Many of the concepts around sustainable business require university-level physical or chemical engineering to understand and generate heated debate even within the green community; busy managers of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) can have a hard time navigating their way to such goals as Net Zero.
Customers and regulators are increasingly demanding compliance, however, and the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) has stepped in to add a support stream to its Transformation Sandbox (T-box) business support programme to help Hong Kong companies integrate environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives into business.
The stream is set to organise 100 free consultation meetings and serve 500 SMEs in its first year, covering manufacturing and services sector businesses such as garments, electronics, lighting, houseware and gifts, as well as transport, catering and construction.
Crucial for success
HKTDC Deputy Executive Director Dr Patrick Lau said:
“ESG is no longer simply an option, but an important success factor. The HKTDC hopes this new service will become the strongest support for local business in their ESG transformation, encouraging more SMEs to take action to achieve sustainable development goals through adopting innovative eco solutions as well as to bear social responsibilities and enhance corporate governance”.
To help SMEs navigate trends and apply ground-breaking technologies for solving long-lasting problems, the HKTDC and a number of organisations – including Business Environment Council (BEC) and Dun & Bradstreet (HK) Ltd – will provide practical advice and information on sustainability transformation through consultation and workshops. ESG registration services will be offered at a discount.
The HKTDC will join industry organisations and professional bodies in organising thematic workshops on social responsibility and corporate governance for SMEs, covering issues ranging from human resources and supply chain to risk management, cybersecurity and more.
Business Environment Council (BEC) Chief Executive Officer Mr Simon Ng said severe climate challenges meant all business sectors should immediately act to formulate roadmaps and accelerate the net-zero transition.
“BEC will lead the local business community to build a sustainable ecosystem and continue to work with different stakeholders to achieve the goal of carbon neutrality through thought-leadership, innovative solutions, policy advocacy, strategic partnership, advisory services and environmental education,” he said.
Dun & Bradstreet will offer special discounts for T-box members using the D&B ESG RegisteredTM service, to help them take the first steps towards sustainable transformation and enhance ESG data transparency, which helps firms that form part of global ESG supply chains.
Ms Michelle Mak Head of ESG and Enterprise Learning, Dun & Bradstreet (HK) Ltd, said ESG was about social responsibility and corporate governance as well as net-zero emissions. “D&B ESG RegisteredTM meets industry recognised sustainability standards such as SASB, GRI, TCFD, UN SDGs, UN PRI and CDP. Those who successfully complete the required assessment will be given a badge as a recognition of commitment to disclosing ESG data. SMEs’ efforts in ESG will help lift up corporate images and enhance competitive edges.”
The HKTDC Transformation Sandbox (T-box) is an SME support programme launched in April 2020 to help businesses enhance competitiveness and achieve transformation goals in the areas of branding, e-commerce, manufacturing and supply chain solutions and new markets.
The T-box team supports SMEs over a three-month period with advisory services, workshops, government-funding information, market knowledge and networking opportunities to help them track market trends, improve skills and expand business connections.