Parallel Session “The Future of Sustainable Finance in Asia”

As Asia’s economies continued to grow rapidly, the pressures on the environment and resources are increasing.  While the concern of the development is primary on infrastructure projects and industries heavily reliant on finite natural resources, there is a need to find a way to build sustainable growth that has more emphasis on social and environmental issues.

As providers of capital, financial institutions have the power to invest in or lend to companies and or projects that have potential to cause damages in the area of environmental degradation, climate change, as well as social inequality and systemic poverty.

Ensuring that financial system contributes to sustainability means making economic prosperity longlasting, socially inclusive, and less dependent on exploitation of finite resources and the natural environment. In the other hand, failure to integrate environmental and social factors puts financial institution at unnecessary risks, not only financial risks from unsustainable investment, but also risks to the reputation of investors or banks involved in controversial industries.

While many in Asia’s finance industry investment decisions were often based on profits only, the trends are begin to change. Regulators and policymakers across Asia are increasingly focusing on ESG – environmental, social and corporate governance criteria, thus urge financial sector and private sectors to uphold sustainability standards and align with Sustainable Development Goals.

Already in 2018, Indonesia have issued their first ever green bonds following the FSA Regulation on Sustainable Finance. Stock exchanges including those in India, Malaysia, South Korea, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Vietnam have all now signed up to the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative. These kinds of initiatives to promote sustainable investments in the long term are crucial to explore areas for further program on what sustainable investment should look like and what kind of role of financial industry can play on financing SDGs

The session of “The Future of Sustainable Finance in Asia” will be a platform to share experiences, initiatives, best practices, and  highlight critical issues encircling the theme of Sustainable Finance and also to identify strategies to to have collaborative works among the government, private sectors, and CSOs at the regional/global level to raise attention and action in regards to the implementation of sustainable finance in Asia region.

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