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China’s SynTao partners with advisory firm Ascent on ESG reporting

Partnership driven by Hong Kong exchange’s ESG requirements.

SynTao, the China-based sustainability consulting firm, has teamed up with financial advisory firm Ascent Partners on a new ESG reporting service partly driven by the Hong Kong Stock Exchange’s new ESG “comply or explain” requirements.

The partnership, which will operate under the brand Ascent SynTao, was launched in Hong Kong, where Ascent Partners is based, last month.

Speaking to Responsible Investor, Dr. Peiyuan Guo, General Manager of SynTao, said the two firms had been in discussion for around a year. “We are specialised in different areas. SynTao works on China’s mainland on CSR strategy consulting and reporting. While Ascent Partners is an advisory firm, with a particular focus on the valuation of assets for clients, mostly Hong-Kong listed companies.”

He said this mix of experience created synergy and a driver for partnership. He added that new ESG requirements from the Hong Kong Stock Exchange had influenced the move.

Late last year, the Hong Kong stock exchange (HKEx) strengthened its ESG reporting guidance to requirecompanies to disclose more, on a “comply or explain” basis, about a range of ESG factors, including emissions and other environmental-related data, policies on managing environmental and social risks of the supply chain and labour standards, including preventing child and forced labour.

“It’s a positive signal from the HKEx,” said Guo. “It’s halfway between voluntary and mandatory and will perhaps move companies to report rather than explain – this is our expectation.

“SynTao has a lot of experience on reporting and Ascent Partners has good connections with listed Hong Kong companies. Also a lot of Hong Kong listed companies operate in mainland China.”

The Ascent SynTao brand has been registered in Hong Kong and is co-owned by both parties.

Ascent CEO Simon Mak said: “We are very happy to be working alongside SynTao; with their CSR consulting expertise and our history of serving over 300 listed companies, we both have a lot to offer. We look forward to building on the success of our recent launch event in what promises to be a powerful and rewarding union.”