PolyU launches the Hong Kong Business Sustainability Index

The Index was launched on 1 December following the announcement of the index results in a ceremony held at Hotel ICON in Hong Kong.

The Sustainability Management Research Centre (SMRC) in the Department of Management and Marketing at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has compiled the Hong Kong Business Sustainability Index (HKBSI) with the support of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS) and the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC).

HKBSI aims at encouraging companies listed in Hong Kong to adopt corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a progressive model for achieving business sustainability. Based on the publicly available information on CSR and sustainability of the fifty constituent companies of the Hang Seng Index (HSI) as of 17 March 2015, SMRC assessed the performance of individual company in three areas: CSR values, CSR practice and CSR impact, as well as their contributions to economic, social and environmental sustainability. In future, SMRC will compile the HKBSI and announce the results on an annual basis in order to monitor the on-going development and performance of companies on business sustainability, with an updated constituent companies list of the HSI.

In the ceremony, Professor Timothy W. Tong, President of PolyU said, “Sustainable development is one of the major focuses of education and research in PolyU. We have been engaged with different sectors of the society to maintain and improve socio-ecological health and our social well-being in a systematic and collaborative ways”. Professor Tong cited that SMRC has leveraged the resources of the Faculty of Business and its partners on innovative research related to sustainability management. “We will make continuous effort on knowledge transfer and entrepreneurship promotion with the purpose of fostering sustainable development of a wider community.” He added.

Mr. Bernard Chan, Chairperson of HKCSS said “Over the past few years, there is a significant growth in the number of Hong Kong companies released sustainability-related information publicly. The HKBSI is an effective tool to motivate their achievements on sustainability.” Mr. Chan encouraged all companies, no matter large or small corporations, to use the index as a benchmark for making further contributions to the growing movement of sustainable business.

As one of the strategic partners of this index project, Mr. Stanley Lau, Chairman of HKPC believed that for industrial and commercial development to be sustainable, enterprises must address critical issues at the macro level, such as economic efficiency, social equity and environmental accountability.

Certificates of recognition were presented to the representatives of individual Index companies in the ceremony. They also participated in a joint pledge to engage in CSR. Please refer to Annex A for the HKBSI’s top 20 constituent companies.

Following the ceremony, Director of SMRC, Professor Carlos Lo shared the index results and introduced the “On-Line Business Sustainability Reporting Platform” at the seminar today. He explained that the HKBSI was compiled between May and August 2015. By using the ‘Values–Practice–Impact’ assessment model, the overall average score of the fifty constituent companies is 41.75 points out of 100, while the mean score of top twenty Index companies is 57.25 points. Among the four assessment aspects on values, management, projects and impact, “management” is the aspect with the highest score of the top twenty Index companies at 79.65 points. Professor Lo pointed out that a holistic and stringent assessment model was adopted to compile the HKBSI, and the sustainability performance of the Index companies in different aspects was assessed in a comprehensive and critical way. Following the rising expectations of corporate social responsibility from individual stakeholders, there are always rooms for the Index companies to go the extra mile.

Professor Lo revealed that when comparing with companies in the US and Europe, quite a number of companies listed in Hong Kong are still lack of a clear CSR orientation and a proper model. But he stressed that some of individual companies are doing CSR as good as their counterparts in developed economies. The mean score is the average of the fifty index companies in their total CSR assessment. In addition, there are notable variations in the positioning, weight and practice of corporate social responsibility among these companies, which has inevitably affected the overall scores.

<Annex A>
HKBSI’s top 20 constituent companies (arranged by alphabetical order of company name):

1. Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited
2. Bank of East Asia, Limited, The
3. Cathay Pacific Airways Limited
4. China Mobile Limited
5. China Resources Power Holdings Company Limited
6. China Shenhua Energy Company Limited
7. CLP Holdings Limited
8. Hang Lung Properties Limited
9. Hang Seng Bank Limited
10. Henderson Land Development Company Limited
11. Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited
12. HSBC Holdings plc
13. Lenovo Group Limited
14. Link Real Estate Investment Trust (Formerly known as ‘The Link Real Estate Investment Trust’)
15. MTR Corporation Limited
16. New World Development Company Limited
17. Power Assets Holdings Limited
18. Sino Group
19. Sun Hung Kai Properties Limited
20. Swire Pacific Limited