HK SFC inaugurates Forum on Sustainability Disclosures
The Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) held its inaugural Forum on Sustainability Disclosures today to gather market views on developing a sustainability disclosure ecosystem for Hong Kong, and to build industry preparedness and awareness of sustainability reporting against international standards.
The forum focused on the benefits and challenges of adopting international sustainability reporting and assurance standards locally. The panellists explored how ISSB-aligned (Note 1) disclosures enable market participants to capture enormous fund-raising opportunities and underscored the need for increased public-private partnerships to address data gaps. In addition, they highlighted the importance of leveraging technology to meet regulatory expectations, address reporting challenges, and enhance efficiency and transparency.
The Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr Christopher Hui, said in his keynote address that Hong Kong, as an international financial centre, needs to align its corporate sustainability-related disclosures with the global baseline, and today’s forum serves as a timely platform to raise awareness and build capacity for the industry on sustainable development, particularly on the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) Sustainability Disclosure Standards (SDS). “On this, the Chief Executive's 2023 Policy Address announced the Government’s collaborative work with relevant financial regulators and stakeholders to develop a roadmap, which will guide the adoption of IFRS SDS for Hong Kong's financial services, aligning them with international standards,” Mr Hui noted.
“Hong Kong is taking a pragmatic and proportionate approach towards adopting international sustainability corporate reporting standards,” said Ms Julia Leung, the SFC’s Chief Executive Officer. “While meeting international standards, we must take into account local circumstances and industry preparedness and capabilities.”
“ISSB is pleased that The Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited is progressing its work to update its sustainability disclosures framework for listed entities building on the ISSB standards,” said Ms Sue Lloyd, Vice Chair of the ISSB and another keynote speaker. “It also looks forward to the work of the Green and Sustainable Finance Cross-Agency Steering Group to develop a comprehensive Hong Kong roadmap for adopting the ISSB standards in Hong Kong.”
More than 200 leaders from the financial industry, listed companies and industry associations, as well as policymakers from Hong Kong, the Mainland and the Asia-Pacific region attended the forum.