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.
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.
This article is filed under...
Top of the Charts: Key data at a glance


Campaign Asia

Related Articles

Just Published

17 hours ago

Amazon CEO Andy Jassy on using AI to win over ...

The e-commerce giant’s CEO revealed fresh insights into the company's future plans on all things consumer behaviour, AI, Amazon Ads and Prime Video.

19 hours ago

James Hawkins steps down as PHD APAC CEO

Hawkins leaves PHD after close to six years leading the agency, and there will be no immediate replacement for him.

19 hours ago

Formula 1 Shanghai: A watershed event for brand ...

With Shanghai native Zhou Guanyu in the race, this could be the kickoff to even more fierce positioning among Chinese brands.

23 hours ago

Whalar Group appoints Neil Waller and James Street ...

EXCLUSIVE: The duo will lead six business pillars and attempt to win more creative, not just creator, briefs with the hire of Christoph Becker as chief creative officer.