Turning commitment into action is crucial to achieving net-zero targets by 2050. COP26 has highlighted the urgency of climate issues and pushed countries into launching green action plans. Covid-19, meanwhile, has uncovered deficiencies in the social infrastructure, particularly with regard to protecting the health and promoting the welfare of the people. Both require deliberate action to shift the world’s trajectory away from certain tragedy to a sustainable future.
Asia, which accounts for over 50% of global greenhouse gas emissions today, must exercise resolve in its transition journey. In the wake of rapid urbanization and industrialization over the past two decades, the region needs to enter a new phase that puts a premium on circular economy solutions, resilient and renewable energy sources, green cities and clean transport.
This is not only about leveraging resources wisely but unlocking the power of finance, relying on more climate-friendly technology, developing talent, greening procurement processes and improving supply-chain resilience. Most importantly, collaboration among governments, the private sector and financial institutions is crucial to translate plans into actionable opportunities.
Sustainable finance offers a way to support these ambitions. The issuance of green, social, sustainability and sustainability-linked bonds reached US$331 billion as of December 2021. The social bond market, in particular, doubled in size from the previous year, a reflection of how this pandemic is shining the light on the myriad of deficiencies in this area. The volume of green and sustainable loans has also soared, reaching US$98 billion during the period.
However, the rising popularity of sustainable finance has heightened the risk of greenwashing. Investors now require high-quality environmental, social and governance (ESG) data and standardized taxonomy to ensure that their funds contribute towards delivering positive outcomes for the environment and society. And, as investors grow in sophistication, the demand for more diversified sustainable products will only grow.
The Asset Events is delighted to be organizing the 5th ESG Summit - Asia-Pacific’s leading ESG forum alongside the 17th Asia Bond Markets Summit, the annual gathering of thought leaders, policymakers, issuers and investors. This multi-event summit event brings together ESG thought leaders from governments, corporates, organizations, investment funds and financial institutions to discuss the rapidly-evolving sustainability landscape.
Asia plays a crucial role in the global transition to net zero. The region is home to two of the world’s biggest emitters and, at the same time, it is where a significant number of the most climate-change vulnerable countries are located. And, while Asia made commitments at COP26, it is facing challenges to turn these promises into reality. The region, however, is also a global leader in renewable energy harnessing the power of technology to reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change.
Sustainability is now an important part of the business agenda. Balancing profitability with sustainability, however, remains a major challenge for most companies, particularly as most corporates face an uphill battle in their post-Covid recovery. Sustainable finance is unlocking new opportunities which enable companies to decarbonizing operations while achieving cost efficiency and meeting client demands.