International Collaboration is a Necessity for Green Finance / 國際合作乃綠色金融發展所需

Serena Mak, Green Finance Advisor of Friends of the Earth (HK) / Serena Mak, 香港地球之友綠色金融顧問

If we look beyond Hong Kong, the topic of Green Finance is picking up momentum globally. Governments are putting up measures such as initiatives to incentivize green investing or laws & regulations that penalize corporations that are negatively impacting the environment. In the private sector, it can be seen that green investments can generate good returns, which is encouraging to see. Apart from products such as Green Bonds, China is also engaging in innovative ways to ‘monetize’ the effect of business to the environment, such as the first China Emissions Exchange located in Shenzhen which was established in 2013 and is trading ‘emission allowances’ for carbon dioxide.

As mentioned by the various interviewees in one of our inaugural blog videos, there is a great need for international collaboration across boundaries to promote the topic of Green Finance. Few examples include the setting up of the US-China Green Fund which is supported by both the US and China government, and also the recent collaboration between the French Development Agency (AFD) and a Chinese Bank.

Hong Kong as one of the world’s biggest financial markets has a unique opportunity to also promote cross-border collaboration to further expand its footprint in the Green Finance space.

Some opinion article about emission trading system can be found here:

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201905/20/WS5ce27fcfa3104842260bcb48.html

News Article about AFD and Chinese bank collaboration:

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-06/04/c_138116512.htm

觀乎香港以外,綠色金融的勢頭正在全球各地快速增長。各國政府做了多項政策,例如帶頭鼓勵綠色投資或實施政策、推行法例懲處破壞環境的企業。在私人企業層面上,我們樂見進行綠色投資可獲得有利回報。除了綠色債券等工具,中國內地亦將商業對環境的影響「貨幣化」,例如2013年起在深圳成立首間排放權交易所,為二氧化碳提供「排放配額」的交易。

就如綠色金融網誌其中一條影片提及,我們迫切需要跨界別的國際合作齊心宣傳綠色金融。獲美國和中國政府支持的中美綠色基金的成立,以及法國開發署和一所中國內地銀行最近的合作,便是最佳例子。

香港作為世界最大金融市場之一,擁有豐厚條件宣傳跨境合作,進一步在綠色金融領域上擴大足跡。

你可在以下網站瀏覽一些關於排放交易的討論文章:

http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/a/201905/20/WS5ce27fcfa3104842260bcb48.html

有關法國開發署和中國內地銀行的合作新聞:

http://www.xinhuanet.com/english/2019-06/04/c_138116512.htm

綠債推動環保建築

香港地球之友綠色金融顧問

近年社會關注可持續性發展,綠色金融應運而生。香港作為國際金融經濟體,亦採取積極的態度,近年主動提倡綠色項目,而其中綠色債券便是主要推動綠色項目並進行融資的重要齒輪。

在2018年,香港發行的綠色債券集資額為110億美元,發行人包括本地和海外機構。值得留意的是,今年度香港特別行政區政府已經成功發售首批綠色債券,發行金額為十億美元,年期為五年, 並獲得超額認購。 投資者來自超過100間國際金融機構,其中50%債券被分配於亞洲,27%至歐洲及23%至美國。是次發行不但印證香港政府對綠色經濟模式的支持,更顯示國際投資者對香港綠色債券市場的認可和信心。

其實,除了銀行及政府發行綠色債券,其他私人機構亦有加入此渠道拓展綠色項目。例如一些地產商會利用綠色債券所籌募的資金,發展綠色建築、提升能源效益,及引入可再生能源。尤其在綠色建築方面,機構會以合乎「領先能源與環境設計」(LEED)或BREEAM 評級等綠色建築評估方法來發展項目,令建築績效符合永續性。 新世界中國地產便曾發行綠色債券,以發展兩個位於大灣區的項目。除了取得國家和國際綠色建築的認證, 新世界中國亦以綠色空間、節能設計和材料為基礎,勾劃出可持續發展的未來城市藍圖。

要增加策略性投資,發展綠色經濟需要各界的支持和配合。願大家在社會享用資源時,亦毋忘以自己的能量守護家園。

香港特區政府發售首批綠色債券

5th June – World Environment Day’s Special. Green Finance: What’s the Point? / 6月5日 — 世界環境日特刊 :為何需要推行綠色金融?

