Sustainability Assessment

About Sustainability Assessment

Background

With an array of environmental and social risks stemming from the impacts of climate change, achieving a sustainable future is now a global imperative, and gaining substantial attention and momentum.

Today, corporations are increasingly expected to integrate sustainability considerations into their businesses, to lower environmental and social risks while maintaining conventional financial growth, as well as finding ways to differentiate themselves from competitors.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of investors have committed to responsible investment, which incorporates environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into their investment decisions. This approach can help better assess the overall performance of companies including their risk reduction and management steps, and generate sustainable, long-term returns.

However, in the current Hong Kong landscape, there are gaps between corporates and investors in their interpretation of what ESG expectations should be set. Lacking a uniform set of criteria or measurements, there is a disconnection between what corporates disclose, and what corporate performance information the investors receive, which results in a difficulty in and significant challenge to investing responsibly.

What is Sustainability Assessment?

The Sustainability Assessment is a comprehensive online assessment rating platform which adopts a systematic approach to evaluate the maturity of companies’ sustainability infrastructure, based on a set of ten principles with factors in relation to strategy and reporting, governance, social and environment. It has been created to help bridge the gap between companies and investors.

For Companies: Allows companies in Hong Kong to accurately assess their current sustainability performance and maturity levels, allowing executives to compare their current situation with both the industry average and their company’s past performance.

For Investors: Allows investors to obtain independently verified sustainability performance and ESG-related contributions of companies in which they have or may choose to invest. The Sustainability Assessment is therefore a product which supports responsible investment.

Why Should You Do The Assessment?

  • Help your company gauge on your maturity of the governance and management system and practices of sustainability
  • Allow your company to know the strengths, weaknesses, and areas for improvement in ESG related areas
  • Prove your company’s leadership and ability in managing and driving sustainability performance, and demonstrate your company’s commitment in reducing overall ESG risks
  • Attract potential investors who are looking to invest responsibly

Methodology

The Sustainability Assessment is established based on the “Ten Principles” framework, which aims to evaluate company’s sustainability strategies, policies, and their ability in managing and driving sustainability performance.

Applicants are required to complete an online questionnaire, which includes assessment from four domains, including Strategy and Reporting, Environmental, Social and Governance, where each of the domain further breaks down into fifteen core aspects. PricewaterhouseCoopers 1 acts as exclusive technical advisor, assisting us in developing the Sustainability Assessment.

The questionnaire covers both quantitative and qualitative elements, and is composed of three types of questions namely multiple selection, data input and open-ended. Applicants are required provide evidence for each question 2 3 4.

Once the responses have been submitted, Green Council will conduct the verification process, including reviewing of the questions, supporting documents and the possibility of conducting a follow-up interview. Once the verification is completed, a detailed Assessment Result Report will be given. Overall grading is ranged from “A+” to “D”, demonstrating how well the organization manages ESG issues. All ratings are subject to committee review and industry peer benchmarking.

Ten Principles

The Sustainability Assessment uses a comprehensive framework – the Ten Principles - which assesses the sustainability practices of a company across ten categories commonly found in international best practices on sustainability performance.

1 Tone at the top

Our Board of Directors has overall responsibilities in corporate governance and managing sustainability risks, opportunities and performances

2 Sustainable strategy and policy

Our top management is responsible for setting out sustainability strategies into our decision-making process, policies and practices

3 Business impact on environment

We consider the impact on the environment when key business decisions are made

4 Environmental performance

We have mechanisms to minimize environmental footprint in our day-to-day business

5 Sustainability standards to stakeholders

We extend our sustainability standards to our suppliers, vendors, contractors and other relevant stakeholders

6 Ethical and fair trade

We have implemented mechanisms to ensure ethical and fair trade practices

7 Employee rights

We provide a workplace that prioritizes and respects physical safety, training and education, equality and labor rights

8 Responsible to customers

We serve our client and customers with quality, while respecting to their rights

9 Compliance

We have implemented mechanisms to ensure all relevant laws and regulations pertaining to our business operations are complied

10 Community well-being

We care about the well-being of the community we operate in, and we give back to the society

FAQ

Q.

What is the Sustainability Assessment based on?

A.

The Sustainability Assessment is based on the Ten Principles. Each of the Ten Principles is a reflection on the current sustainability landscape in Hong Kong, and where companies should be heading towards in order to achieve high sustainability performances. The Ten Principles also aligns and echoes on what investors are looking for in terms of responsible investment.

