A commitment to sustainability is more critical than ever for businesses to succeed in a post-pandemic world.
October 8, 2021
Corporates in Asia and the rest of the world are devoting more and more resources toward achieving socially responsible and sustainable outcomes as they seek to make a positive impact globally.
This trend has been accelerated by the pandemic, as remote work, changing consumer behavior and rising inequality have forced companies to rethink their priorities and adjust their strategies to adapt and thrive. Meanwhile, the challenges posed by the climate emergency continue to loom large on boardroom agendas.
According to a report by Deloitte, there is also growing evidence to suggest that companies with superior Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) performance will also do well financially over the long term.
This drive to demonstrate ESG performance has led to an upsurge in companies looking to establish sustainability targets, from measurably reducing carbon emissions and single-use plastics, to ensuring that new building projects meet globally recognized certification standards.
Leading the Way
In the wealth management space, more of Asia’s leading business families are seeking out advisors who can help them invest with purpose and social impact. This comes as they are poised to pass an unprecedented amount of wealth on to a new generation of more socially aware family members.
To address their needs, financial institutions such as HSBC Global Private Banking are incorporating sustainability considerations into their investment and advisory processes. With an extensive network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), the bank has also been supporting progressive clients in realizing their philanthropic ambitions, preserving their legacy and making long-lasting impact in the wider community.
Sustainability has also come to the fore in the real estate sector. For instance, Hong Kong-based Sino Group has been committed to making a positive impact through its vision of Creating Better Lifescapes, which aims to help communities thrive by embracing green living and wellness, pursuing meaningful designs, and seeking innovation while respecting heritage and culture.
Reflecting its commitment to this journey, Sino Group last year introduced its Sustainability Vision 2030, a blueprint charting the company’s path toward 2030 and beyond. This ambitious plan establishes goals that are in line with Sino Group’s three pillars of Green Living, Innovative Design and Community Spirit, and also aims to support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Thanks to forward-thinking companies such as these, Asia is moving purposefully toward a more sustainable and socially responsible future.
Shaping A Brighter Sustainable Future
HSBC Global Private Banking is supporting its clients in Asia to fulfill their sustainability ambitions.
Sustainability has developed into a key priority for many affluent individuals and families in recent years, as evidence of climate change and widening inequality around the world become ever more apparent.
Earlier this year, the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued its starkest warning yet about the deepening climate emergency, with some of the changes already set in motion thought to be “irreversible” for centuries to come.
Awareness of these global challenges has been heightened by the shock of the pandemic, which has prompted many high-net-worth (HNW) and ultra-high-net-worth (UHNW) individuals to reassess their roles in society and their relationship with the environment.
Meanwhile, there is mounting evidence to suggest that businesses that take Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance (ESG) factors into account are more resilient and deliver superior performance over the long term. Against this backdrop, Asia’s affluent are no longer focused solely on accumulating wealth, and are seeking ways to make a positive impact through their business and investment activities. This has led to a rising tide of money flowing into ESG-related financial solutions that are linked to sustainable outcomes. According to Morningstar, ESG funds attracted a record US$51.1 billion of net new money from investors in 2020, more than double the previous year’s total.
“In the last 24 months people have had considerably more time to think about what it means to live more sustainably. We no longer have to convince our clients about ESG. Rather they are coming to us to see what we can offer them in this space. As such, we are working very hard to ensure we have the right solutions to meet their sustainability goals,” says Siew Meng Tan, Regional Head of Global Private Banking, Asia Pacific at HSBC.
The Private Bank is able to leverage the HSBC Group’s unparalleled international network and comprehensive capabilities across the financial services spectrum to support its clients’ sustainability journey.
Enabling ESG Investment
Asia’s affluent families are poised to pass an unprecedented amount of wealth on to the next generation in the coming years. As the next generation of more socially aware families prepares to take the reins, demand for financial solutions that will help them invest with impact is on the rise.
To meet their needs, HSBC Global Private Banking integrates sustainability considerations into its investment and advisory processes, driven by a belief that companies with good sustainability practices are more likely to outperform those without over the long term.
The bank uses a multi-vetted approach to employ qualitative and quantitative methodologies to identify sustainable investments that demonstrate true ESG commitment and principles.
Connecting Clients to the Right Causes
Today’s HNW and UHNW clients are also keen to direct their philanthropic efforts into environmental and social causes that align with their own values. With an extensive network of non-governmental organizations (NGOs), HSBC Global Private Banking and its experienced and dedicated philanthropy advisory team have been supporting forward-thinking clients in realizing their philanthropic ambitions, preserving their legacy and making long-lasting impact in the wider community.
