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Asia Sustainability Conference 2020: A summit of passionate minds to build a better future

SCMP’s Asia Sustainability Conference brought together family-based businesses, entrepreneurs, business owners and investment professionals to debate and discuss the challenges in achieving SDGs in Asia.

Conference Highlights

United Nation’s Recommendations
H.E. Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific recommended three policy proposals for transformative recovery including — scale up investments to sustain human and economic well-being; ensure green recovery and integrate sustainability interests into private investments.

Investing for Good

Post’s Specialist Reporter, Georgina Lee moderated a panel on sustainable investments. Joining her on the panel are Arjan de Boer, Head of Markets, Investments and Structuring, (MIS) of Asia — Indosuez Wealth Management; Philo Alto, Founder and CEO, Asia Value Advisors; Annie Chen, Founder and Chair, RS Group and Katy Yung, Managing Director, Sustainable Finance Initiative discussing the urgency for sustainable investing during these challenging times. They also shared their perspectives on their sustainable investing asset allocation as well as debated on how to measure social and positive impact.

The Rise of ESG in Asia Post-COVID

Juan Aronna, Head of Investment Solutions and Products, Asia, Royal Bank of Canada Wealth Management moderated a panel consisting of regulatory, industry and investment perspectives on the rise of ESG in Asia post-COVID. Rami Hayek, Senior Advisor, Hong Kong Monetary Authority on how they are supporting and promoting Hong Kong’s green finance development.

Mary Leung, Head, Advocacy, Asia Pacific, CFA Institute discussed the role of the investment management professions in driving sustainability and consideration of material ESG issues. Ellie Tang, Head of Sustainability, New World Development Company Limited and K11 Concepts deep-dived into their New World Sustainability Vision 2030 (SV2030) focusing on four pillars — moving towards a greener future; promoting health in body and mind; using innovation to unlock potential and creating shared value for our communities and culture.

Go Green with Bonds

Post’s Business Senior Reporter, Chad Bray, hosted a green bonds panel from SCMP’s Studio. Both Kok Siong NG, Executive Director & Chief Financial Officer, Link Asset Management and Isaac Yeung, General Manager, The Hong Kong and China Gas Company shared their experiences in working with green bonds as Towngas issued its first 10-year green bond three years ago and Link REIT issued the first convertible green bond for the real estate sector globally last year. Ellen Lam, Senior Advisor, Environmental Finance at WWF discussed the lack of consistency in global standards holding back further development of green bonds and other types of sustainable financing.

Asia Sustainability Conference: The “Go Green with Bonds” Panel Discussion

Investing in Blue Skies

Alexandra Tracy, President of Hoi Ping Ventures moderated a discussion on the recovery, growth and economic direction after coronavirus panic as well as drivers of change. Jens Rupp, Head of Environmental Sustainability, Philip Morris International shared that “we need to change the way we live, live better, take better care of the environment.” Jean-Marc Champagne, Head of Environmental Finance, Bankable Nature Solutions Asia, WWF Hong Kong shared his perspective on investor appetite, availability of financing and sparked the question: are investors serious about sustainability, or is it all spin and no substance? Christina Tang, Founder, Blue Sky Energy Technology shared how startups and entrepreneurs are responding to climate issues and finding new opportunities for solutions.

Gender Lens Investments
Moderator, Karen Tsang, Co-founder, Centre for Gender Lens Investing in Asia set the scene by challenging the definition of Gender Lens Investing. Christine Yu, Managing Director, Lapidary shared the need for diversity in driving innovation, broader structural problems, solutions and individual action by investors. Nicole Denholder, Founder and CEO, Next Chapter Raise discussed deal flow and the pitch process not working for women and investors’ mindset from passive to proactive. Maud Savary-Mornet, Senior Advisor, South East Asia, The Global Impact Investing Network discussed gender lens throughout the pipeline and the importance of impact measurements and benchmarks.

Asia Sustainability Conference: “Gender Lens Investments” Panel Discussion

Responsible Consumption: Why is it everyone’s business?

The Post, Editorial Director, Winnie Chung discussed the imbalance of consumption and production with her panel members Jacky Lam, Managing Director, Okia Optical, Dee Poon, Managing Director (Brands and Distribution), Esquel Group and Thomas Tsao, Co-founder, Gobi Partners. Dee and Jacky shared their experiences of setting green initiatives in their family businesses, while Thomas explained what attracted him to green investment opportunities.

Investing in Every Drop

Pratima Divgi, Director of Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand, CDP and Debra Tan, Director and Head, China Water Risk had an insightful conversation on why we need to invest in every drop with the water crisis Asia is currently facing.

Crazy Green Asians: A Taste for Alternative Foods

Indosuez Wealth Management’s Head of Markets, Investments and Structuring, (MIS), Asia, Arjan de Boer hosted a conversation from SCMP’s Studio on alternative foods and discussed why sustainable foods should be the urgency. Donna NguyenPhuoc, Managing Partner, SPARQ Capital gave her perspective on how companies are implementing best practices in food sustainability. Elaine Siu, Managing Director, The Good Food Institute shared innovation underway in the world of plant-based foods whereas Alvin Li, Co-Founder and CEO, the Kommon Goods shared his thoughts around investing in this space and how it fits in an investment portfolio.

Conclusions

The discussions have been thought-provoking and generated a lot of interest from our attendees. We have also live-tweeted the event at #SCMPASC2020.

On-demand playback videos for these sessions are now available on the conference website. Access is free but registration will be required.

This event would not have been possible without the support from our generous and understanding sponsorsIndosuez Wealth Management, Royal Bank of Canada Wealth Management and Link REIT — as well as our supporting partners.

Riding on this successful inaugural event, we will be launching a series of virtual events to further deep dive in various sustainability topics. Keep updated on all our upcoming events by joining our mailing list, or visit www.scmpevents.com

Additional writing contributed by Eva Cheung.

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Razlan Manjaji

Razlan Manjaji

249 Followers

He reads to be informed, and he informs to be read. Head of Global Events for the South China Morning Post.