The 2015 Annual Report of CLP Holdings Limited, in Hong Kong, China, won the Gold Stevie® Award for Innovation in Annual Reports in the Annual Report & Other Publications Awards categories of the 2016 Asia-Pacific Stevie® Awards.
The 2017 (4th Annual) Asia-Pacific Stevie® Awards is now accepting entries.
We asked Geert Peeters, Executive Director & Chief Financial Officer at CLP Holdings, for some insight into how the Stevie® Award-winning 2015 Annual Report was created, and what winning a Stevie® Award has meant to the people who created it.
Geert Peters, Executive Director & Chief Financial Officer at CLP Holdings, was delighted that his company’s 2015 Annual Report had won a Gold Stevie® Award in the 2016 Asia-Pacific Stevie® Awards. He told us: “We are deeply honored to have won the Stevie Award for Innovation in Annual Reports. As an organization that prizes innovation, we are delighted by the recognition of our excellence in this regard.”
Encapsulating guidelines by the International Integrated Reporting Council and the Hong Kong Institute of Certified Public Accountants, CLP’s 2015 Annual Report is the company’s fifth integrated annual report. Structured around the theme of CLP’s “unwavering commitment to the communities we serve,” the Report presents a connected view of the social, environmental, operational, and financial aspects of CLP’s overall performance in an integrated and innovative manner.
Explained Geert: “We entered the Asia-Pacific Stevie Awards for continuous learning: every year, our colleagues across different departments and countries work very hard to put together an annual report that makes us proud, so winning the Stevie Award is definitely a strong recognition of these efforts.”
“We have benefited immensely in the process, because innovation is a continuous undertaking and we are still learning how to do better,” continued Geert. “For example, we are an early adopter of integrated reporting, which means we report our business achievements alongside our environmental, social, and governance performance. Such an approach has provided us a holistic picture of what we do and what values we deliver to our stakeholders.
“The awards we have received motivate us to innovate and try new ideas, like designing a posting bag that can double up as a recyclable shopping bag. We also make use of a feedback form to drive donations for selected NGOs. Through these channels, we are able to better engage with our different stakeholders, and deliver values to them in ways that we never could before.”
Design and Format
“Electricity is an indispensable part of modern life,” explained Geert. “It powers the machines that keep our communities safe, and allows us to live and work comfortably and with convenience. To highlight the close relationship between CLP and our stakeholders, this year we decided to create a relaxing home feel, reflected in our Annual Report’s vivid and colorful illustrations, well-designed diagrams, intuitive infographics and selective use of photographs. To provide an at-a-glance look at our business performance, we captured and visualized all key information with figures, graphics. and tables in the opening six-page section of ‘A Snapshot of CLP in 2015’.”
Accessibility and Interactivity
To expand CLP’s reach to broader audiences, the print version of its Annual Report went live with an online multimedia Snapshot and Sustainability Report. As Geert put it: “Our Snapshot presents an overview of our business using multimedia tools such as videos, whilst our Sustainability Report provides a more detailed account of our sustainability principles, strategies, and efforts. Together with our website and other CLP literature, we aim to enable our stakeholders to have a more informed assessment of our company.”
In addition, Geert stated: “We have also developed an innovative way to strengthen our interaction with readers by pledging to make charitable donations of HK$60 for each feedback that we receive on our Annual Report, online Snapshot, and Sustainability Report, with a cap of HK$350,000 in total.”
In conclusion, Geert told us that “being recognized by such a well-regarded organization is a strong vote of confidence on the work we do. It gives us the motivation to strive for the best.”
With energy and its impact on the environment a topic of major concern, we asked Geert what plans CLP had for 2017. He commented: “We are fully aware of the impact of the activities of the energy industry on environment. That’s why we decided about a decade ago that we would shoulder our responsibility to address the risk and effect of climate change. Adopting the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong’s ESG Reporting Guide is a part of that commitment. In fact, we were one of the few companies that began to report on environmental and social performance way back in the 1990s, and this later evolved and became our Sustainability Report which is available online. So we are no strangers to ESG reporting.”
Reducing the Carbon Footprint
To play its part in reducing the carbon footprint, CLP encouraged e-communication by donating HK$60 for each shareholder’s request to switch to its electronic publications. For the mailing of hard copies, the company specially designed a posting bag which could be converted into a reusable carrier bag in order to promote conservation and reduce waste.
Added Geert: “In our 2015 annual report, we already disclosed ESG information that fell under the ‘comply or explain’ provisions. In our 2016 annual report, which will be published in March 2017, we plan to do more. But for us to be able to report, first we must have the action. Last year, the United Nations adopted 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aimed at tackling poverty, hunger, climate change, and other global problems by 2030. The SDGs have provided the international community with a clear direction on the transformative steps that are urgently needed for sustainable development. They also inspired us to develop our own Sustainability Principles, which set the foundation for articulating our sustainability priorities in support of our longer-term business strategy. This signifies our willingness to play a role in helping the world achieve the SDGs, especially those on combating climate change and affordable electricity.”
Inspiration for the Future
Geert is optimistic about the future. “CLP’s goal is to meet Asia Pacific’s energy challenge in a sustainable way–from one generation to the next,” he explained. “This means we want to be able to supply our customers with electricity that is reliable and safe, and to make sure it is done in an environmentally friendly manner and at a reasonable price.”
Continued Geert: “We recognize the world is changing rapidly, however. We need to have a clear vision of tomorrow and be able to harness the power of innovation so that we are well equipped and ready for change. To become the utility of the future, we need to transform to become a customer-centric energy company that can compete in a low carbon world.
“This opens up a whole new vista of possibilities. Renewable energy is definitely one of them. It has been exciting to see that more and more countries in Asia are generating energy through renewable means, be it solar or wind. This is especially true in Mainland China and India, CLP’s two growth markets, which both have ambitious clean energy targets. Over the years, CLP has developed more than 3,000 megawatts of renewable projects, mostly in these two markets. And we have plans to do more.
“Meanwhile, our presence in these markets is inspiring on another level. We have seen the emergence of private savings in these emerging markets. Through the issuance of local currency bonds, including green bonds, we are thrilled to be able to help people to channel their hard-earned savings into infrastructure projects that will ultimately advance their home lands. And I am excited to be able to contribute to this adventure.”
About Geert Peeters:
Geert Peeters has been the Group Director & Chief Financial Officer since 1 April 2014, responsible for Group financial control & reporting, Group treasury, Group tax, Group corporate finance, risk management, and investor relations for CLP Holdings Limited. He was appointed the Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer of CLP Holdings with effect from 1 January 2016.
Mr. Peeters has over 25 years of experience in the energy industry. Prior to joining CLP, he was the Deputy Chief Financial Officer of GDF SUEZ (now known as ENGIE) Group based in Paris. Mr. Peeters was with GDF SUEZ from 1997 to 2013, gaining extensive experience in senior financial and operational roles in Europe, Latin America, the Middle East, and North America. He also served as the Executive Director and Chief Financial Officer of International Power plc, a GDF SUEZ subsidiary listed on the London Stock Exchange and part of the FTSE 100 index until July 2012. Before joining GDF SUEZ, he worked for KBC Bank in Brussels and New York and for Tractebel Energy Engineering at the Doel Nuclear Power Plant in Antwerp (Belgium). He also served as a Reserve Officer in the Belgian Air Force.
In the past three years, Mr. Peeters has served on the boards of several listed energy companies, including International Power plc, E-CL, listed in Chile, and Glow Energy in Thailand. He is a member of the CNBC Global CFO Council. Mr. Peeters is a Knight in the Order of King Leopold. He has a Master of Science in electro-mechanical engineering from Ghent University, Belgium, a postgraduate degree in business and IT administration from ICHEC Brussels, Belgium, and he attended executive business training at INSEAD Paris, France
About CLP Group
CLP Holdings Limited, a company listed on the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong, is the holding company for the CLP Group, one of the largest investor-owned power businesses in Asia Pacific. Through CLP Power Hong Kong Limited, it operates a vertically integrated electricity supply business providing a highly reliable supply of electricity to 80% of Hong Kong’s population.
Outside Hong Kong, CLP holds investment in the energy sector in Mainland China, India, Southeast Asia, Taiwan, and Australia. Its diversified portfolio of generating assets uses a wide range of fuels including coal, gas, nuclear, and renewable sources. CLP is one of the largest external investors in the Mainland’s renewable energy sector. In India, it is one of the biggest renewable energy producers and among the largest foreign investors in the electricity sector. In Australia, its wholly owned subsidiary, EnergyAustralia, is one of the largest integrated energy companies, providing gas and electricity to over 2.6 million households and businesses.
CLP is listed on the Global Dow–a 150-stock index of the world’s leading blue-chips, the Dow Jones Sustainability Asia Pacific Index (DJSI Asia Pacific), the Dow Jones Sustainability Asia Pacific 40 Index (DJSI Asia Pacific 40), Hang Seng Corporate Sustainability Index Series, and MSCI Global Sustainability Index Series.