2018 Research Report
Catching the Wave: Hong Kong as a Regional Green Finance Hub?
With the government of China, the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases, capable of financing only 15% of the annual capital needed by China to meet its environmental goals, it would need funds from outside sources to meet the over one trillion US dollars it needs for the next five years. This is an example of green financing.
On Tuesday April 17th 2018, Civic Exchange hosted the presentations of five distinguished speakers at Catching the Wave: Hong Kong as a Regional Finance Hub?. One by one, they talked about green finance from their professional perspective, the challenges and opportunities they see in terms of business integration, ESG analysis and reporting, insurance product development, business engagement, strategy execution, and financial training, among others.
Green finance was further defined during the seminar as inclusive of “financing the low carbon and climate-resilient infrastructure as well as practices that fully embed sustainability,
environmental and climate issues across business and in the financial services industry.”
Chief Executive Officer of Civic Exchange, Winnie Cheung, opened the program by highlighting Hong Kong’s history in turning itself into a major capital market to help fund China’s emerging
enterprises and opportunities as it opened up in 1993.
She underscored that the present opportunity for Hong Kong–this “second wave”– expands the role of financial markets from sheer GDP growth and profit-generation to building
sustainable investments. This role becomes especially valuable in light of the Asian Development Bank’s report estimating that 1.7 trillion US dollars is needed to fund climatesmart
infrastructures in emerging Asia alone.
This is a very important role for the human race, according to Cheung, and while investments designed for better climate adaptation secures economic survival in the long run, it needs to
be done with thoughtful risk management to prevent significant financial losses.
Citing the known inclusion of green finance in the government agenda, she invited Joseph Chan, Under-Secretary of the Financial Services and Treasury Bureau (FSTB), to discuss the
financial market development plans of the Hong Kong government in relation to green finance.