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HKICPA invites applications for Best Corporate Governance & ESG Awards 2022 and highlights findings of short study on board diversity in Hang Seng Index companies

15 July 2022

(HONG KONG, 15 July 2022) The integration of corporate governance (CG) and ESG (environmental, social and governance) is one of the critical factors for listed companies and public sector organizations to attain resilience and long-term sustainable development. The prioritization of long-term success and ongoing stakeholder engagement over the pursuit of short-term gains by major companies and organizations also contributes to achieving a sustainable future for society. Against this backdrop, the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants (HKICPA) is pleased to announce the launch of its flagship awards programme, the Best Corporate Governance and ESG Awards 2022 (Awards).        

The Awards are now open for applications from listed companies and public sector/ not-for-profit organizations until 10 August 2022.

“The elements of CG and E, S and G complement each other. Many major investors are making it loud and clear that pursuing long-term investment in sustainable and socially responsible companies is now a core part of their investment strategy. Companies that fail to understand this inevitable trend may risk losing the trust of investors,” said Ms. Loretta Fong, CPA (Practising), President of HKICPA and Chairman of Judging Panel of the Best CG & ESG Awards 2022.

“We aim to identify role models in the private and public sectors that set good examples for other companies and organizations to follow. They should be taking significant steps towards integrating CG and ESG considerations into their strategy, oversight and the implementation of their policies, procedures and controls. We will also recognize those entities that continue to uplift the standard of their disclosures and practices in at least one of these areas,” she added.

The highest level of Awards this year will be for the Most Sustainable Companies or Organizations. These are reserved for listed companies and public sector/not-for-profit organizations that demonstrate excellence in both their CG and ESG performances, and are integrating these two key aspects into their business model. For financial years beginning after 1 January 2022, under the revised Corporate Governance Code, the boards of listed companies should establish the company’s purpose, values and strategy, and ensure that these and the company’s culture are aligned with one another. Directors must act with integrity, lead by example and promote the desired culture. While these provisions were not yet in effect during the reporting year covered by the Awards, having the right culture and values in place is an essential part of having award-winning CG and ESG, explains Ms. Fong. “As Chairman of the Awards judging panel, I can say that the judges will be expecting the best companies and organizations to demonstrate that they already have a sound culture in place”, she added.        

Less than half of Hang Seng Index companies have a full-time qualified accountant on the board, almost 17% have no female board members

Among other recent changes put through by Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX) to enhance CG standards and practices, existing listed companies with single gender boards will be mandated to appoint a director of a different gender no later than 31 December 2024 to enhance board diversity. To have a better understanding of the current situation, HKICPA recently conducted a brief research on the board diversity status of all Hang Seng Index (HSI) constituent companies for the year ended 31 December 2021. The study looked at gender, age and whether a “qualified accountant” or someone with financial expertise is sitting on the board.  

The research found out that only 40% of the companies have a qualified accountant who is an executive director, i.e. a full-time member of staff. HKICPA believes that having at least one qualified accountant as a member of senior management, preferably an executive director, could help facilitate the board’s financial reporting and decision-making processes and enable more effective board leadership.

“Previously, there was a requirement to have a qualified accountant as a member of senior management but this was dropped in 2009 in favour of having the board management conduct an annual review of the adequacy of staffing of the financial reporting functions and the oversight role of the audit committee. We hope that such a requirement will be reintroduced as qualified accountants are vital to helping the boards understand the implications of increasingly complex financial reporting and tax standards to the business, and are able to explain financial/ non-financial information more clearly to board members and stakeholders,” said Ms. Loren Tang, Chair of the Organizing Committee of the Best CG and ESG Awards 2022.

 “Many accountants are also in tune with developments in non-financial reporting, and with the establishment of the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) under the umbrella of the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation last November, the development of internationally-adopted sustainability disclosure standards is now on the agenda. An exposure draft of a climate standard has already been issued by the ISSB. A qualified accountant, particularly a member of the Institute, in an executive director position on the board would be able to help listed companies understand and implement these standards and to integrate their financial and non-financial systems and reporting. This is one of the keys to long-term sustainable development for companies, which, in turn, benefits wider society.” she explained.       

HKICPA’s research also found that on average around 14.8% of the directors of HSI constituents are female, which is far below an international benchmark of 30%, advocated by the 30% Club, one of the world’s largest and most influential organizations advocating for more women on boards. In fact, it is worth highlighting that nearly 17% of the companies have no women at all on their boards.

“The current gender imbalance in the composition of boards is something else that clearly needs to be addressed. Diversity is essential to bringing in innovative ideas and encourages better communication with stakeholders. The decisions made by boards with greater gender diversity tend to be more accommodative and well-thought-out according to international research,” said Mr. Patrick Rozario, Chair of the Review Panel of the Best CG and ESG Awards 2022. “Companies need to be more active in looking for suitable female, and also younger, candidates for their boards”, he added. 

Ms. Fong agreed. “There are many well-qualified women in the accounting profession and more women are joining the profession. The composition of younger members of the Institute currently reflect more women than men joining the profession,” she supplemented.” 

HKICPA will be conducting a broader research on all the December year-ended listed companies for 2021, and will share the findings with our members and the public in due course.

The Best Corporate Governance Awards were first organized in 2000. Last year, the Awards were revamped and renamed the Best Corporate Governance and ESG Awards, enhancing its standing as one of Hong Kong’s most prestigious and sought-after awards. This year, companies and organizations will again be judged in seven main categories, covering HSI-constituents and other listed companies and public sector organizations of different sizes. The judging criteria look beyond the minimum statutory and regulatory requirements to identify voluntary disclosures and practices.

This year, HKICPA explored inviting a limited amount of financial sponsorship for the Awards, and was pleased to receive considerable interest in sponsorship from CPA and other professional consultancy firms (see Note 1). HKICPA expresses its appreciation for their 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.    Charles Lo & Co.

5.    CityLinkers Group

6.    Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu

7.    Ernst & Young

8.    Grant Thornton Hong Kong Ltd.

9.    HLB Hodgson Impey Cheng Ltd.

10.  KPMG

11.  Mazars

12.  Moore Stephens CPA Ltd.

13.  PricewaterhouseCoopers

14.  Riskory Consultancy Limited

15.  RSM Hong Kong


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


1.    ET Net

2.    Hong Kong Economic Times

3.    The Standard







(香港,二零二二年七月十五日) 對上市公司及公營機構而言,融合企業管治環境、社會及管治(ESG)是應對未來挑戰及維持長遠可持續發展的其中一項重要因素。當大型企業及機構工作方向聚焦於長遠成果,以持份者持續溝通及聯繫,先於追求短期盈利可為社會未來的可持續發展帶來貢獻。在這背景下,香港會計師公會(公會)欣然宣佈舉辦年度大獎 -「最佳企業管治及ESG大獎2022」。










少於一半恆指成份股公司董事會擁有全職合資格會計師  近17%沒有女性董事










公會的研究亦發現恆指成份股公司當中,平均約有14.8% 的董事為女性,遠低於由倡議更多女性加入董事會的國際機構30% Club 所建議的30%國際標準。事實上現時有接近17%公司的董事會並沒有女性成員。














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.       勞啟明會計師行

5.       連城集團

6.       德勤 · 關黃陳方會計師行

7.       安永會計師事務所

8.       致同(香港)會計師事務所有限公司

9.       HLB國衛會計師事務所有限公司

10.    畢馬威會計師事務所

11.    中審眾環(香港)會計師事務所有限公司

12.    大華馬施雲會計師事務所有限公司

13.    羅兵咸永道會計師事務所

14.    Riskory Consultancy Limited

15.    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