PolyU launches the Hong Kong Business Sustainability Index

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The Sustainability Management Research Centre (SMRC) in the Department of Management and Marketing at The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (PolyU) has compiled the Hong Kong Business Sustainability Index (HKBSI) with the support of the Hong Kong Council of Social Service (HKCSS) and the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC). The Index was launched on 1 December 2015 following the announcement of the index results in a ceremony held in Hotel ICON.

The launching ceremony was officiated by Prof Timothy W. Tong (middle), President of PolyU; Mr. Chua Hoi Wai (2nd from the left), Chief Executive of HKCSS; Prof Daniel Cheng (2nd from the right), Chai

HKBSI aims at encouraging companies listed in Hong Kong to adopt corporate social responsibility (CSR) as a progressive model for achieving business sustainability. Based on the publicly available information on CSR and sustainability of the fifty constituent companies of the Hang Seng Index (HSI) as of 17 March 2015, SMRC assessed the performance of individual company in three areas: CSR values, CSR practice and CSR impact, as well as their contributions to economic, social and environmental sustainability. In future, SMRC will compile the HKBSI and announce the results on an annual basis in order to monitor the on-going development and performance of companies on business sustainability, with an updated constituent companies list of the HSI.

In the ceremony, Professor Timothy W. Tong, President of PolyU said, "Sustainable development is one of the major focuses of education and research in PolyU. We have been engaged with different sectors of the society to maintain and improve socio-ecological health and our social well-being in a systematic and collaborative ways". Professor Tong cited that SMRC has leveraged the resources of the Faculty of Business and its partners on innovative research related to sustainability management. "We will make continuous effort on knowledge transfer and entrepreneurship promotion with the purpose of fostering sustainable development of a wider community." He added.

Mr. Bernard Chan, Chairperson of HKCSS said "Over the past few years, there is a significant growth in the number of Hong Kong companies released sustainability-related information publicly. The HKBSI is an effective tool to motivate their achievements on sustainability." Mr. Chan encouraged all companies, no matter large or small corporations, to use the index as a benchmark for making further contributions to the growing movement of sustainable business.

As one of the strategic partners of this index project, Mr. Stanley Lau, Chairman of HKPC believed that for industrial and commercial development to be sustainable, enterprises must address critical issues at the macro level, such as economic efficiency, social equity and environmental accountability.

Certificates of recognition were presented to the representatives of individual Index companies in the ceremony. They also participated in a joint pledge to engage in CSR. Following the ceremony, Director of SMRC, Professor Carlos Lo shared the index results and introduced the "On-Line Business Sustainability Reporting Platform" at the seminar today. He explained that the HKBSI was compiled between May and August 2015. By using the ‘Values–Practice–Impact’ assessment model, the overall average score of the fifty constituent companies is 41.75 points out of 100, while the mean score of top twenty Index companies is 57.25 points. Among the four assessment aspects on values, management, projects and impact, "management" is the aspect with the highest score of the top twenty Index companies at 79.65 points. Professor Lo pointed out that a holistic and stringent assessment model was adopted to compile the HKBSI, and the sustainability performance of the Index companies in different aspects was assessed in a comprehensive and critical way. Following the rising expectations of corporate social responsibility from individual stakeholders, there are always rooms for the Index companies to go the extra mile.

Professor Lo revealed that when comparing with companies in the US and Europe, quite a number of companies listed in Hong Kong are still lack of a clear CSR orientation and a proper model. But he stressed that some of individual companies are doing CSR as good as their counterparts in developed economies. The mean score is the average of the fifty index companies in their total CSR assessment. In addition, there are notable variations in the positioning, weight and practice of corporate social responsibility among these companies, which has inevitably affected the overall scores.

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