Staff Reporters
Nov 10, 2023

60% of Hongkongers and Singaporeans distrust claims made by companies regarding ESG activities

TOP OF THE CHARTS: Distrust in claims about ESG activities is deeply embedded among Hongkongers and Singaporeans, as public expectations for authenticity remains high.

60% of Hongkongers and Singaporeans distrust claims made by companies regarding ESG activities

Source: SEC Newgate Global ESG Monitor 2023

Hongkongers have the highest awareness of ESG in the world

  • 85% of Hongkongers are aware of ESG, up 15% since last year, and versus only 53% globally. 
  • Interest in ESG in Hong Kong has jumped to 71%, up by 21% since 2023, and above the global average of 67%.
  • Hongkongers are also leading the charge globally in terms of conscious consumerism. ESG issues are influencing their decisions in a wide range of areas, in particular the types of products they buy (71%, compared to 62% globally) and the foods they eat (68% versus 62% globally). 
  • 79% of respondents in Hong Kong think it is critical for companies to take action on ESG issues.
  • In Hong Kong, 71% believe companies should speak out on issues that are important to their employees and customers.
  • At the same time, 70% believe companies can be profitable while also performing well on ESG, and there is perceived willingness to pay for better ESG performance from 61% of respondents.
  • However, distrust in what corporates claim about their ESG activities is deeply embedded. Around 60% of Hongkongers don't believe companies who say their overall purpose is more important than making a profit.
  • Around three in five people in Hong Kong have heard of the term ‘greenwashing’ and a similar proportion think it is a real problem once they see the definition.

Singapore's awareness of the terms ESG and NetZero higher than global average

Of over 1,000 Singaporeans polled:

  • 75% have heard of the term “ESG” (versus global average of 53%)
     
  • 65% have heard of the term “NetZero” (versus global average of 54%)
     
  • 50% have heard of the term “greenwashing” (versus global average of 47%)
  • A substantial majority (76%) of Singaporeans emphasised the importance of companies taking action on ESG issues (global average of 77%). 
  • 70% of Singaporeans felt that companies should express their position on matters important to both their employees and customers (in line with global average of 70%).
  • 60% of Singaporeans believe ESG issues are important considerations in their daily consumption of food, products and services, as well as their employment decisions. These figures align closely with the global averages.
  • In terms of employment decisions, Singaporeans also expect companies to make good on their commitments to their employees, especially amidst inflation and cost of living pressures.
  • But claims made by companies regarding ESG activities are met with distrust and scepticism. Only 41% of Singaporeans actively looked for companies’ disclosures relating to their ESG initiatives and performance. 
  • When asked about their attitudes towards companies’ ESG claims, close to 60% of Singaporeans expressed distrust and were worried that these claims relating to ESG impact could be misleading. 
  • 55% of Singaporeans think greenwashing is a problem among Singapore-based companies.
 
Methodology
 
The survey polled over 12,000 participants in 12 countries and territories to study public attitudes and perceptions concerning the environmental, social and governance (“ESG”) performance of companies. Participants were sourced from global panel provider PureProfile, with questionnaires translated and completed in-language in Colombia, France, Germany, Hong Kong SAR, Italy, Poland, Spain and United Arab Emirates (UAE). Fieldwork was conducted from late July to early August 2023.
 
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Top of the Charts: Key data at a glance

 

Source:
Campaign Asia

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