Event Reports

UN Climate Finance & Sustainable Investing Conference 2019

by Felisa Falcon

Financing Sustainable Development / Investing for a Sustainable Future

UNESCAP co-organized with WGO a major UN conference, focusing on key Sustainability themes and Financial topics. UNESCAP sent their key representatives, including the Chief of Financing for Development Section, Macroeconomic Policy and Financing for Development Division to Hong Kong. Also, the United Nations invited key government officials globally and distinguished speakers/experts to participate in the event. With more than 40 international and local renowned speakers, the UN Conference fosters comprehensive dialogue among government officials, industry practitioners, scholars and NGOs to accelerate the paradigm shift in the sustainable investment. More importantly, this conference also aimed at facilitating changes in the decision making processes among investors and asset managers towards ESG investing. Through this established platform coupled with the network of the United Nations, extensive collaborations between institutional and private investors and project proponents are able to effectively engage among critical stakeholders towards the development of best practices for the development of Green Finance and Sustainable Investment.

The Climate Finance & Sustainable Investing Conference approached diverse topics in the framework of its agenda. Touching climate disaster faced by entire humanity nowadays and for the next generations, to cope with this it is needed the accurate policy and determination in order to achieve a sustainable future. Also, it was highlighted the correlation between climate change and its impact on economic growth. During the first day’s key note speech, it was mentioned that according to one of the recent reports of Global Economic Forum (WEF), 5 of the top 10 global risks were related to the environment, weather conditions, and natural disasters. Therefore, there is a consensus that the global action is indeed needed. Furthermore, the problems that we face in Asia are especially serious; developing countries in Asia would need investment in climate action to reduce pollution as well as global warming. How to accelerate the global consensus to handle this situation was the core of this Conference. 

In the course of Session A1: “Driving ESG Investing, from Why to Why not?” the cooperation between parties/all stakeholders, which was emphasized as a priority, as a way of survival because of the competitiveness of the current energy market. Likewise, the concept of ESG was approached and its risk in a corporate level. Having said that, it is equally important to take a look to the ambitious emission reduction targets of the Paris Agreement China is the largest manufacturer of solar technology, financial regulators within green finance has to be promoted. It was followed by Session A2: “-ESG Scores- How to measure intangible factors?” It is important to empower private sector on sustainable investment. In the last couple of years, a lot have been done in sustainable development around Asia Pacific. It was mentioned the need for clean development mechanisms, since 2014 has been a big improvement in this regard. Concerning to the SDG achievements, there is a necessity for primary assessment process, feedback from the company, as well as scores and ratings.

In third place, it was held the Session A3: “Investment for Goods vs Invest for Return?” followed by a panel discussion, it was, once again, underlined the importance of building a sustainable future by the society, and the meaning of  ‘investment for good’ as a synonym for embracing SDG won’t affect the investor’s return. Moreover, having an SDG investment can have an efficient market concomitantly, the need of a responsible investment was also underlined.

Throughout the luncheon session, “Green Innovation and Investment” was approached. Session B1 to Session B4 addressed “Marching to the Green Future”, “ESG and Green Finance”, “The Global development of Green Bonds market” and “Achieving Low-carbon Energy Security through Innovation & Green Investment” successively, followed by a panel discussion. Lastly, during the afternoon session: “Pension Fund, ESG Investing and Asset Management” it was pointed out the transition towards acceptability by the public. Besides, there is essential supporting for the new technologies into climate finance to promote green finance as well as supporting green economy through banking sector and green credits.

During the second day’s morning session, the topic was about ESG integration and green bonds, specifically Session D1 “Green Bonds: Why it matters for Sustainability across Capital Market” emphasized the importance of the engagement process with the countries nowadays is time to show the cooperation and social responsibility between the private sector. It was explained what is it a climate bond. It is anything else but just a bond, that it will be invested in a green project. Also, the Green Bonds Principles were mentioned as follows: reporting, use of proceeds, verification, internal process, and management of proceeds. All green projects designated for the bond should provide a clear environmental and sustainable benefits; high level of transparency: Green liabilities should match green assets in the issuer balance sheet; Issuer’s annual report: on use of proceeds, unallocated proceeds, progress on projects with their environmental impacts vs targets. Also, the green bonds market started in 2013; it has been being a fast growing market as of late. Furthermore, it is estimated that  a total amount of $ 60 trillion of continuous investment until 2050 is needed for transition to low carbon and climate-resilient economies. Moreover, it was stated about quantity of Ton of Co2 and as interested information: what is the measure of one carbon footprint? The average of carbon a person carbon footprint is 6.5 tons. It was brought up the following open question: how can we reduce our carbon footprint besides investing in green bonds?

Afterwards, during Session D2 and D3 it was given a talk on the following themes: “How Sustainable Investing has changed over the last 20 years” as well as “ESG Standards and Integration – the Smart way to implement ESG in Investment Procedures and Portfolio”: Regarding the Green Bonds Initiative, it was said that normally between the investors, it is questioned how to manage the investment portfolio. Concerning green/sustainable investments one has to take a look at the local context; for Asia Pacific region climate change affects it strongly, therefore climate sustainable investment should be a bigger concern over the Region. To end in the Luncheon Session it was addressed “Green Economy and Smart Technology”. In Sessions E1, E2, E3 and E4 was essentially about “Blockchain Strategies – Unlocking Green Digital Finance Ecosystem”; “Sustainable Lighting Technology – A new paradigm for Smart City”; “Artificial Intelligence and Big Data Application for Intelligent Building”; “Building Smart and Green to Future World, What Matters now?”

To conclude, during the afternoon session called “Infrastructure Financing & Public-Private Partnership”. Sessions F1, F2, F3 and F4 were speaking to accordingly: “Reasons behind the South East Asia’s lukewarm reception to green bonds?” “Asia’s role in the drive to Green and Sustainable capital markets?” “Enhancing Private Infrastructure Financing thought Externality Effects” “Leveraging Private Finance for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific”.         


Contact Person

Felisa Falcon

Felisa Falcon

Project Coordinator

felisa.falcon@kas.de +852 2882 2849 +852 2882 8515