Charltons attends Asian Financial Forum 2022
Charltons attended the 15th Annual Asian Financial Forum that took place online from 10-11 January 2022. With the theme being “Navigating the Next Normal towards a Sustainable Future”, the forum was a dynamic and fast-paced series of discussions of the global economy, in the current era of COVID-19 and climate change, through the Asian perspective. Environmental sustainability was the overarching topic of discussion; many countries and companies endeavour to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, including China, Thailand and Belgium amongst others, whilst simultaneously increasing financing to clean energy resources, green companies and green technology. Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) standards were comprehensively talked about as a prime priority for the global financial market as global leaders of the financial sector vowed to draft cohesive and standardised frameworks for companies to follow, adding emphasis on the need for international actors to set aside their differences and work closely together to create international, standardised, and green taxonomies to prevent greenwashing and inaccurate disclosures. Environmental sustainability in the field of asset management was also extensively discussed, including the need to set clear global standards for acquiring assets as well as standards for how to manage them in a sustainable and socially conscious manner.
The forum highlighted that global surveys show 99% of millennials are willing to invest solely in sustainable investments, a sharp increase in the consensus compared to 2015 survey results wherein only 15% of the young generation showed interest in ESG investments. Furthermore, the Forum emphasised the need for the global business economy to focus on funding SMEs and encouraging them to incorporate green technology, especially within fintech companies, to drive forward finance decarbonisation within the next decade with an added focus on making UN SDGs the cornerstones for companies’ policy frameworks. Regarding risks, the majority of the speakers presenting on global green finance underlined the dearth of data required to sufficiently understand and solve the challenges to sustainable investments and to properly educate the international business community on the necessary steps towards ESG policies. They also stressed that with the growing demand for talent, the new generations must be adequately equipped with the knowledge on ESG standards and green financing.
Regarding the role of Hong Kong as a leading international finance centre and Super Connector between Mainland China and the world, leaders of the global and Chinese business community agreed that Hong Kong is well-positioned to be the international forum that will drive the success of international green finance. With soft power in the form of talent, resources, transborder infrastructure, and geographical position, Hong Kong will be the bridging financial centre for global cooperation on green bonds, public-private partnerships, and carbon pricing. Hong Kong will also be a vital centre for ESG asset management and green capital raising as prominent speakers from Chinese state-owned enterprises expressed their endeavours to inject capital into Hong Kong’s green finance market, and also shared their plans to use Hong Kong via the Belt and Road Initiative and the Greater Bay Area to connect with the world and promote their market openness.