environmental data

2) It is time-consuming and labour-intensive for data collection and distribution

3) It is a pain point to identify the source

4) Data storage capacity is always a problem

5) It is difficult to communicate effectively to project sponsors and stakeholders

6) It is disputable to assign responsibility when handling the complaint

Can technology disruption help the challenges? Yes, technology can help a great deal. Technology advancement enables web-based, online, open system architecture. “Control Centre” Concept allows one-stop EM&A workflow management. Secured remote access, real-time data reporting & data analysis, and real-time event/action triggering & warning secure data integrity, which eventually leads to close-to-the-reality decision-making. Preventive maintenance echos with compliance management. Smart manufacturing streamlines sound facility management.

We believe in the power of digitalisation. Digitalisation powers communication, interaction, scalability, intelligence, and integration. Learn more about our key solutions for your eco, profitable goals.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday Newer,
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

How do we tie the relation between data integrity and environmental protection

Ethics rule our behaviours. We see ethical marketing, ethical company governance, ethical issues at the workplace, and many more in the community. As an environmental consultant, what are our ethical practices to ensure things go the right way?

According to the National Association of Environmental Professionals, integrity is one of the keystones of being a professional environmentalist, from collecting environmental data, interpreting the data, presenting the data in reports, and engaging scientific methods in research, planning, design, management, and review of activities.

Why do we pick data to tie integrity and the environment? Data integrity represents the overall data accuracy, completeness, and consistency during its lifecycle. Data authenticity, entirety, and transparency matter when there is an unauthorised data alteration in the database. The inaccurate data shifts the decision makers’ thinking path, causing poor judgment.

As the environmental protection trend goes, infrastructure project proponents, including the builders, the operators are obliged to monitor and manage the environment where the facilities are sitting. The environmental ordinance has pre-set scopes and parameters as a benchmark to scrutinise the impacts. The facility nature defines which regulation the facility should comply with. In Hong Kong, we have diverse environmental ordinances to fulfil – air, water, waste, noise, hazardous chemicals, ozone layer, mercury and more. The environmentalists will scientifically conduct the measurement by collecting environmental data to analyse the facilities’ environmental performance and test whether they comply with the regulation.

That is how we connect the relationship between data integrity and environmental protection.

The need for integrated environmental monitoring boosts the use of data management platforms. The data management platforms incorporate the Internet-of-Things (IoT) sensory device to receive real-time environmental data and synchronise the data to the online platform through the Internet. The IT security secures the network from illegal penetration. The data is untouched by third-party through the control-centre monitoring – this is the main reason why the data remains a virtue.

One of the environmental IoT development is the noise compass. The three-dimensional Noise Compass can alert the project staff by selecting alarms for combinations of sound pressure levels
and incident angles. Thus, we can exclude sections of the measurement when the source location is outside the interest region. For example, when Leq is above 75 dB, and the sound is coming from the construction site, excluding the parts of a measurement contaminated by railway noise from the LDEN calculation.

The integrated environmental monitoring platform is the communication bridge between the IoT device and the project stakeholders. The system tracks the critical events. The project proponent applies rules to alert key stakeholders if over the limit. The platform can also be enhanced with visualisation. The visualisation further streamlines the environmental monitoring works with modules of site overview visualisation, CCTV Livestream, various ecological tracking and project management.

On the one hand, it manages spatial data, non-structured data, structure data, IoT data, CCTV streaming data, and analyse data. On the other hand, it aids the project stakeholders by viewing the project through the interactive chart and map, dual charts and maps comparison, 2D Drones Orthophoto, time-varied Animation, geo-tag information input and Photo gallery. Customised dashboard and back-end analysis is a plus to the users to diagnose the data for reporting. None of the above environmental visualisations and reports would be correctly built without proper data import.

ANewR Consulting Limited is exhilarated to be commissioned to design, develop, and maintain a one-stop 3D visualisation platform for IWMF, Hong Kong’s flagship waste management facilities – The Integrated Waste Management Facilities. The Integrated Waste Management Facilities (IWMF), the municipal waste incineration plant, is located at Shek Kwu Chau. IWMF will be built on an artificial island, which means reclamation is inevitable. Besides the terrestrial ecology of Shek Kwu Chau, Shek Kwu Chau is inhabited by about 300 rehabilitators and staff of the Society for the Aid and Rehabilitation of Drug Addicts (SARDA). Comprehensive environmental monitoring is imperative for the project’s hit without adversely impacting the ecology and the inhabitants. And, this is why we encourage integrated environmental monitoring practice.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday Newer,YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

What do we do for our client in the land contamination assessment

At the beginning of 2021, BBC News reported that the oil giant was sued for polluting the community. The news illustrates the corporate effort in maintaining good health in the operating area concerning its reputation. The neglect would cause the lawsuit and cost penalty for the improper supply chain management. It is wrong to think local community and regulations are not under the corporate scope. Apart from achieving Sustainable Development Goals and avoiding penalties, health and safety are other critical reasons to pre-assess the land condition before the development.

Redeveloping a place is typical worldwide. New construction taking up the used ground for a new purpose revitalises the land – from contaminated land to sustainable urban development. In the US, the determining factors are founded on the release volume, total population exposed, proximity or impact to groundwater aquifers, drinking water wells contaminated, source water protection areas, unique exposure pathways, or environmental justice communities.

Because of the land limitation, urban residential redevelopment is the most cases in Hong Kong. We have regulations assessing the land for reuse, changing the land use, especially from industrial to residential use. For business continuity, another spot required by law for regular checkups is the petrol filling station. Petroleum leakage and seeping would likely cause pollution, impacting the local ecosystem significantly.

