President C.M. Chan, who is also the Founding IHLC Chairman, greeted the audience with his welcoming remarks.
The 2021 Annual Conference of In-House Lawyers was held in the format of a full-day webinar for the very first time on 15 September. The flagship event of the In-House Lawyers Committee (“IHLC”), which was themed “Legal Pathways to Sustainability” this year, attracted a record high registration of over 800 legal professionals, consisting of mainly in-house lawyers of various sectors and industries. Also for the first time, the conference was supported by simultaneous interpretation in Putongua to cater for participants from the Greater China region. To tie in with the theme and to lessen the environmental impact of the event, this year's conference went paperless.
We were honoured to have Mr Wong Kam-sing, Secretary for the Environment, delivering the keynote speech, wherein he introduced Hong Kong’s environmental endeavours and highlighted the important role of lawyers in promoting sustainability.
Mr Wong's speech was followed by a panel discussion on the legal considerations in relation to green investments. The session featured Ms. Lisa Chung, Partner, Slaughter and May; Ms. Grace Hui, Managing Director and Head of Green and Sustainable Finance, Markets Division, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited; Mrs. Alexandra Tracy, Founder and President, Hoi Ping Ventures; and moderator Mr. Winston Yu, Associate General Counsel, Jefferies, who introduced the concepts of sustainable financing and identified the opportunities and risks brought about by this rising financial solution.
Technological innovation has been shaping the sustainability agenda. Speakers from the tech industry, including Ms. Karen Law, Head of Legal and Chief Compliance Officer, TNG FinTech Group; Mr. Jason Tsao, Chief of Staff, Microsoft Asia Pacific; and Mrs. Rosana Wong, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, Hong Kong Science and Technology Parks Corporation, shared their insights on using technology to implement sustainability strategies and leverage the arising opportunities. They also highlighted the legal and regulatory challenges that in-house lawyers could face when supporting their organisations’ sustainability initiatives. The panel discussion was moderated by Mr. Wilfred Ng, Senior Legal Counsel, Tencent.
After the lunch break, Mr. Angus Yip, ESG Advisor, World Green Organisation, led a discussion among the heads of legal from the logistics, transportation and public utility industries, including Mr. Cody Leung, Group General Counsel and Corporate Development Director, Hutchison Port Holdings Limited; Ms. Gillian Meller, Legal and Governance Director, MTR Corporation Limited; and Mr. David Simmonds, Group General Counsel and Chief Administrative Officer, CLP Holdings Limited. Together, they shared with the audience their experience in managing environmental and social risks of their respective industries, and how they balanced the interests of their many stakeholders.
Growing environmental awareness around the globe has translated into higher standard for environmental, social and corporate governance (“ESG”) reporting. In the penultimate session, Mr. Marek Grabowski, Chief Executive Officer, Financial Reporting Council, gave an overview of the latest development of ESG compliance and advised on how legal professionals could help enhance the integration of ESG into businesses.
The conference was wrapped up by a panel discussion which covered a timely topic on sustainable continuity planning under the turbulence brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic. In this session, Mr. Michael Horman, Impact Officer and Legal Counsel, meo air analytics; Mr. Suen Son Poon, Chief Operating Officer, General Counsel and Chief Compliance Officer, IDEG Limited; and
Mr. Adam Au, General Counsel and Data Protection Officer, UMP Healthcare Holdings Limited, shared with the audience how they, as
in-house lawyers, responded to different challenges arising from the pandemic. The speakers were joined by moderator Ms. Alison Tsoi, Legal Counsel, Kerry Holdings Limited, in discussing how in-house lawyers could address and prepare for potential risks and interruptions in future.
IHLC would like to express heartfelt thanks to all panellists and sponsors for their support, without which the conference would not have another year of success.
Needless to say, your participation is always crucial to us. We look forward to welcoming you at our 10th Annual Conference next year. If you have any feedback on the 2021 Conference, or have any suggestions, please do not hesitate to contact IHLC at firstname.lastname@example.org.