IFR Asia’s 7th annual Green and Sustainable Financing Roundtable took place on April 20, 2021 amid a surge of ESG-related activity in the region’s capital markets.
Asia Pacific, excluding Japan, hosted a record US$43.9bn of sustainable bond issues in the first quarter with China leading the way, according to Refinitiv data. Some 17% of all G3 bonds sold this year have come with a green, social or sustainable label – well above the global proportion.
Sponsored by Barclays, CICC and JP Morgan, this IFR webcast probed the drivers behind the upswing in activity, highlighting China’s recent commitment to become carbon-neutral by 2060 as a significant push factor for the market.
The panel also discussed the recent introduction of sustainability-linked instruments as a way to incentivise companies to transition to a low-carbon future – and hold them accountable for the commitments they make.
Asia’s sustainability journey is still at an early stage, and it will take time and an enormous amount of investment to transform business practices across the vast and diverse region. CICC estimates China’s transition alone will cost over US$20trn.
But policymakers are moving in the right direction, with clear sustainability agendas and decarbonisation targets in place in many Asian markets.
Capital providers, banks and asset owners clearly believe in that goal. The only challenge now is making it happen.
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