Richard Sheng, Board Secretary and Brand Director, Ping An Insurance Group, gives advice on integrating environmental, social and governance factors into corporate risk management systems.

In recent years, international capital markets have paid more attention to the environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance of companies, and investors have increasingly incorporated ESG into their investment decision-making process. 

ESG provides a non-financial perspective to analyse the medium and long-term development of a company. Facing the current complicated business environment, what are the specific and wider impacts of ESG? How does one incorporate ESG into a company’s existing risk management system? How can ESG guide asset management? 

This article will use Ping An as an example to explore specific ways to integrate ESG into a company’s risk management system.

Crises and ESG

During the current Covid pandemic, global financial markets have made ESG the focus of market policies in the pursuit of long-term stability. According to the Global Risks Report 2021 issued by the World Economic Forum, environmental issues such as extreme weather and climate change have accounted for four of the top five global risks in recent years. A report published by The Network for Greening the Financial System also states that central banks and regulators around the world are forming a new consensus that environmental and climate-related factors have become one of the major causes of financial risks. 

The Bank of England estimates that if the global financial industry does not cooperate with government climate policy and take action, it may lead to US$4–US$20 trillion in losses. However, if companies address ESG issues correctly, they can embrace new opportunities in the process of transformation. 

Research by the Goldman Sachs long-term investment strategy team shows that globally there is the potential for US$600 billion in revenue gains from low-carbon initiatives. A report published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change – Unlocking the Inclusive Growth Story of the 21st Century – pointed out that by 2030 low-carbon initiatives are expected to bring economic gains of up to US$26 trillion.

In the Mainland, changes in macro development goals also provide ESG-related business opportunities. In September 2020, President Xi Jinping announced that the Mainland will aim to hit peak emissions before 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060. Policies in the post-pandemic era have also brought opportunities for clean energy, green bonds and green equities. The size of the green bond market has reached more than RMB1 trillion, and the scale of green credit reached RMB11.55 trillion by the end of 2020.

In recent years, the attention to ESG has resulted in regulatory reforms. The EU Sustainable Financial Disclosure Regulation requires a strict ESG management framework for financial institutions. The UK, New Zealand and other countries have encouraged, or forced, financial institutions to conduct climate risk scenario tests and asset risk quantifications, and have required disclosures under the Taskforce for Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) framework. 

ESG has also received the attention of financial authorities in the Mainland. Since 2020, policies have been introduced that require all listed companies to comply with environmental disclosure requirements, which has guided the transformation of financial institutions. For financial institutions, no matter whether it is due to the escalation of the global pandemic, or the evolution of regulatory trends, introducing ESG factors into existing risk management models is essential.

ESG and risk management

Since not all ESG issues will trigger corporate-level risks, managers need to identify relevant ESG risks in external environments and assess their impact on the company. Moreover, ESG risks often overlap with existing financial risks, so companies should incorporate ESG-related management mechanisms into their existing risk management system.

In Ping An’s experience, ESG could be integrated into five risk management categories – asset management, liquidity, information security, compliance and operations, and brand reputation risk. In response to the different types of ESG risks, companies need to mobilise internal management and internal controls to improve the resilience of their business and operations.

Ping An continues to pay attention to the company’s sustainable development goals and social responsibility. The Group has successfully integrated ESG into its existing ‘251 risk control system’. The system has three main components, establishing: 

  1. a two-tier structure in the Ping An Group and its subsidiaries (the former is responsible for overall planning and supervision, and the latter launches an ESG matrix to achieve dual risk management and control)
  2. a management and control system covering the above five types of
    risks in accordance with international risk management and control standards, and
  3. a collaborative management and control platform, including a unified ESG system and an ESG management platform that uses artificial intelligence (AI).

Based on the 251 system, Ping An has planned an effective ESG action map that covers a wide range of topics and integrates ESG concepts within the Group’s risk management framework.