Leveraging its global footprint and comprehensive capabilities, the bank is able to support its clients throughout their entire philanthropic journey, enabling them to make a positive impact in the areas that are closest to their hearts.
Among other initiatives, HSBC Global Private Banking initiated a campaign known as “Mind Matters–A Hackathon for Social Impact” to connect multi-generational clients with various NGOs working on projects to address mental health needs that have emerged during the pandemic.
HSBC Global Private Banking also works to help clients understand the benefits of investing sustainably through a wide range of educational programs and materials.
One such initiative is the bank’s flagship Sustainability Leadership Programme, which takes next-generation leaders on an immersive journey through Borneo to learn more about climate change and the importance of sustainable business practices.
“We bring our next-gen clients into the forests of Borneo for them to really observe the impact first-hand and come home with actionable ideas on how they can integrate sustainability into their family business and everyday life,” says Ms Tan. “It’s a very valuable kind of education.”
She continues: “One of the Programme’s alumni [Sofia Bensily, CEO of AntePlastics] recently developed a patented molecular recycling process that is greener, faster and more profitable than anything on the market. Her aim is to employ innovative plastic recycling methods to help usher in a zero waste and anti-plastic world.”
Says Bensily: “AntePlastics exists to solve the world’s massive plastic waste problem. Sustainability has always been something that’s at the back of our minds. Start questioning how we can do it better and how we can do it in a more environmentally sustainable way that will enable the world to still be a good place for the next generation and the generations to come.”
Working Toward Net Zero
As a bank, an investor and an employer, HSBC recognizes its responsibility to help clients progress on the road to a net zero future. To demonstrate its commitment to this mission, in October 2020 HSBC announced a new climate ambition to reduce financed emissions from its portfolio of customers to net zero by 2050. HSBC has also set a target to mobilize between US$750 billion and US$1 trillion of sustainable finance and investment by 2030, underpinned by strong governance, risk management and metrics to measure progress.
Furthermore, HSBC plans to increase its portfolio of transition finance solutions, including clean tech innovation, sustainable infrastructure and nature-based investments, to help even the heaviest-emitting sectors to progressively decarbonize. In August 2020, the bank established HSBC Pollination Climate Asset Management, which aims to be the world’s largest dedicated manager of natural capital.
“As a global bank, we recognize our wider role in society and believe we can make a positive impact in the way we do business,” says Ms Tan. “Supporting our clients to thrive through transition is a key part of our strategy, and one of the most valuable ways we can help our clients navigate the transition challenges is through financing and investment.”
The Bank of Choice
HSBC expects demand for sustainability solutions to continue growing, as the world is already witnessing the benefit of sustainable practices. As such, the bank is committed to staying abreast of the evolving landscape, and crafting solutions that are innovative and relevant to the changing needs of clients.
One area that the bank is focusing on is in measuring the impact of investments. “When we are talking about sustainability, we have to be able to measure it,” explains Ms Tan. “We are putting a lot of effort into upgrading our systems to ensure that we can find the right benchmarks to measure investments against.”
She adds: “We understand our clients would like to know that their actions and investments are making a difference to the world. We will monitor the progress and give updates to our clients as needed. Together with our clients, we can open up a world of opportunity, shaping a better sustainable future.”
Disclaimers The information contained in this article has not been reviewed in the light of your individual circumstances and is for information purposes only. It does not purport to provide legal, taxation or other advice and should not be taken as such. No client or other reader should act or refrain from acting on the basis of the content of this article without seeking specific professional advice. Issued by The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited.
Sino Group: Building A Sustainable Future
For half a century, the leading Hong Kong-based property developer has been Creating Better Lifescapes and building a better community.
Sino Group, a leading Hong Kong-based property developer, has had a mission rooted in sustainability since its establishment in 1971. The Group has a portfolio of more than 250 developments with a total area of over 130 million square feet in China (Hong Kong and Mainland), Singapore and Australia.
Sino Group is committed to growing with the community in which it operates by embracing green living and wellness, pursuing meaningful designs, and seeking innovation while respecting heritage and culture.
A Vision for the Future
In October 2020, Sino Group unveiled its Sustainability Vision 2030, a blueprint charting the course toward 2030 and beyond. The blueprint outlines goals that are in line with Sino Group’s three pillars under its vision of Creating Better Lifescapes, namely Green Living, Innovative Design and Community Spirit, and also aims to support the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals.
Among other initiatives, Sustainability Vision 2030 entails harnessing renewable energy through the installation of more than 3,200 solar panels, reducing consumption of single-use plastics by 50% from the 2017 level by 2022 across all business lines, and developing properties that are sustainable and wellness-oriented, including BEAM Plus certification and WELL™ accreditation.
