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By RL Expert Leesa Soulodre

Leading countries such as Australia, Canada, and the UK require listed companies to make disclosures on the representation of women on their boards and in their workforce. Compared to a paltry 11% women on Hong Kong's listed boards, these countries have seen their numbers escalate significantly in recent years as global momentum on this issue has intensified. Based on our observations, transparency of corporate gender data, coupled with enlightened leadership, accelerates change. But, while gender diversity is topical, it's also about diversity of skillsets, ethnicity, age, tenure etc.
Since September 2013, Hong Kong's listed companies are required, on a 'comply or explain' basis, to have a board diversity policy, to set measurable objectives, and to report on progress. However, this has so far failed to significantly impact positive change in the gender diversity of Hong Kong's listed boards. According to Community Business' research, for many Hong Kong listed companies, board diversity is not 'top of mind', let alone gender diversity. Despite a growing body of international research highlighting the many benefits of a more diverse board and well-meaning initiatives like the 30% Club and directorship training programmes, Hong Kong and other Asian markets are stagnating on this issue.
If you agree that diversity in all its forms in the workplace and at board level is important, we encourage you to participate. Given the 5 core Stock Exchanges work hard to align on corporate governance and ESG Disclosure standards this is an opportunity to not only influence HK standards but also to indirectly influence the rest of the region.
Submit a response to the Public Consultation by customising your response using the template provided on Influence - that specifically responds to Q15 of the Consultation Paper (please do not simply 'cut & paste' as the responses need to vary in wording/style in order to be counted as separate responses).
We also encourage you to respond to other questions which cover wider areas of responsible business, such as environmental disclosures.
You may submit your response using the HKEx Questionnaire in which you can provide responses to any or all 15 questions.
To understand why we are asking you to act now, you may refer to the rationale that is stated in the Community Business full submission here:
If you would like to read more about the ESG Consultation, please see:
Please also circulate this widely to your contacts. This is a practical and timely opportunity for us – jointly and individually – to influence change. We hope that through our collective effort, we are able to encourage Hong Kong's companies to take the subject of women in the workplace seriously and bring about positive and sustainable change in Hong Kong. As the Public Consultation ends on 25 September 2015, we need your urgent action. We have a unique opportunity to move the needle on the gender diversity and responsible business disclosures of listed companies by responding to the HKEXs Public Consultation on its Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Reporting Guide.
Click on the Influence tab and have your say at . This is a practical and timely opportunity for us – jointly and individually – to influence change in the region.
Download the NACD Diversity Discussion Guide for Directors today and structure your Board's diversity conversation.
This National Association of Corporate Directors (NACD) discussion guide is intended to structure board conversations about diversity and build a process for ensuring effective diversity in the boardroom.
Use this guide to:
Prepare for meaningful diversity discussions in the boardroom
Effectively define the scope and objectives of board diversity
Create decision rules for achieving and maintaining the desired levels of diversity
Most Relevant Audiences: the full board and the Nominating & Governance committee.
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About Leesa Soulodre:
Cofounder of DiversityDirectory Asia Pacific. Managing Partner and Director of RL Expert Group, an international reputation risk management think tank and consulting practice and Asia Associate of the Reputation Institute. A Member of the Global Advisory Council of NY Investment Advisory Firm, Cornerstone Capital; an Innovation Advisor to the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign Advanced Digital Science Centre, Singapore and Board Advisor to Belgian PR Software firm, Prezly and US Sports Analytics firm, Autoscout.
Research Fellow of TIAS - the School for Business and Society, working to deliver predictive reputation risk analytics for financial strategies and complex global supply chains - r3Intell.
Connect: Leesa Soulodre, Managing Partner, RL Expert Group -
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