  1. For asset management risks, determine the macro-level investment strategy and integrate ESG-related risks such as climate change into investment analysis. Form responsible investment management norms applicable to different types of asset investment and formulate a positive asset portfolio that meets the carbon neutralisation target.
  2. For liquidity risks, Ping An relies on technology to integrate ESG into all aspects of property insurance development, underwriting, claims, product management and reinsurance.
  3. In response to compliance risks, Ping An attaches importance to the practice of business ethics. The group formulates employee business codes, pays attention to fair competition and anti-corruption, has created a sustainable supply chain and upgrades its carbon neutral goals.
  4. In response to information security risks, Ping An has formulated ethical goals for the use of data, algorithms and applications. The group has established AI ethics committees, AI ethics management systems and evaluation standards for the challenges of AI.
  5. In response to brand reputation risks, Ping An is committed to creating value for shareholders, customers, employees, communities and the environment, and seeks to enhance both commercial value and social value that will help people live a better life. 

With the help of the unified ESG management tool, AI-ESG Management and Investment Platform (AI-ESG), Ping An is able to coordinate the above actions and promote ESG factors to the group’s risk control system in a scientific and intelligent way. AI-ESG includes an integrated management platform and an investment platform. The former provides ESG information disclosure and rating analysis, process management and public opinion monitoring to improve the efficiency of ESG performance within the group. The latter is built through multi-channel data collection and intelligent analysis. 

Ping An has invested more than RMB5 trillion in the measures discussed above and makes sure that the group’s sustainable development policies are firmly implemented.

ESG issues have attracted attention in both domestic and foreign markets, and have resulted in risks, competitive challenges and opportunities for companies that were not part of the traditional business environment. For this reason, governance professionals need to strengthen the examination of ESG risks in investment activities and business management. Different departments should also be integrated to adapt to the changes in policy and supervision to improve the resilience of companies’ management of ESG issues. 

Richard Sheng
Board Secretary and Brand Director, Ping An Insurance Group


















  1. 搭建集团和专业子公司两层结构(前者负责整体统筹和监督,后者借助负责执行的专业公司和部门组成ESG落地矩阵,实现对风险的双重管控)
  2. 按照国际风险管控标准设立覆盖上述5大类风险的管控体系,实现风险流程管理、体系无缝对接,和
  3. 建立一个协同管控平台,包括统一的ESG制度体系和AI-ESG管理平台。


  1. 针对资产质量风险,确定宏观层面的负责任投资战略、五大责任投资原则,将气候变化等ESG相关风险融入投资分析,形成适用于不同类型资产投资的责任投资管理规范,并制定积极的资产组合碳中和目标,响应国家双碳目标。
  2. 针对保险中的ESG风险和流动性风险,平安产险依托技术手段积极研究气候变化相关的风险爆点,使其融入财产险的开发、核保、理赔、产品管理、再保险管理等各个环节,建立保险的环境风险风险管理制度及工作流程,打造惠及5000家企业的新保险产品。
  3. 针对合规风险,中国平安重视践行商业伦理,恪守公司商业守则并制定员工商业守则,关注公平竞争、反贪腐、反腐败,新增责任产品守则,打造可持续供应链,升级ESG表现,并关注绿色运营相关制度,制定运营碳中和战略,确保达成低碳目标。
  4. 针对信息安全风险,面对愈加广泛的人工智能深度应用及挑战,平安从数据、算法、应用三方面制定了伦理目标,建立了包括AI伦理委员会、AI伦理管理体系、评估标准在内的AI治理框架,以全方位加强AI风险管理,并加入行业协会和专家组,促进AI风险交流。
  5. 针对品牌声誉风险,平安应坚持以金融和科技影响社会,以专业为股东、客户、员工、社区和环境、合作伙伴创造价值,不断寻求商业价值和社会价值双重提升,助力人民群众实现对美好生活的向往。

借助统一的ESG管理工具“AI-ESG管理与投资平台”,中国平安得以对上述行动进行协同管控,促进ESG因子以科学化、智能化的方式进入集团风控体系。 AI-ESG包含综合管理平台和投资平台,前者运用ESG信息披露和评级分析、流程管理、舆情监控提高集团内部的ESG绩效管理效率,后者通过智慧化、多渠道的数据收集和智能化分析打造贴合中国市场的ESG数据库和投资工具。