HKU Business School ESG Forum: Net Zero Transition and Challenges and Opportunities of ESG Investing
(25 June, 2023, Hong Kong) HKU Business School hosted an ESG forum last Friday and invited Professor Patrick Bolton, Professor of Finance and Economics, Imperial College London as the keynote speaker, along with representatives from various sectors of business and academia to discuss crucial ESG topics.
Professor Hongbin Cai, Dean of HKU Business School and Chair of Economics, said, “ESG investing has become a global trend as many of the challenges we face today require global efforts, visionary thinking, and research. As an international financial centre, Hong Kong is striving to play a more important role, with ESG being one of its strategic focuses and competitive advantages. At HKU Business School, we have been expanding our efforts in ESG research, education and engagement, with initiatives such as actively involving in ESG related research, the establishment of ‘HKU iCube Corporate Network’, and the incorporation of ESG into our programmes to nurture related talent for Hong Kong.”
Professor Patrick Bolton said in his keynote speech, “Climate Finance is a risk-management issue. The greater the deviation of the portfolio carbon footprint from a net zero footprint, the greater the transition risk exposure of the portfolio. Time is also a risk factor because the longer alignment is delayed, the greater is the transition risk exposure. Investors will seek to hedge climate change risk by reducing their exposure to this risk, demanding compensation for holding the risk, and engaging with companies to induce them to reduce risk. We need a green industrial policy to overcome ecosystem replacement effects, as implications for policies that support blanket subsidies of green innovation and carbon problem require coordination of efforts across companies and sectors.”
HKU Business School also invited outstanding speakers from academia and the business sector to participate in two panel discussions following the keynote speech, further sharing their insights into top ESG issues.
The first panel discussion focused on the topic of “ESG Investing: Challenges and Opportunities”, with Dr. Haizhou Huang, Chairman of Capital Market Committee, CICC; Ms. Hannah Lee, Head of Asia Pacific ESG Equity Research, J.P. Morgan; Ms. Poman Lo, Vice Chairman and Managing Director, Regal Hotels Group; and Mr. Tasos Zavitsanakis, Co-Head APAC Sustainable Finance Office, UBS as guest speakers. The panel was moderated by Professor Dragon Tang, Associate Director, Centre for Financial Innovation and Development; Professor in Finance, HKU Business School. Panellists shared the key factors in developing ESG within their respective industries and believed that corporates in Hong Kong can play a crucial role in addressing the climate crisis.
The second panel discussion addressed “Corporate ESG Practices toward the Net Zero Society”. The panellists included Ms. Jessica Chan, Head of Sustainability, MTR Corporation Limited; Mr. Garrick Lau, Head of Sustainability and Shared Value, Nan Fung Group; Mr. Bien Wong, Section Head of Corporate ESG/ Corporate Affairs, Towngas; and Mr. Johnny Yu, Advisor to Chairman, Henderson Land Development Co. Ltd. The panel was moderated by Dr. Guojun He, Associate Director, Institute of China Economy; Associate Professor in Economics, Management and Strategy, HKU Business School. Panellists indicated that there is currently a lack of professional ESG talent and corporates will need to invest significant resources in enhancing their ESG performance and reducing carbon emissions in the future.
The ESG forum was held at HKU iCube and attracted over a hundred business leaders, outstanding scholars, alumni, and students.
Enclosed please find photographs of the forum:
Professor Hongbin Cai, Dean of HKU Business School and Chair of Economics
delivers the welcoming remarks.
Professor Patrick Bolton, Professor of Finance and Economics, Imperial College London
delivers the keynote speech.
(From 2nd left) Dr. Haizhou Huang, Ms. Hannah Lee, Ms. Poman Lo and Mr. Tasos Zavitsanaki exchange their views.
The panel discussion is moderated by (Left) Professor Dragon Tang, Associate Director, Centre for Financial Innovation and Development;
Professor in Finance, HKU Business School.
(From left) Dr. Guojun He, Associate Director, Institute of China Economy; Associate Professor in Economics, Management and Strategy,
HKU Business School, Ms. Jessica Chan, Mr. Garrick Lau, Mr. Bien Wong and Mr. Johnny Yu join the panel discussion.
The forum attracts a diverse audience of business leaders, academics, alumni and students