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Asia’s green investors and issuers lag global counterparts

Alternatives to green bonds and loans needed to boost Asian green finance; engaging retail investors will be key.


Green Asia – not yet in bloom

A recent report by East and Partners, commissioned by HSBC, shows Asian issuers and investors as laggards in implementing environmental and social governance strategy.

While globally 47.6% of issuers and 61.4% of investors have an ESG strategy, in Asia, the equivalent figures are 15% and 21%, according to the report. Southeast Asia is even further behind China, say market participants, but this is slowly changing.


Mikkel Larsen, DBS

“The G, and to some extent the S, have been of greater focus in SE Asia when it comes to ESG, but there is now a greater appreciation of the environmental component,” explains Mikkel Larsen, chief sustainability officer at DBS

“That has, in part, been driven by regulation, but also by a growing awareness that as a continent, Asia is expected to be one of the largest contributors to climate change, and be the most impacted by it.”

Green bond issuance from SE Asia has been slow, although it has picked up momentum in the second half of the year. In October, Thailand's Kasikornbank issued a $100 million sustainability bond.