Best Corporate Governance Awards
A press conference to launch the 2017 Best Corporate Governance Awards (“2017 Awards”) was held on 13 July 2017 (press release).
The Best Corporate Governance Awards (“Awards") is a highly regarded annual competition in the corporate governance ("CG") calendar, which, over the years, has gained staunch support from the HKSAR Government, financial market regulators, professional associations, investor groups, and the business community. Since their inception in 2000, the Awards have continued to play an important role in establishing benchmarks and encouraging improvements in the standard of CG. They also raise awareness of the need for companies to be transparent and accountable to their shareholders and other stakeholders, while alerting the community to some of the latest CG developments.
Last year the Organising Committee conducted an extensive review of the Awards and introduced a number of changes. The 2017 Awards will build on these changes and fine tune them with the experience gained from last year. The 2017 Awards:
For the Sustainability and Social Responsibility Reporting ("SSR") Awards, the focus will be on information about entities’ ESG (environmental, social and governance) disclosures and practices, and the assessments will cover information in any standalone sustainability/ corporate social responsibility reports.
The Awards focus on voluntary practices and disclosures of relevant information in annual reports that go beyond the minimum legal and regulatory requirements. The Institute regularly reviews and refines the Awards assessment criteria in order to take account of changes in local regulations, relevant international developments and the changing expectations of the community.
The latest assessment criteria have taken on board the revisions to the CG Code and the CG Report in relation to the risk management and internal control requirements. The revised ESG Reporting Guide (Appendix 27 of the main board and Appendix 20 of the Growth Enterprise Market ("GEM") listing rules) has also been taken into consideration, as the general disclosures in the environment and social categories became comply-or-explain requirements for accounting periods beginning from 1 January 2016.
Categories of awards
As indicated above, there are also Commendations for specific aspect of good CG and SSR Awards to be won.
The judges may also acknowledge other worthy performers by means of Special Mentions.
Introduced by the Institute in 2000, the Awards are Hong Kong's most prestigious CG awards. The objectives of the competition are to encourage and promote good CG disclosures and practices and to acknowledge listed companies and public sector/not-for-profit organisations that exemplify the best CG standards in Hong Kong, as reflected in their annual reports and in other sources.
The competition has grown over the past 17 years from a total of three categories and ten possible awards to six main categories and well over 20 possible awards.
The SIA was first introduced in 2002 to identify the company or organisation that stood out as having demonstrated the most substantial progress in improving its CG disclosures and practices. In 2003, the SIA was made available in all the main categories. Starting from 2016, the SIA has invited self-nominations.
A category H-share companies was introduced in 2006, with the aim of establishing benchmarks of good practice for this substantial group of companies. In 2012, the category was extended to include other large Mainland enterprises, using the "Hang Seng Mainland 100" index as the basis for selection.
Starting from this year, the non-HSI companies have been divided into three separate categories, with the following market capitalisation:
(i) Large market capitalisation (more than HK$30 billion),
(ii) Medium market capitalisation (between HK$5 billion and HK$30 billion); and
(iii) Small market capitalisation (less than HK$5 billion).
The judging process involves carrying out an assessment of the breadth and depth of information on the CG framework, practices and disclosures contained in organisations' most recent annual report. The reviewers and judges look for disclosures and practices that significantly exceed the minimum legal and regulatory requirements and which demonstrate a commitment to a strong CG and ethical culture.
For the Commendations and SSR Awards, separate, tailor-made evaluation criteria have been developed to assess the extent and quality of information provided by potential contenders, and what this communicates about their underlying practices and culture.
In addition to being the specific focus of one of the new Commendations, CG-related information on organisations' websites, elaborating on the material contained in their annual reports or SSR reports may also be taken into account by the judges and reviewers. The judges and reviewers are invited to take note of other publicly-available information, including media reports, which may give insights into individual organisations' CG and ethical practices and culture.
The Judges' Reports for the Awards (click on the relevant link below) contain the results and commentaries on the annual reports of the award winners for that year, as well as general findings about the standard of CG among listed companies and public sector organisations in Hong Kong: