On 5 June 2023 (UN World Environment Day), ICSD joined hands with WGO to announce the results of our survey on “ESG Education in Hong Kong”
Hong Kong Economic Journal:
Hong Kong Economic Times:
Hong Kong Commercial Daily:
Press Release (For Immediate Release)
International Chamber of Sustainable Development (ICSD) and World Green Organisation (WGO) announce the city-first survey results on ESG awareness and educational demand among working people
Nurturing ESG Talents by introducing the first Certified ESG Planner (CEP®) programmes accredited in Hong Kong
Less than 50% of the working people had good knowledge of ESG
Nearly 80% of the respondents agreed that ESG is helpful for career
More than half of the respondents expressed future interest in ESG courses
(Hong Kong, 4 June 2023) Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) has become a global hot topic in recent years. As HKEX has strengthened the requirements of ESG information disclosure for listed companies since 2016, and various governments have gradually set clear goals on carbon emission reduction to be achieved, ESG has become an essential knowledge and skill that all corporates are required to equip with. With ESG in place, companies will be able to comply with regulatory requirements while pressing environmental and social governance issues in the world are expected to be addressed. Nonetheless, a lack of talent in relevant fields often causes difficulties for enterprises in bringing ESG into practice.
In order to understand the degree of awareness of and the educational demand for ESG among working people, the International Chamber of Sustainable Development (ICSD) and World Green Organisation (WGO) commissioned the Consumer Search Hong Kong (CSG) to conduct a survey earlier. Coinciding with the "World Environment Day" on 5th June, a press conference was held today to announce the survey results: it was found that most working people neither had a profound understanding of ESG nor had taken relevant courses, but most of them agreed on the importance of ESG; hence more than half of the respondents expressed their interest in enrolling in relevant courses in the future.
Meanwhile, to popularise and professionalise ESG education, ICSD launched the Hong Kong-first certified ESG Planner (CEP®) programmes. Through the CEPAR™ 5-step methodology, the program aims to train students to become CEP® holders capable of addressing sustainability problems and providing useful advice for companies while enriching the ESG talent pool in Hong Kong.
Guests of the press conference included Dr. William Yu, the CEO of World Green Organization (WGO) and Local Advisor of ICSD; Dr. Angus Yip, the Founding Chairman of ICSD; Dr. Mike Hui, the Founding Vice Chairman of ICSD; Ms. Dilys Lam, the Vice Chairman (Development) of ICSD and Ms. Ashley Khoo, the Governance Board Member of ICSD.
Key findings regarding ESG awareness and interest in course enrolment
The survey was conducted online in May and successfully interviewed 301 local working adults aged 21 to 45 who received tertiary education or above and had heard about ESG before. In general, the respondents did not have a profound understanding of ESG, with less than 50% considering themselves to have good knowledge of ESG. Yet, nearly 80% (79%) of the respondents agreed that ESG is becoming increasingly crucial to Hong Kong enterprises and the business community. At the same time, nearly 80% (79.4%) of the respondents also agreed that grasping the concept of ESG would be helpful to their current work.
The survey also found that nearly 35% (34.9%) of the respondents had enrolled in official ESG courses in the market, and 85% believed that the content of the courses would be helpful for their future work. Speaking of room for improvement, “teaching mode to be more flexible” (61.8%), “teaching to be more interesting” (52.9%), “more new knowledge to be taught" (52.9%) and “professional qualifications upon course completion” (35.3%) were the areas the respondents hoped the courses would improve on.
Among the respondents (65.1%) who had never taken any ESG-related courses, more than 50% expressed interest in enrolling in ESG courses in the future. Respondents from the retail and real estate industry had shown stronger interest, and they were more likely to think that ESG is important to their current or future work.
More than 80% (83.1%) of the respondents expressed that obtaining professional certification and qualifications in ESG would be greatly helpful to their current and future work. When they were to choose to enroll in relevant ESG courses, “professional certified qualifications upon course completion” (50.5%), “relevance to work”(44.9%), and “flexible teaching mode” (34.2%) were the top three key considerations.
