TOn 15 September 2021, The Hong Kong Chartered Governance Institute (‘Institute’) and Bain & Company, based on the survey of over 1,400 members of senior management of companies in Hong Kong and Mainland China, jointly published a major thought leadership survey report on ‘The New Board Agenda’ (‘Survey Report’).

The Survey Report focuses on how Hong Kong and mainland China corporations can build resilience by managing stakeholder interests under a new board agenda. The future proof agenda needs to cover seven main topics, namely: the company’s long-term purpose; future-proof strategy; response to disruption; environmental, social and corporate (‘ESG’) governance strategy; talent strategy; business performance management; and risk and compliance management.

The Survey Report explains that the world is currently experiencing a period of increased turbulence and disruptions over the last two decades. Companies face turbulence in the form of interstate and civil conflicts & rebellions, public health & environmental threats, financial crises & trade conflicts, and technological disruption and threats. Within Greater China the risks which are currently on the top of mind for companies are asset bubbles, the spread of infectious disease, inter-state conflicts and natural catastrophes.

This turbulence is likely to continue and even intensify, with over 90% of the senior management of companies surveyed expecting more turbulence in the business environment in the coming 3-5 years. Large corporates who run regional or global business footprints expect even more intense risks. Throughout the growing turbulence, the Survey Report finds that there has been a shift towards managing companies in the long-term interests of a broad set of stakeholders. The collective research also shows that boards that have discussed stakeholder management are better at managing turbulence in all dimensions.