Environmental consultants support the clients in site appraisal, investigation, and remediation suggestions in the land contamination assessment. Taking petrol filling station as an example, the checkups of leaks from pipework, tanks and offset fill pipes, the operations such as spills during customer refuelling, filling underground storage tanks and overfilling portable containers are the conceivable reason for land contamination. You can picture how it was operated underlies the potential adverse impact on the future redevelopments.

Key Chemicals of Concern (COCs) are the parameters that environmental consultants would look at from the laboratory analytical results. The environmental consultants interpret the results for the clients, let them understand the issue, recommend remediation action, evaluate remediation alternatives, design and operation of remediation, implement and monitor the programme. In this case, independent consultants are essential to ensure the authenticity and integrity of the reports.

Learn with us for more.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday Newer,YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)

Communications mandatory for ESG performance disclosure

We gradually see more countries imposing disclosure terms on a company’s environmental and sustainability performance. Authentic performance is of great importance to be the leader in your working industry. People who want to be the first in the world could lead by an invention, innovation, and creativity developed for products or services. It also could be the first move to enhance environmental practice through legislation. New Zealand makes climate reporting compulsory. In Hong Kong, a revised ESG Reporting Guide (“Guide”) has been launched by the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited, effective from 1 July 2020. Companies will need to extend their techniques to respond to the latest reporting challenges, such as how, when, and what they need to report. It is a move addressing the growing concern of climate change issues. An outstanding leader can act as a driving force to encourage good things to happen. ESG disclosure becomes a key factor for forward-looking companies and investor decisions.

The government policies issued worldwide have demonstrated the growing demand in disclosing decision-useful data. For industries, the environmental data has a significant advantage for national climate programs and economic instruments such as carbon taxes and emissions trading. Energy supplies and engird intensive companies are regularly criticised for their emission performance. Quantitative data is of great value in both sustainability factors and economic administration. Here below are few examples of climate-related data disclosures that increasingly common in reporting provisions since the 2000s (Carrots & Sticks Report, 2020):

  • Mandatory GHG Accounting System (2005), issued by Ministry of Environment, Japan
  • Green Posting System (GHG emissions and energy use) (2012), issued by Financial Services Commission, South Korea
  • GHG Monitoring Regulation (2014), issued by Ministry of Environment and Urbanization, Turkey
  • Circular No. 52 Law N 20.780 / Carbon Tax (2014), issued by Ministries of Finance and Environment, Chile
  • Energy Transition Law (institutional investors, banks, and listed companies to report on climate risks, 2015), issued by the Ministry of Environment, France
  • National GHG Emission Reporting Regulations (2017), issued by the Department of Environmental Affairs, South Africa
Photo above: Carrots & Sticks report 2020

Besides the regulation and economic factors, communication between the companies and the stakeholders is a task that can never miss. This is the communication strategy to inform your investors, potential investors, and stakeholders about how you perform. The long-standing impression and reputation matter to the investors and potential investors when they are in a maze among investment options. It is also about community relations, which you find your operation area is at. Without utilising the diverse communication channel, the company could find it hard to engage stakeholders, investors, and potential investors thoroughly. Through various ways, the stakeholder engagement channels by annual reporting, periodic reports, investor briefs, newsletters, press releases, and web announcements and engagement events.

Photo above: (Form Carrots & Sticks Report) Disclosures venue referenced by reporting provision: 2013, 2016 and 2020 (expanded breakdown)

We are coming into the digital age, effective and efficient communications are the great interest the data and format would be delivered to stakeholders reliably, comparably, and timely. How to operate the communications for ESG (Environmental, Social, Governance)? Here below are some tips for you:

  1. Green publishing – eco-friendly paper type and ink, graphic design optimisation, summary factsheet, sustainable packaging, and logistic methods.
  2. Digital engagement – mini-games through social media and web, Whatsapp stickers, web accessibility, and interactive PDF, video production, e-form, animated CSR report,
  3. Events and activities – staff awareness program,
  4. Gifts and premium – green lifestyle items
  5. Awards and recognition – standard achievement

ESG is more than data reporting. The reporting is a communication tool to engage stakeholders, inform stakeholders of the company performance. Beyond reporting, the company has to have actual action on the ESG attainment. If not, there will be no meaningful data to complete the ESG reporting. A consultancy service would benefit the company to comprehend the environmental status achieved more than a reporting scheme. A trustful consultancy service comprises a project manager, coordinator, and marketer in charge of planning, executing, controlling the timeline, being the focal point of communications, and engaging stakeholders by an integrated approach. From strategic advisory, gap analysis, and content analysis to raw data conversion into KPI by ESG Dashboard, these are decisive steps to guarantee ESG attainment’s excellence.

Photo above: ESG Dashboard assists the project owner in effectively organising all data in one reporting platform.
Photo above: The lecture – Effective ESG Disclosure Strategies Essential to Success aims to update the trends of ESG disclosure strategies with industrial, professional insights.

By: ANewR Consulting Limited, a digital environmental consultant headquartered in Hong Kong since 2008. Our expertise has grown into the context of air and water qualities, noise, green building, waste management, and remediation. With extensive know-how in environmental planning and assessment, feasibility study and policy review, ecological design, monitoring, and audit (EM&A), ANewR has matured to be a leading management consultancy. Standing in the digital transformation reign, ANewR has participated in various environmental digital projects – interactive 3D visualisation, immersive automation virtual environment, Virtual reality, automation system, and monitoring platforms.
(Website: https://anewr.com, LinkedIn: ANewR Consulting Group, Twitter: ANewR – Everyday Newer,
YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCnpvmxnR9hbNxytSfBdfV8Q/videos)