ESG at IFF Annual Meeting

Act now! Experts urge firms to adopt

Experts on Saturday urged corporations to adopt Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) business practices to boost long-term growth and productivity.

Experts also called for earlier adoption of sustainability-related information disclosure against the backdrop of the release of the first International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB).

The ISSB standards were released earlier this year and will come into effect on January 1, 2024. The standards are IFRS SI and IFRS S2, which tells companies to disclose sustainability-related risks and opportunities over short, medium and long term as well as setting out specific climate-related disclosures.

Wang Xin, Director-General of the Research Bureau of the People's Bank of China (PBOC), said the PBOC has been pushing for the disclosure of sustainability-related information as part of its effort to promote green finance.

Michelle Mullen, the Executive Director of the ICAS, urged companies to get started. "You don't need to be great to start. But we need to start in order to be great," said Mullen.

Yvonne Kam, PwC China Technical Partner, thinks it is a matter of survival for companies to pursue ESG.

"It will be a big question whether your company could still operate if you don't adopt ESG," said Kam.

Director of the ISSB Beijing office Zhang Zhengwei said companies could do great things once they adopt ESG. "An enterprise can be truly influential once they adopt sustainable development."

Wang of the PBOC encouraged businesses to disclose information according to the ISSB standards. But he also pointed out that Chinese companies should also consider their own situation when applying the ISSB standards. He thinks corporate sustainability-related information disclosure can help promote the development of green finance.

Peng Huagang, former secretary general and spokesperson of the State-owned Assets Supervision and Administration Commission of the State Council, also agreed that China should establish its own disclosure standards based on the ISSB standards.