CCA co-organized a webinar with Oxfam Hong Kong on 13th August 2020 to launch the research report: “Making Green Bonds Work: Social and Environmental Benefits at Community Level”. More than 300 people from different places of the world registered to attend the webinar.
The report surveyed 249 Asian green bonds to examine not only their environmental integrity but also their attention to issues such as climate resilience and social impact.
Ir Albert Lai, CEO of CCA, chaired the online forum which featured:
• Ms Mayling Chan, International Program Director, Oxfam Hong Kong
• Ms Lian Sim Yeo, Special Advisor, Singapore Exchange
• Mr Cedric Rimaud, ASEAN Program Manager, Climate Bonds Initiative
• Mr Jason Zeall, Vice-President, Solactive APAC Ltd
• Mr John Sayer, Director, CCA
Mr Lai first presented the purpose, methodology and main findings of the green bond research. He noted that despite focusing on Asian green bonds issued between January 2018 and September 2019, the research holds useful lessons on the best practice in green bond issuance globally.
Ms Mayling Chan, from Oxfam Hong Kong, explained that Oxfam is interested in green finance from a climate justice standpoint. She emphasized that green bonds can play their part in the just transition to a low-carbon economy by supporting sustainable energy systems and adaptation projects for climate disaster reduction. Oxfam would, for example, hope to see green bond finances flood monitoring to protect coastal communities. More broadly, she would expect to see more green bonds following the best practices highlighted in this report, such as the do-no-harm principle in relation to social impact.
Ms Lian Sim Yeo, from SGX, emphasised that while climate change is a topic that governments have to pay particular attention to, improved standards for green bonds should primarily be driven by the market based on informed decisions of investors. She encouraged investors to adopt a more holistic point of view by looking at the green bond issuer’s broader climate change strategy.
Mr Jason Zeall from Solactive told the audience that while financial returns will continue to drive investment decisions, green and sustainability issues are getting more and more attention as components of risk management, especially over longer horizons. Answering a question from the audience, he explained that to ensure the survival and longevity of the green bond market, the pool of green bonds needs to keep growing.
Mr Cedric Rimaud, answering a question from the audience, mentioned a Survey of Investors executed by Climate Bonds Initiative that showed that investors do welcome stricter standards for green bonds because this creates trust. He noted that the power of disclosure is to generate more data which in turn is able to create new dialogue between issuers and investors. Mr Rimaud believes the continued movement to harmonise different green bonds standards worldwide will avoid confusion and improve information.
Mr John Sayer, Director of CCA, explained that this research from Oxfam Hong Kong will be followed up by a broader consultation with various players in the finance sector such as issuers and investors, along with such stakeholders as communities, NGOs and local governments. Areas of consensus identified in this process can hopefully influence the terms of the debate on the development of green finance to ensure an approach to sustainability that incorporates social issues. This will improve the integrity and the credibility of green bonds and help investors make more informed decisions.
Part 1: Introduction of research report
Part 2: Panel discussion and Q&A