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HKICPA Best Corporate Governance & ESG Awards 2023 now open for applications

04 July 2023

Integrating good corporate governance (CG) and ESG into values, strategy and operations is considered to provide a solid foundation for sustainable listed companies and public sector organizations (PSOs), which will help boost stakeholder and investor confidence. This is a focus of the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) Best Corporate Governance and ESG Awards 2023 (the Awards), which are now open for entries until 3 August, 2023.


This year marks the twenty-fourth year of the Awards, which feature two tiers of awards. The top level, the Most Sustainable Companies/Organizations Awards, recognizes those listed companies and PSOs that demonstrate excellence in both CG and ESG reporting. The second tier of awards focuses more specifically on each of these two areas, recognizing companies and PSOs that demonstrate best practice in either CG or ESG. Besides these, a Self-Nomination Awards category is also available for smaller listed companies and PSOs that have taken significant steps to strengthen their CG and/ or ESG practices, especially by adopting new voluntary practices.


Listed companies and PSOs are encouraged to submit entry forms to the HKICPA by the deadline. There continues to be no entry fee to take part in the Awards, while candidates will have the opportunity for their achievements to be recognized by their peers and the wider market. The CG and ESG performances of the candidates will be assessed by expert panels of reviewers and judges comprising representatives from the HKSAR Government, the financial market regulators, public sector authorities, academia, investors, professional associations and firms, as well as prominent experts in the field of CG and ESG.


The successful efforts of the awardees in the different categories will be celebrated at an awards presentation ceremony scheduled to be held in late November 2023, where the Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Mr. Christopher Hui, has accepted the invitation to be the guest of honour. A judges’ report, containing  brief commentaries on the winners’ performance, as well as observations on the general CG and ESG standards in Hong Kong, will be published on the HKICPA website.


The evaluation criteria for the CG performance of the Awards’ candidates also remain stringent. This year, amongst other things, we will consider whether “overboarding” is an issue on company boards of directors in Hong Kong. In principle, directors should serve on only a limited number of other company boards to enable them to devote adequate time commitment to board agendas and to discharge their duties fully to companies and boards on which they sit. Another focus area this year will be the level of the remuneration package of the chief executive officer compared with that of the second-highest-paid executive in the company. If the reward gap is excessive, this may reflect or create the perception of a concentration of power and influence in the hands of the CEO, which could make it harder for others to challenge the CEO’s judgment and decisions.


In anticipation of the latest international and local developments, in particular the recent promulgation of global, baseline standards for sustainability, including climate-related, reporting, by the International Sustainability Standards Board, we have reviewed and made changes to our ESG assessment criteria.


With the World Meteorological Organization predicting that global average temperatures will surpass 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, for the first time in human history, within the next five years, the Institute will also focus on sustainable development, and whether candidates have disclosed challenging, yet attainable, ESG-related quantitative targets, together with their actual performance over the years. We hope to see more candidates disclosing and discussing their measures and actual progress in combating climate change, as well as towards achieving other ESG goals. The question of whether candidates are seeking independent ESG assurance will also be taken into account, as assurance can help validate the objectivity, reliability and integrity of a company’s ESG data and claimed performance, as so help to discourage and prevent “greenwashing”.


Research to evaluate listed companies’ ESG assurance


Following on from our brief research and review of the state of play in ESG assurance in Hong Kong, which was published in December 2021 and covered all the December 2020 year-end listed companies, HKICPA is embarking upon an update study this year, to gauge whether and how the landscape is changing with regard to ESG assurance in the local market. The research will look at the sustainability / ESG reports (or, where applicable, the ESG sections in annual reports) of all December 2022-year-end listed companies, amounting to around 1,800 in all. Among the specific research areas to be examined, the study will look at questions such as: Have the companies sought assurance and have they engaged an independent ESG assurer? Have they set quantitative targets to achieve carbon neutrality? Whether there is a board-level ESG/sustainability committee and how frequently it has met, and also whether its members include anyone with relevant accounting qualifications, to help in assessing, e.g., the financial aspects of ESG risks and opportunities. The key findings of the research will be published later this year.


The Best Corporate Governance Awards were first organized in 2000. The Awards were revamped and renamed as the Best Corporate Governance and ESG Awards in 2021, enhancing their standing as one of Hong Kong’s most prestigious and sought-after awards. This year, companies and PSOs will again be judged in seven main categories, covering Hand Seng Index-constituents and other listed companies and PSOs of different sizes, based on their market capitalization or turnover, respectively. The judging criteria look at whether companies and PSOs have taken the initiative to implement a high standard of disclosures and practices that go beyond the minimum statutory and regulatory requirements.

In 2022, the HKICPA invited a limited amount of financial sponsorship to help support the costs of organizing the Awards, and was pleased to receive considerable interest from prominent CPA and other professional consultancy firms, which we see as an endorsement of the objectives, as well as the reputation and standing of the Awards in the Hong Kong market. This year, once again, we are pleased to have received a similar enthusiastic response (see Note 1). HKICPA expresses its deep appreciation for this support and that of the Awards’ media sponsors (see Note 2). For more details of the Awards, please visit:


Note 1: list of sponsors (in alphabetical order)

1.    Ace Sustainability & Risk Advisors Ltd.

2.    AVISTA Group

3.    BDO

4.    CityLinkers Group

5.    Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

6.    Ernst & Young

7.    Grant Thornton Hong Kong Ltd.

8.    HLB Hodgson Impey Cheng Ltd.

9.    KPMG

10.  Mazars

11.  Moore CPA Ltd.

12.  PwC

13.  Riskory Consultancy Limited

14.  RSM Hong Kong



Note 2: list of media sponsors (in alphabetical order)

1.    ET Net

2.    Hong Kong Economic Times

3.    The Standard





The Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants has opened the Best Corporate Governance and ESG Awards 2023 for entry until August 3, 2023.































1.    傑思可持續發展與風險諮詢有限公司

2.    艾華迪集團

3.    香港立信德豪會計師事務所

4.    連城集團

5.    德勤 · 關黃陳方會計師行

6.    安永會計師事務所

7.    致同(香港)會計師事務所有限公司

8.    HLB國衛會計師事務所有限公司

9.    畢馬威會計師事務所

10.  中審眾環(香港)會計師事務所有限公司

11.  大華馬施雲會計師事務所有限公司

12.  羅兵咸永道

13.  Riskory Consultancy Limited

14.  羅申美會計師事務所



1. 經濟通

2. 香港經濟日報

3. 英文虎報