Mostafa Monira Firdouse, Green Finance Advisor of Friends of the Earth (HK)
As I am writing this article in late 2020, the world is fighting with COVID-19 Pandemic, Europe and USA remain gripped in health system in living memory. Sure, we will bounce back. Jingle bells ringing and VACCINE is on the way.
The pandemic is driving a boom in investments to fix the climate crisis pandemic has created. It seems, the arrow is in flight. The value of green bonds issued in the first nine months of 2020 surged 12% over the previous year to more than $200 billion, according to research company BloombergNEF. Though, there are questions and concerns on whether the green bonds are more about marketing than helping the environment and we cannot ignore the greenwashing issue. However, I believe, at this moment, we need to think about capturing the momentum and carefully move forward to develop more transparent ESG reporting and to strengthen city’s status as an international financial centre.
Can Hong Kong play the role of next 007, in international green bond market?
As we know, Bond Connect played an active part in the development and liberalisation of Mainland bond market. The launch of Bond Connect by the HKMA and the People’s Bank of China in 2017 accelerated and deepened the open-up process. It’s accounted for 52% of foreign investors’ total turnover in the Mainland interbank bond market in the first eight months of 2020 through Hong Kong financial infrastructure. Which establishing Hong Kong’s position to become a green bond financing hub for the Greater Bay Area.
However, according to the Green Bond Survey report by Hong Kong Academy of Finance, it showed; potential issuers and potential investors alike rate having external reviews and improved quality of ESG information disclosure as key factors that make green bonds issued in Hong Kong more attractive. From the think-tank’s point of view, which should be an immediate priority to take immediate action by HKMA and participatory financial institutions.
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