Dr. William Yu, the CEO of WGO and the Local Advisor of ICSD, believes that carbon neutrality will be a major trend for global companies, and to comply with national policies and to meet the goals of carbon neutrality, the Hong Kong market has to train more ESG talents and popularise ESG education. The survey is deemed very helpful in understanding the degree of awareness of ESG among working people, the level of emphasis on ESG in the working environment, as well as opinions of working people on ESG-related professional training courses.
The first Certified ESG Planner (CEP® ) programmes in Hong Kong
Dr. Angus Yip, the Founding Chairman of ICSD, pointed out that the current courses available on the market tend to be designed from the perspective of investment analysis rather than practical application in the workplace. In order to popularise and professionalise ESG education so that the environmental and social governance issues faced by enterprises can be addressed, ICSD mapped out the first Certified ESG Planner (CEP®) programmes. Through its unique CEPAR™ 5-step methodology, which is Challenge, Evaluation, Planning, Action and Review, the programmes aim to train students to become CEP® holders who are capable of addressing sustainability problems and providing useful advice for companies while enriching the ESG talent pool in Hong Kong.
Most working people expect the courses to be work-relevant, recognisable by the market and applicable in the workplace, Dr. Mike Hui, the Founding Vice Chairman of ICSD, said, which is why students are required to submit case studies completed by CEPAR™ when the courses were designed. Tutors will provide feedback on the case study submitted by each student, and students can also choose to attend the classes in person or online in real-time. ICSD Certified ESG Planner (CEP®) programmes take place at The Chinese University of Hong Kong, The Hong Kong Management Association, and Lingnan University. To become a certified ESG planner, students have to complete a 15-hour designated programme, obtain a pass on the case study, and register as a member of ICSD under its regulations.
The designated programmes are: Sustainable Banking and Finance by the School of Continuing and Professional Studies organized by The Chinese University of Hong Kong; Executive Certificate in ESG Planning by The Hong Kong Management Association; and Executive Certificate in ESG Investment organised by Lingnan University LIFE. Amongst them, the CUHK and HKMA programmes are eligible for an 80% government subsidy on the tuition fee.
Ms. Dilys Lam, the Vice Chairman (Development) of ICSD, shared her experience of participating in ICSD’s Certified ESG Planner (CEP®) programme. As one of the first students attending the classes, she stated that the programme could help the students quickly and systematically understand the application of ESG-related tools and obtain a certified qualification; both are indeed helpful to work. As the demand for ESG in various industries is increasing, she hoped the programmes would help popularise ESG and provide more ESG talents.
Collaboration among three institutions and Landing GBA in the fourth quarter of the year
Ms. Alison Yau, Head of Corporate Training & Special Projects, School of Continuing and Professional Studies of The Chinese University of Hong Kong, said, “This course has been held since last year, and the students in each class are very satisfied with this ESG course dedicated to the banking and financial industry. They think the content is very practical, and the teachers are experienced. The examples analysed in the class are familiar to the students and closely related to their work, and they have learned to use CEPAR's 5-step methodology to deal with ESG issues. In addition, many students said that they like the content of the course as it is not too difficult, and it can really be a ‘premium’ course that is professional and understandable to the public, making them more enthusiastic about learning the new concept of ESG."
Ms. Titania Woo, the Executive Director of The Hong Kong Management Association, said the Executive Certificate in ESG Planning course has been successfully held for nine sessions since 2021. Nearly 800 executives enrolled and the programme has been well-received by various industries. Students appreciated the high quality of the course, the professionalism of the instructors, and the comprehensive and practical content, which allows them to apply the ESG knowledge they have learned in their daily lives.”
Mr. Graham Lee, the Lecturer of Lingnan Institute of Further Education, also revealed that students found the instructors are very experienced, presentable and they are able to lead the company to master the ESG trend after completing the course.
Looking forward to the future, Dr. Yip said the Certified ESG Planner (CEP®) will be rolled out in the Greater Bay Area in collaboration with the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, CUHK, in the fourth quarter of this year. With the expansion, He hoped that more ESG talents will be trained to provide enterprises and the government with insightful suggestions on topics such as sustainable development.
- End -
This press release is distributed by Wasabi Creation Ltd. on behalf of ICSD. For enquiry, please contact:
Mr. Edmund Chan
Phone: 2811 4900 / 6623 4160
Ms. Ruby Wan
Phone: 2811 4900 / 9460 4900