Green and inclusive recovery key to Hong Kong's future economic development - 2020 Hong Kong Green Finance Association Annual Forum concludes

HONG KONG, Nov. 5, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Titled "Financing a Green and Inclusive Recovery", the Hong Kong Green Finance Association (HKGFA) Annual Forum discussed what collective action is needed to lead Hong Kong S.A.R towards a brighter future with a vibrant job market, prosperous economy and cleaner environment.

Marking the second anniversary of the association, this year's conference gathered over 700 participants virtually, including policy makers, regulators, financial institutions, companies and civil society from Hong Kong and mainland China. Top officials from Hong Kong S.A.R Government, including Paul Chan Mo-Po, Financial Secretary, Christopher Hui Ching-yu, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury and Ashley Ian Alder, Chief Executive Officer of Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong spoke at the forum.

During his opening remarks, Mr. Paul Chan said "Hong Kong believes in green finance. Despite last year's turbulence, the amount of green bonds arranged and issued in Hong Kong tripled between 2017 and 2019 – and that came with a wider diversity of issuers. We are eager to seize the unprecedented opportunities that green and sustainable finance can bring to the Greater Bay Area and its cluster of world-class cities and internationally competitive economies. We look forward to the post-pandemic world, to the rewarding role green and sustainable finance will surely play in accelerating social and economic growth and welcome, widespread recovery."

"China's commitment to carbon neutrality and deeper economic integration of the Greater Bay Area will give a significant boost to both demand for and supply of green finance in Hong Kong. In addition to its on-going work in areas such as green banking, green bonds and ESG, the HKGFA will set up new working groups to promote green real estate and green private equity, and will explore options to develop an integrated carbon market for the Greater Bay Area," Dr. Ma Jun, Chairman and President of HKGFA noted during his keynote address.

Following the opening remarks, Christopher Hui Ching-yu, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, shared during the fireside chat: "In a Post-COVID world, green and sustainable finance will emerge as a new trend and transition into a key theme for investment and financing, empowering global inclusive recovery. The Hong Kong S.A.R Government will continue its efforts in consolidating and elevating Hong Kong's position as an international green finance centre by supporting the investment, financing and certification of green projects. Working in concert with the HKGFA, we endeavour to create a vibrant green finance ecosystem".

The conference focused on four key topics surrounding green recovery, Greater Bay Area collaboration, as well as developments in sustainable finance markets and climate transition finance.

Panellists from the private and public sectors discussed the importance of policy makers in driving a green and inclusive recovery amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Hong Kong's focus in driving Green Finance and Green Jobs and examples from Huzhou and Shenzhen from the Green Finance policy fronts and latest developments.

On the topic of Greater Bay Area Collaboration, the panellists introduced Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area Green Finance Alliance (GBA-GFA) which was established earlier in September with an aim to promote research and incubating green investments that will benefit the entire Greater Bay Area. The discussion also shed lights on the latest development of the five green finance related projects which the alliance is supporting: Green Building, Blockchain Solar, Carbon Connect, Solid Waste Disposal and the Green Supply Chain Financing Action Guide.

Another highlight of the conference was the release of key findings from several reports by HKGFA and its partners. In collaboration with "Hong Kong 2050 is Now" platform, the report released under the Green Building project proposed options to decarbonise the Greater Bay Area and to maximise green finance opportunities in the building industry. The "Green Building Rating System Energy Benchmarking Report and Buildings Policy Decarbonisation Report" highlighted that energy saving requirements must be clearly set for all Green Building Rating System. It was also suggested that a building sector decarbonisation roadmap should be developed with steps to achieve net-zero by 2050. A dedicated Cross-Agency Body will be necessary to implement the decarbonisation roadmap.

According to the newly launched "Navigating Climate Transition Finance" report, climate transition finance should help carbon intensive industries in setting out important principles and operational structures and assist their journey towards net-zero carbon.

The HKGFA aspires to drive Hong Kong's mission to reach carbon neutrality by 2050 as part of China's pledge to be net-zero by 2060. The association will utilize and facilitate the GBA-GFA platform to work on real economy projects to help transition the market.

The association has also revamped its current seven working groups in light of the rapidly evolving green finance landscape in the region, now spanning eight key areas:

  • Green and Sustainable Banking
  • Green and Sustainable Products
  • ESG Disclosure and Integration
  • Policy Research and Dissemination
  • Green and Sustainable Insurance
  • External Collaboration
  • Green and Sustainable Real Estate
  • Green and Sustainable Private Equity

The conference was sponsored by Bank of China (Hong Kong) Limited, The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited and Natixis.

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