Special commissioned by Alexandra Tracy, President of Hoi Ping Ventures / 特約撰稿Hoi Ping Ventures主席 Alexandra Tracy

Green finance in Hong Kong has really started to take on some momentum over the past few months, with a raft of announcements from policy makers which will have an impact across a range of financial sectors.

In a bold signalling move, Hong Kong has become the first Asian government to sign up to the Green Bond Pledge, while issuing its first tranche of sovereign green bonds in May. In a similar vein, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority will reportedly soon become a signatory to the United Nations Principles of Responsible Investing, and is looking at joining the central banks’ Network for Greening the Financial System.

More tangibly, on the ground, HKMA has also announced a new sustainable bank initiative for Hong Kong banks, aiming to push them towards greater “greenness” and will create a Centre for Green Finance to provide technical assistance. On the investment side, HKMA’s Exchange Fund is looking to incorporate more ESG principles into its activities, while the Securities and Futures Commission and the Hong Kong Stock Exchange are looking to heighten ESG disclosure by listed companies and fund providers.

So, green finance in Hong Kong is moving forward, and this is a good thing. Financial markets must evolve to keep ahead – Hong Kong can’t play the “offshore RMB” card for ever – and competence in this area is likely to be essential to maintaining global market competitiveness.

What is green finance for?

But let’s look at the bigger picture for a moment: not so much, “what is green finance?” (and how do we get really good at it ?), but also, “what is green finance for ?”

There is a huge demand for financing for green and sustainable development, infrastructure and business. Trillions of dollars need to be invested in our region every year to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. Construction of cclimate smart infrastructure alone in developing Asia is likely to cost nearly US$2 trillion annually.

Much of that investment, over time, will increasingly come from so called “mainstream” investors, as we see business practices shifting towards more green and sustainable norms. Where green finance is needed – in the short to medium term – is to fill market gaps and to fund projects and businesses that traditional fund managers and banks currently won’t touch.

When this is done correctly, it can be incredibly powerful and transform local markets.

For example, the Connecticut Green Bank in the US has implemented one of the most successful commercial building energy efficiency programmes in the world, creating a structure for long term financing of energy upgrades, which was not then available from banks in the state. The positive performance of loans under the programme has since attracted several private funders into this sector.

Similarly, the Indian Solar Loan Programme transformed the market for solar home systems in Southern India from a small, cash only business into a thriving sector which was able to attract significant bank capital. With initial support from the UN, local banks could become familiar with the potential risks of funding solar and appreciate the opportunities in this growing business line. They are now lending on purely commercial terms.

Transforming business as usual

Green finance plays a crucial role in financing businesses that struggle to raise funding from traditional sources. Its value lies in transforming “business as usual” – enabling green and sustainable activity that might not otherwise be able to succeed.

At the same time, green finance is itself a business, which can generate substantial rewards both for its proponents and for the wider economy. Growing the pool of capital available in Hong Kong to green businesses will create new opportunities for the financial services sector, as well as supporting the low carbon technology, construction and supply chain sectors.

在過去數月,綠色金融的勢頭在香港逐漸成形,政府宣布的多項措施將為整個金融業界帶來重大的影響。

今年5月,香港成為首個亞洲城市簽署綠色債券誓約,並發行第一批主權綠色債券。與此同時,據報導,香港金融管理局日內將成為聯合國負責任投資原則的簽署者,並正考慮加入中央銀行的綠色金融體系網絡。這些都是大膽而顯著的行動!

