The material on this site is for financial institutions, professional investors and their professional advisers. It is for information only. Please read our Terms & Conditions, Privacy Policy and Cookies before using this site. Please see our Subscription Terms and Conditions.

All material subject to strictly enforced copyright laws. © 2022 Euromoney, a part of the Euromoney Institutional Investor PLC.

China’s ESG investing challenge

East Capital co-founder Karine Hirn began her investing career in Russia in the 1990s before moving to China to head up the firm’s Asian expansion. She discusses the challenges of the Chinese market, why eastern Europe has the edge on corporate boards and why governance is key to ESG.

East Capital's Karine Hirn

The unstoppable rise of environmental, social and governance (ESG) investing since the signing of the 2015 Paris Agreement has been largely about climate. Then, with the start of the Covid crisis last year, social issues came to the fore.

However, for veteran emerging market fund manager Karine Hirn, it is the G that is by far the most important of the three letters.

“Everything starts with governance,” she says. “If governance is bad, then the chances are that the environmental and social sides will be bad as well.”

Hirn has had plenty of experience of sketchy corporate governance. East Capital, the investment firm she co-founded in 1997, was one of the first Western equity funds to offer retail investors exposure to the former Soviet Union.

More recently, she has shifted her focus further east. In 2010, she moved to Shanghai to head up East Capital’s expansion into Asia. Now based in Hong Kong, she is also responsible for coordinating the firm’s approach to ESG, having taken on the newly created role of chief sustainability officer in 2019.


On the face of it, China seems a more natural venue for a CSO.

You have reached premium content. Please log in to continue reading.

Read beyond the headlines with Euromoney

For over 50 years, our readers have looked to Euromoney to stay informed about the issues that matter in the international banking and financial markets. Find out more about our different levels of access below.


Unlimited access to and

Expert comment, long reads and in-depth analysis interviews with senior finance professionals

Access the results of our market-leading annual surveys across core financial services

Access the results of our annual awards, including the world-renowned Awards for Excellence

Your print copy of Euromoney magazine delivered monthly

£73.75 per month

Billed Annually


Unlimited access to and, including our top stories, long reads, expert analysis, and the results of our annual surveys and awards

Sign up to any of our newsletters, curated by our editors


Already a user?

We use cookies to provide a personalized site experience.
By continuing to use & browse the site you agree to our Privacy Policy.
I agree