Reflecting its commitment to sustainability, Sino Land, a listed company of Sino Group, joined the pledge of Business Ambition for 1.5°C this year, a worldwide campaign calling on businesses to set science-based targets aiming at limiting global temperature rise to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels. To achieve this, Sino Land is collaborating with the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology to develop a holistic approach toward achieving net zero carbon by 2050.
Sino Group’s sustainability strategies are around three interlinked pillars: Green Living, Innovative Design and Community Spirit.
The Group seeks to bring people closer to nature by promoting sustainable living and wellness while supporting biodiversity through efforts to reduce plastic use, embrace green building practices, and obtain financing linked to sustainability targets.
Sino Group has introduced a wide spectrum of green initiatives over the past 50 years, including the award-winning Mission Green series and Farm Together, which bring green inspirations and urban farming to its commercial, hospitality and residential properties.
It seeks to contribute to a sustainable built environment through careful architectural planning, green property management, education and exploring green innovations.
Earlier this year, Sino Land delivered Grand Central in Kwun Tong, Hong Kong, a project with a greening ratio of over 30% that is a showcase of biodiversity and green living. Grand Central has been designed to encourage residents and the public to enjoy outdoor spaces in a well-established urban environment.
Sino Land announced in June that it had converted a five-year HK$1 billion (US$0.13 billion) loan signed with Bank of China (Hong Kong) in April 2020 into a sustainability-linked loan, marking the Group’s first financing arrangement directly linked to its sustainability targets. The proceeds will be used to fund sustainability-related initiatives as part of Sustainability Vision 2030.
Promoting Innovative Design
To promote innovation, Sino Group has launched Sino Inno Lab, a sandbox platform to support tech start-ups and inventors from Hong Kong and overseas to test out inventions and facilitate co-creation.
These solutions can be applied to hotels, residences, shopping malls and property management to enhance services, enrich customer experience and promote smart living.
Sino Group collaborates with technology partners to further promote innovation in the industry. For instance, it is partnering with Ping An Smart City on PropXTech, a corporate innovation program that supports tech start-ups from around the world.
Since September 2019, Sino Group has also been working with local proptech companies to enhance energy efficiency. Some 14 buildings to date have installed Negawatt’s smart building solution, with an estimated saving in electricity consumption of 2.8 million kWh per annum. Another smart platform, PlantPro, is being piloted at Olympian City 3 and Island Resort Mall; the estimated saving in electricity consumption is 400,000 kWh per annum.
Fostering Community Spirit
Sino Group is dedicated to creating a better community where people can live, work and play. It does so by supporting and rejuvenating existing facilities, such as The Fullerton Hotels in Singapore and Sydney, as well as through various arts and cultural initiatives.
As it looks towards the future, Sino Group is commit ted to contributing to the sustainable development of the community by upholding sustainability and commitment to quality excellence.
Sino Group’s 50th Anniversary: An Unwavering Commitment to the Community
The year 2021 is a special one for Sino Group as it celebrates its 50th anniversary. Since its incorporation in Hong Kong in 1971, it has grown to become one of Hong Kong’s leading property developers.
“We are privileged to have the opportunity to contribute to Hong Kong’s skyline and be part of the Hong Kong story,” says Mr Daryl Ng, Deputy Chairman of Sino Group, reflecting on the Group’s journey.
“Over the past half a century, we have been building communities, such as Tsim Sha Tsui East, where our headquarters is located; Hong Kong Gold Coast, which presents a unique integrated waterfront precinct in Hong Kong with residences, a piazza, a resort and a yacht club; and The Fullerton Heritage in Marina Bay, Singapore, a world-class precinct in Singapore’s CBD that blends modernity with heritage.”
He adds that Sino Group has been growing with the community, while holding its core values dear. “Our commitment to excellence and community spirit are at the heart of what we do. Our corporate values of integrity, customer first, respect and inclusiveness will continue to guide us as we write new chapters of the Sino story as one united community for the next 50 years and more.”
Sustainability Vision 2030
By 2030, achieve a GHG emission reduction of 30% from 2012 baseline
By 2030, achieve a renewable energy generation of 8,000,000 kWh from the 2012 level
By 2025, 60% of seafood served at the Group’s hotels will be purchased from sustainable sources
By 2022, reduce single-use plastic consumption by 50% across all business lines from our 2017 baseline
Achieve BEAM Plus certification for our new buildings in Hong Kong
Seek to achieve WELL™ certification for our new buildings in Hong Kong
Improve the wellbeing of 5,000 less-resourced families by 2025