在切實執行方面,金管局還宣布了一項針對本地銀行業可持續發展的新計劃,旨在推動各銀行邁向更「綠」,另外亦將成立綠色金融中心以提供技術支援。在投資方面,金管局外匯基金希望將更多ESG (環境、社會與管治) 原則納入其運作當中,而證券及期貨事務監察委員會及香港交易所則建議加強上市公司及基金服務供應商的ESG披露規定。

由此可見,香港在綠色金融上正迅速發展,這絕對是一件好事。金融市場必須與時並進才能保持國際領導地位。香港不能永遠只依靠「離岸人民幣」這張王牌 — 發展綠色金融的能耐可能對香港能否維持全球市場競爭力至關重要。

綠色金融有何用處?

現在讓我們先討論一些基本問題,除了問「綠色金融究竟是什麼?」(以及我們如何能在此方面做得好?)之外,我們還需要了解「綠色金融到底有何用處?」。

現今社會對綠色金融和可持續發展、基建及商業的資金需求巨大。我們的地區每年均需要投入數以萬億計的資金才能實現可持續發展的目標,例如僅是在亞洲發展中國家興建氣候智能設施便每年耗資近2萬億美元。

隨著時間的推移,隨著商界採納綠色和可持續的標準規範,以上所述的投資項目資金將會越來越多來自所謂的「主流」投資者。而推動綠色金融的作用 — 在中短期內 — 便是填補市場的空白,為傳統基金經理和銀行目前不會參與融資的項目和業務提供資金。

若這個計劃順利進行,將會為香港金融市場帶來改造性的變化。

例如,美國康涅狄格州綠色銀行推行了世界上其中一個最成功的商業建築節能計劃,為這種升級節能設備項目的長期融資建立了一個獨特的系統,當時全美國其他銀行都無法做到。這項計劃在回報上表現優秀,自此吸引了多個私人投資者加入融資的行列。

無獨有偶,印度太陽能貸款計劃將印度南部的太陽能家庭系統市場從小型的、以現金為基礎的業務,轉化為一個能夠吸引大量銀行資金的系統。初時,計劃得到聯合國的支持,他們協助當地銀行去逐漸了解投資太陽能的潛在風險,並認識這個不斷發展的市場機遇。現時,當地銀行已經對這個行業有充份的認識, 並已經能夠從純商業角度批核貸款。

改變「金融常態」

綠色金融在難以從傳統投資者當中籌集資金的企業項目上,發揮著至關重要的作用。它的價值在於改變「金融常態」— 為比較難在傳統融資渠道集資的綠色及可持續發展計劃提供所需的資金。

與此同時,綠色金融作為一項業務,也能為其支持者及為整體經濟帶來豐厚的回報。在香港,增加綠色企業融資將能為金融業製造新的機遇,並進一步支援低碳技術、建築與供應鏈等行業。

ESG不單是報告,而是承諾

香港地球之友綠色金融顧問

ESG報告不應被視為短期的、Box-ticking的任務,更絕不是促銷活動的工具。ESG報告是企業對社會、對股東的長期承諾,認知自身業務在持續發展方面所需下的功夫,指定關鍵績效指標(KPI),製定計劃和改進目標,不僅對股東創造財務回報,而且對環境和社會創造效益。可持續發展報告是企業與其內部和外部利益相關者(stakeholder)之間最重要的溝通渠道。

儘管香港交易所在處理ESG報告方面的歷史相對較短,但一些公司在ESG報告和相關的工作一直走在前列,中華煤氣便是其中之一。自2007年以來,該公司已開始發布可持續發展報告,該報告遵循GRI標準,這是可持續發展報告的第一個全球標準。訂立這些標準是GRI作為獨立國際組織的一項工作,它幫助企業和政府了解和傳達其對氣候變化、人權、治理和社會福祉等關鍵可持續性問題的影響。中華煤氣在報告質量和ESG方面的表現值得作為其他上市公司的參考。這方面的工作或許也有助影響公司的業績和股價表現?

中華煤氣可持續發展報告