A new program that encourages companies to voluntarily report their greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) was recently launched in Hong Kong.
An online carbon footprint repository (CFR) that enables listed companies in Hong Kong to voluntarily report their GHG emissions was launched by the Environment Bureau and Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEx) last week. While the start to the program was not very promising on a wider scale, a significant number of companies from among the 100 largest companies in Hong Kong came forward to report their emissions.
As per the online repository, about 1,900 companies are listed in Hong Kong, of which 64 have reported their emissions and were recognised for their first-mover contributions. 20 of these companies are among the top 100 listed companies in terms of capitalisation.
According to the Secretary for the Environment, Mr Wong Kam-sing, the emissions reporting program would help the companies identify the most effective emission reduction measures. Some of the major companies in the list of 64 first movers (PDF) are HSBC, Lenovo, CLP Holdings, Cathay Pacific, and Standard Chartered. The government plans to encourage other companies, including the ones not listed, to participate and voluntarily report their emissions.
The launch of the program coincides with the increased activity in China to develop the foundations for a national emissions trading scheme. The Chinese government plans to implement a national carbon market by 2016 which would cover provinces and autonomous regions by 2020.
The voluntary emissions reporting program would serve an excellent foundation for launching an emissions trading scheme in Hong Kong. Earlier this year, Shenzhen (the first province in China to launch a carbon market) urged the Hong Kong companies to join its emissions trading scheme.
This is not the first that listed companies in China have been asked to report emissions. Earlier this year, the Shanghai Stock Exchange recommend that all listed companies be mandated to report their greenhouse gas emissions. The exchange announced its intention to develop a benchmark index consisting of about 900 companies based on the emissions per Yuan earned.
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