Published: 15:38, March 25, 2024 | Updated: 12:48, March 26, 2024
HK to provide green finance and related investment products
By Oswald Chan

Guests pose for a group photo at the One Earth Summit organized by Institute of Sustainability and Technology in Hong Kong, on March 25, 2024. (PHOTO / HKSAR GOVT)

The inaugural Financial Mega Event Week kicked off with the first One Earth Summit on Monday, as the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region government pledged it will make sustainability disclosures based on international standards in future.

The summit is organized by Institute of Sustainability and Technology, and co-organized by World Economic Forum (WEF). Themed “Investing in innovations for a sustainable future”, the summit has brought together more than 500 influential leaders and changemakers to engage in 15 action-focused dialogues to achieve the goals of net-zero emissions and a sustainable transition. 

At the summit, Chief Executive John Lee Ka-chiu said the government will later release statement that outlines its vision for a strong system of sustainability disclosure in full alignment with international standards.

Later this year, Hong Kong Monetary Authority and Dubai Financial Services Authority will co-host the Joint Climate Finance Conference in Hong Kong

The chief executive said the unique advantages under the “one country, two systems” principle, together with the progress in fostering the innovation and technology industry, make Hong Kong the ideal nexus for building partnerships to drive innovative solutions for promoting sustainability.

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Lee emphasized Hong Kong’s ability in providing a flourishing environment for green finance and related investment products, and promoting sustainable investment practices.

“In 2022, the total green and sustainable bonds and debts issued in Hong Kong soared 40 percent year-on-year to $80.5 billion,” he said. “At the end of last year, the Securities and Futures Commission had authorized more than 200 ESG (environmental, social and governance) funds, with total assets under management exceeding $160 billion, registering an annual growth of 24 percent and 20 percent, respectively.”

The chief executive cited statistics that Asia will require some $66 trillion in climate investment to support the region’s transition to a low-carbon economy in the next 30 years.

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Later this year, Hong Kong Monetary Authority and Dubai Financial Services Authority will co-host the Joint Climate Finance Conference in Hong Kong, highlighting the opportunities and challenges of transition financing for the Middle East and Asia.

Lo Po-man, founder of Institute of Sustainability and Technology, emphasized the forum event will become an annual gathering in future.

“As an important economic growth engine, the Asia-Pacific region accounts for more than half of global emissions, but the region is also an emerging hub in human capital and innovation. Asia can help create solutions that are beneficial to nature,” she said.

“Hong Kong has the potential to become a global center for green finance and innovation. As a super connector, Hong Kong can support innovation in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area and assist foreign companies interested in coming to Hong Kong to conduct technology transfer,” Lo added.

Klaus Schwab, founder and executive chairman of the WEF, expects that the funds involved in climate and natural transition will increase by more than $3 trillion every year, while the global investment market is estimated to be only more than $1 trillion.

“As Asia is at the forefront of fighting the climate crisis, the region has the necessary conditions to incubate and expand the next generation of green technology innovation companies and unicorns,” Schwab said via telecast at the summit.

He also pointed out that as philanthropic entities in Asia are increasingly inclined to invest in climate, health and education solutions, public-private philanthropic partnerships have the potential to leverage policies, markets, public and private finance, technology and culture, and use existing knowledge to unite relevant stakeholders to drive effective solutions to address the current climate crisis.