Welcome back to the monthly SFi newsletter!
SFi has been keeping busy throughout the summer, launching a New Impact Society’s Introduction to Food & Ag course featuring experts from FAIRR and Brinc, and taking advantage of the quiet month of July to plot new ways of making impact front and center in Hong Kong. We hope you are staying cool, and without further ado, let’s dig in!
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Under Siege
In June, the US Supreme Court (SCOTUS) issued a ruling striking down race-based admissions programs at Harvard University and the University of North Carolina. Several American corporations across industries (e.g. American Express, Apple and Procter & Gamble) urged the court to uphold affirmative action, stating that a diverse workforce improves business performance and that ending affirmative action will put US companies at a disadvantage.
According to BSR, Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) is gaining momentum in Asia Pacific (APAC) - let’s look at two key regional drivers:
The focus in the region tends to be on diverse representation and gender-related issues, as women tend to be underrepresented in leadership positions. APAC is ethnically, culturally, and linguistically diverse, which means that DEI approaches vary by country. In 2021, SFi and the Asian Corporate Governance Association submitted a response to a HKEX consultation, proposing that regulators took bolder steps towards stronger DEI policies
In the aftermath of COVID-19, mental health and we
llness emerged as a key topic that increasingly more companies in the region are prioritizing. SFi is very supportive of regional ventures such as ThoughtFull, Neurum Health, and Hollo, working precisely on this topic
Overall, we believe that the SCOTUS decision will likely have repercussions on corporate DEI policies and ultimately lead to a less diverse workforce and less performing corporations. However, this side effect will not be immediate and the nuanced DEI approaches and policies needed in APAC will partially shield corporates in the region.
Investing in a Greener Future: China's Sustainable Bond Market is Taking Flight
China's Green Finance Committee has announced that 193 previously issued green bonds worth $35 billion meet the standards of both China's and the European Union's common-ground taxonomy (CGT) for climate-mitigation projects. This development expands the pool of investible green bonds for in
ternational investors and mitigates the risk of greenwashing accusations. The Green Finance Committee expert group’s chairman Ma Jun stated that the initiative will further enhance the openness of China’s green bond market to global investors.
As China maintains its position as the largest issuer of green bonds worldwide with over $85.4 billion issued in 2022, they are also expanding beyond climate and the environment with the recent pilot program to introduce social and sustainability bonds to align with international practices and scale up the market for sustainable bonds.
Focus on Family Offices - Events and Reports
As is the case every year, also this September Hong Kong is planning to come back from summer with a roar - so prepare your (digital) business cards!
On 11-12 September, The Hong Kong Jockey Club is hosting the Philanthropy for Better Cities Forum, which aims to “convene discussion and debates among philanthropic, academic, business, social sector and government leaders that reimagine new service models, ultimately striving towards fairness of opportunities and outcomes, and exploring how 21st-century philanthropies could evolve in Asia and beyond”.
On 11-12 September, Campden Wealth is hosting The Asia Pacific Family Office and Investment Forum. The theme is Outlook, Trends and Services which aims to provide “a unique platform for family offices and investment communities to exchange insights, share best practices, and explore new opportunities
in the rapidly evolving family office & investment space.”
On 27 September, the South China Morning Post is hosting a session titled “Navigating Transitions: The Evolving Family Office Landscape and the Path Ahead”, part of its Redefining Hong Kong Series 2023 - Family Office edition. This event “aims to provide valuable insights and foster engaging discussions on the ever-evolving landscape for family offices and family businesses in Hong Kong”, and laser-focused on topics critical to the city such as attracting single-family offices, striking a balance between legacy and innovation, and reevaluating real estate investments.
To learn more on the topic of family offices, check out the following reports:
UBS released its 2023 Global Family Office Report, compiled with data from 230 family offices located all-over the globe.
Goldman Sachs’ Family Office Investment Insights Report shows how a select group of family offices are navigating the macroeconomic landscape, all
ocating capital, investing thematically and planning for the future.
BlackRock’s Global Family Office Report is based on a survey conducted on family offices to uncover their priorities, challenges and portfolio positioning for 2023 and beyond.
Enjoy the reading!