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Speech by FS at HKEX Impact Summit (English only) (with photos)
     Following is the speech by the Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, at the HKEX Impact Summit today (December 2):

Laura (Chairman of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited (HKEX), Mrs Laura Cha), Gucho (Chief Executive Officer of HKEX, Mr Nicolas Aguzin), Gabriel (Executive Director, Charities and Community of the Hong Kong Jockey Club, Dr Gabriel Leung), distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,

     Good morning. I'm pleased to be here for the inaugural HKEX Impact Summit. Pleased to note that you will hear from nearly 30 prominent speakers representing Hong Kong charitable institutions, NGOs (non-governmental organisations), businesses, social enterprises, academia and more. Your grateful presence today speaks of an emerging, cross-sector collaboration committed to making a decided difference, to connecting companies and our community in pursuit of sustainable, inclusive prosperity. 

     It may be an ambitious and demanding objective, but it can no longer be viewed as an optional one, not in a world where environmental, social and governance, or ESG, have become an essential component of good business.  

     One important dimension of ESG is right here in our stock market. For listed companies, HKEX first introduced the ESG Reporting Guide in 2013, and recently came up with further enhancements in 2020 focusing on board governance and oversight of ESG issues, as well as mitigation of significant climate change risks.  

     This is a process that keeps rolling. HKEX is now working with the Securities and Futures Commission to develop sustainability reporting proposals aligned with global baseline standards and the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. 

     ESG has set foot in small to medium size enterprises too. On the one hand, the community worldwide is generally becoming more aware of the social and environmental aspects of goods and services they use. On the other, introducing such measures as green features would help our SMEs (small and medium-sized enterprises) to enhance competitiveness and achieve greater community recognition. ESG is a trend which our enterprises must embrace. I am glad to note that SMEs' awareness of ESG is growing, as evident in various surveys. 

     But ESG is not all about reporting and compliance, or simply giving for charitable purposes. It is about internalising the value of doing good for the community, making it part of the culture or DNA of enterprises and corporates. That is why the Impact Summit has brought together businesses, NGOs, social enterprises and alike so that we may inspire each other on values and best practices. Creating sustainable connections between our businesses and our community is the road to better achieving our social objectives.

     And there is much to learn from social enterprises about the different dimensions of enhancing corporate social responsibilities and citizenship. The Government and the community have long worked together to develop the social enterprise sector by providing funding, building their capacity, promoting cross-sector collaboration and enhancing public understanding of their efforts. No wonder, the number of social enterprises has increased from 260 in 2008 to more than 700 today.  

     What's more, social innovation now plays a crucial part in advancing the social good, resolving problems and creating an impact. For example, how could we engage the more vulnerable in, and let them benefit from, the trending businesses and industries? How could we make a meaningful difference through empowering the people in need?  

     Among the many other speakers who may provide insight into this, I am pleased to note that this afternoon, Mr Alvin Miu, Vice-chairperson of the Government's Social Innovation and Entrepreneurship Development Fund, will update you on the work of the Fund. Since its establishment in 2013, the Trust Fund has supported more than 430 projects, covering research, capacity building and projects in alleviating poverty and social exclusion as well as promoting societal well-being.

     Ladies and gentlemen, ranging from ESG to social entrepreneurship, from capacity building to encouraging innovation, I look forward to the enlightening ideas and proposals that today 's HKEX Impact Summit will no doubt stimulate. 

     My thanks to HKEX for bringing us together today, for making an impact day after day. I wish you a rewarding Summit and the best of business, and business philanthropy, in the coming year. Thank you.
Ends/Friday, December 2, 2022
Issued at HKT 15:35
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The Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, speaks at the HKEX Impact Summit today (December 2).
The Financial Secretary, Mr Paul Chan, attended the HKEX Impact Summit today (December 2). Photo shows Mr Chan (first left) visiting an exhibition booth.