Q.

Who is eligible?

A.

This Sustainability Assessment is open to application by local and overseas businesses and industries.

Q.

When is the deadline for application?

A.

The Sustainability Assessment is open for submissions and operated throughout the whole year.

Q.

How should I apply?

A.

Organizations who are interested in applying for the assessment should apply in our website. We will get back to you in 1-2 business days via phone and/or email on how to proceed with the payment.

Q.

What is the cost?

A.

The cost is HK$90,000 per assessment.

Q.

How do I obtain the log in information after payment?

A.

We will send you the log in information to the email you applied. This includes user name, password and the link to the log in portal of Qualtrics.

Q.

How long do I have to complete the assessment?

A.

Once the assessment begins, the applicant has up to one month, starting from the day of successful log in to complete the assessment.

Q.

Can I resume my questionnaire before completion?

A.

Qualtrics allows the saving of an incomplete questionnaire. It can also be continued as desired, before the final submission.

Q.

How do I submit my supporting documents?

A.

Qualtrics supports the functionality of uploading supporting documentation.

Q.

Are the documents and results kept confidential?

A.

Uploaded documents and kept in Qualtrics secured server (hosted by Amazon Web Services). Results are strictly confidential, secure and never disclosed unless permitted.

Q.

Will I receive a confirmation e-mail when I submit the questionnaire?

A.

Yes. Once you have completed the questionnaire and click on the “Submit” button, you will receive an e-mail notification that your answers have been submitted and received.

Q.

What should I do if I have submitted my questionnaire but now need to change some of the information I have provided?

A.

Once your questionnaire has been submitted you will be unable to amend it online. However, if you need to make any urgent changes to your application, please contact us at by email at: esg@greencouncil.org; or by telephone at: +852 2810-1122.

Q.

How do I know if the assessment is fair and accurate?

A.

Quality assurance is a critical priority. To ensure a fair and accurate assessment, a meticulous examination will be conducted, including fact-checking, and follow-up enquiries through interviews 5.

Q.

How long will I receive the Assessment Result Report?

A.

Assessment Result Report would be processed and released in a batch basis every three months.

Q.

How will the assessment result be released?

A.

The assessment result will be released and distributed to applicants by email.

Q.

What is included in the Assessment Result Report?

A.

Besides the overall letter grading, the Report also shows where the company’s strengths and weaknesses across the four domains (Strategy and Reporting, Environmental, Social and Governance), areas for improvement of each domain, as well as recommendations on how to improve.

Q.

How long will the assessment result (i.e. the Assessment Result Report) be valid?

A.

The report will be valid for one year after the assessment result be finalised. You could publish the Assessment Result Report in your organization’s website, annual report and other publications etc.

Q.

Who is the online questionnaire vendor?

A.

Qualtrics International Inc., one of the leading online survey platforms in the world.

Q.

Who should I contact if I have enquiries, or questions?

A.

Please email us at: esg@greencouncil.org; or by telephone at: +852 2810-1122

Application / Login

Application Flow

1 Application

Submit online application

2 Acceptance and obtain log in info

Complete payment process

Questionnaire access information will be sent to the applicant’s email

3 Log in to qualtrics

Applicants will have one month, starting from the day of successful log in to complete the assessment

4 Complete assessment

Applicants are required to answer the questionnaire in full, and to provide supporting documents

5 Review assessment

Respond to possible follow up enquiries through interviews in person or phone call

6 Receive report

Receive the completed Assessment Result Report

New Applicants

Please enter your information. We will get back to you in 1-2 business days.

About Green Council

The Green Council (GC) is a non-profit environmental association and certification body based in Hong Kong. Our founders have long envisioned that the environment must be protected not only by the government or the general public, but by corporations as well. We are striving to strengthen the image of Hong Kong as a city that gives high importance to environmental protection and corporates’ ESG performance.

All proceeds from the Sustainability Assessment will be applied towards Green Council’s current environmental programme for schools and the general public, as well as research in support of our climate change programmes and waste management initiatives.

For more information, please visit the following websites www.greencouncil.org for details.

Contact Us

For enquiries, please contact us at:
Email: esg@greencouncil.org
Tel: 2810-1122
Fax: 2810-1998