Green sentiment among firms in GBA
The dynamic Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA) has many energy-hungry industries, but firms are eager to adopt sustainable practices and opt for solutions from Hong Kong green service providers.
About 65% of GBA enterprises have adopted green and sustainable development practices in business operations, and about 70% said they would consider using more of Hong Kong’s green products and services over the next two years, a joint UOB and Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) research report revealed.
The report, Sustainability in the GBA: Unlocking Opportunities and Empowering Growth, revealed that the top three green practices GBA enterprises adopt include resource recycling, clean energy adoption and green office practices, notably the use of energy-efficient office equipment, paperless offices and online office systems.
GBA enterprises also acknowledged Hong Kong’s significant advantages in green building technologies, green consulting services, green financial services and expertise in green sectors and advanced technology. The firms expressed a strong willingness to explore and adopt sustainable development services offered by Hong Kong.
HKTDC Research Director Irina Fan said: “Nearly all GBA business are looking to incorporate ESG into various business aspects, which translates into an average spend of HK$370,000 (US$47,000) per company in the next two years. Now, there are about 3 million enterprises in the GBA, this could mean a scenario of HK$1 trillion ESG investment.
“With high regard for the sustainable solutions offered in Hong Kong, GBA enterprises are keen to look to Hong Kong-based green partner businesses to accelerate their sustainable practices,” she added.
About 70% of respondents considered to use or increase usage of Hong Kong’s green and sustainable solutions.” ”
Brian Lam, Chief Financial Officer and Chief Sustainability Officer at UOB Hong Kong, said: “We recognise the imperative need for GBA enterprises to incorporate sustainability practices into their business strategies. The report highlights the current insufficiency of resources, funds and unified standards towards sustainable development, which poses a challenge to the successful implementation of green transformation plans and achieving decarbonisation targets.”
The report revealed that 99.7% of surveyed GBA enterprises planned to incorporate or increase ESG elements in their operations over the next two years, demonstrating commitment to ESG practices. More than 90% of GBA enterprises intended to increase or maintain ESG-based investments over the next two years, with 30% planning an increase and 64% maintaining current investment levels.
However, 77% of GBA enterprises acknowledged that a lack of experience was a key obstacle hindering the implementation of green sustainable development, while 67% named cost pressures and 61% pointed to an absence of unified standards. .
Most respondents saw Hong Kong as likely to provide a higher level of green-related services than many comparable mainland cities. The city was seen as a particularly strong performer in green construction technology, climate risk assessment to a global standard, design consultancy services, green financial services and green technology.
A substantial number of respondents also indicated they were likely to use of a range of other green-related services, 89% for green certification and carbon emission measurement, 88% for green financial services and 86% for energy transition programmes.
The HKTDC-UOB survey was conducted in July and August this year through an online questionnaire completed by 300 leading enterprises in the 11 GBA cities.
In specific terms, about 70% of surveyed respondents considered to use or increase usage of Hong Kong’s green and sustainable solutions in next two years. More than 90% believed the city could help effectively accelerate green sustainable development within the region through the deployment of green technology (especially with regard to construction, energy efficiency and recycling) as well as via the greater availability of a variety of green financial products and services. A substantial number of respondents also indicated they were likely to use of a range of Hong Kong’s other green-related services, including green certification and carbon emission measurement (89%), green financial services (88%) and energy transition programmes (86%).
GBA enterprises are very keen to learn more with regard to the sustainable development services offered in Hong Kong, with an average desirability score of 8.9 out of 10. The top five preferred green products and services include utilising green applications provided by Hong Kong; engaging sustainable development roadmap planning and consultancy services; accessing green-focused professional talents/services and advanced technology; benefiting from ESG reporting, due diligence, ESG ratings and green asset valuation services offered by Hong Kong; and utilising green financial products and services.
The HKTDC-UOB survey was conducted in July and August this year through an online questionnaire completed by 300 leading enterprises in the 11 GBA cities. In addition, a series of in-depth interviews saw a broad cross-section of GBA industry professionals outline their views on Hong Kong’s green development capabilities and their own ESG implementation strategies.