The Asset Events

ESG Forum

10 December 2018 - Hong Kong

Institutional investors are undoubtedly making strides incorporating environmental, social and governance factors (ESG) in their investment decision-making process. Many now have a clearer appreciation how challenges surrounding climate change, workplace diversity and social responsibility can impact risks and drive returns. Across Asia, pension, insurance and sovereign wealth funds are following in the footsteps of their counterparts in the West in driving sustainable investing. Japan’s Government Pension Investment Fund (GPIF), for example, has publicly committed to integrate ESG factors into its investing. GPIF, the world’s largest pension fund, also joined as a signatory to the UN supported Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI) along with over 1,500 other signatories.

One interesting development is that ESG factors are increasingly forming part of credit risk assessments in Asia, a move pushed forward by the trend towards sustainable investing. It is the Paris Agreement, or COP21, signed in December 2015, which underpins the urge to act quickly on a global scale. Its long-term goal is to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 °C above pre-industrial levels. However, achieving this target will require substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions by many nations, and some countries are performing better than others in this undertaking.

China, the world’s biggest emitter of greenhouse gases, is becoming increasingly recognised as taking its commitment to sustainability very seriously and has made corporate ESG reporting mandatory. Hong Kong and Singapore followed suit and unveiled a similar policy. In addition, China is pushing for policies supporting green bonds and is among the world’s most active issuers.

Investors have made deep strides in ESG, but it is also clear that many of them struggle with sustainable investing. In truth, ESG strategies get but a fraction of the total capital dedicated to pension funds globally. Moreover, some investors still have a tendency to treat ESG as a passing investment fad rather than an integral part of their investing strategy. ESG initiatives are commonplace in corporates, but these policies are often held at arm’s length from core investment activities. With most funds, ESG integration has failed to go to asset classes beyond the usual sustainable-equities strategies.

But change is in the air. Issuers and investors are increasingly aware that not only will adoption of ESG standards have considerable implications for running a sustainable business, but also these standards are likely to become mainstream in the coming years, as demanded by their constituents. In short, ESG is the new market paradigm.

Conrad Centennial Singapore Hotel
Four Seasons Hotel
Hong Kong
Date: 10 December 2018

Speakers / Agenda

Registration and Coffee
Asset Events Panel
How Asia is embracing sustainability
  • How are companies in Asia and global investors embracing ESG?
  • How is ESG being adopted in banks and corporations and how much change is happening from within company walls?
  • How soon will the issue of ESG form part of credit risk metrics for fixed-income investments and banks’ balance sheets?
  • How can companies come up with a beneficial and differentiated ESG strategy that will resonate in the workplace and the community?
  • Boris Moutier
    Boris Moutier
    regional chief investment officer
    AXA Asia
    Nadira Lamrad
    Nadira Lamrad
    assistant director – sustainability & ESG advisory
    Business Environment Council
    Hendrik Rosenthal
    Hendrik Rosenthal
    director - group sustainability
    Alex Ng
    Alex Ng
    chief investment officer, APAC
    BNP Paribas Asset Management
    Patrick Ho
    Patrick Ho
    Asia investment strategist
    HSBC Private Bank
    Mark Watson
    Mark Watson
    head of sustainable development
    Swire & Sons
    Jean-Louis Nakamura
    Jean-Louis Nakamura
    chief investment officer
    Lombard Odier Asia
    JTze-wei Ng
    Tze-wei Ng
    head of advocacy and engagement
    Sustainable Finance Initiative
    James Robertson
    James Robertson
    head of Asia (ex-China and Japan)
    UN PRI
    Daniel Yu
    Daniel Yu
    The Asset
    Asset Events Cocktails
    Networking and cocktails

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