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

The Green and Sustainable Finance Cross-Agency Steering Group of Hong Kong recently announced its green and sustainable finance strategy. This is an important step for nurturing Hong Kong to become a green finance hub. One of the five near-term action points of the plan is making climate-related disclosure mandatory for banks and asset managers by 2025. With better information on climate-rated risks capital (hopefully) will act more responsibly and direct to companies and activities that are more friendly to our environment. 

Understanding climate risk is important but building a sustainable world we need to have assessment of other aspects outside of climate. We need assessment of natural capital – the world’s natural resources including water, air, soil and living things. It is these assets that enable us to survive and thrive yet we are obviously not preserving them as good as we should. Why? Because we are spoiled and these assets are underpriced in the world of finance. 

Let’s take water for example. Ones may argue that water is not free as households and companies are paying for water bills. However, many of these water bills are just based on the cost of transmission and treatment of water. No or very limited value is attributed to water itself. This applies to many other types of natural capital. Among all living things (other than human) in the natural environment are what we see as the most neglected. Should there be methods of estimating natural capital costs and linking those to specific economic activities in our financial system? A proper accounting of the economic value of natural capital seems needed to accelerate our path of sustainability. 

We need to treasure and save our natural capital to speed up the sustainable development of the world. 

香港政府綠色與可持續金融跨機構督導小組,最近宣布了其綠色與可持續金融的策略計劃及其五個主要行動綱領。這是培育香港成為綠色金融中心的重要一步。該五個短期行動綱領之一為要求相關金融行業必須在2025年或之前按照氣候相關財務披露工作小組(Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures)的建議,就氣候相關資料作出披露。有了有關更多氣候風險的披露,希望資金能投入綠色和可持續發展的業務,令我們的環境變得更好。 

了解氣候風險很重要,但是要建立一個可持續發展的世界,我們需要對氣候以外的其他方面進行評估。我們需要評估自然資產,  包括水,空氣,土壤和生物等自然資源。正是這些資產使我們得以生存和發展,但顯然我們並未盡所能保存它們。為什麼?因為我們被寵壞了,這些資產在金融世界中被低估了。 



Reference 資料來源:

Cross-Agency Steering Group Launches its Strategic Plan to Strengthen Hong Kong’s Financial Ecosystem to Support a Greener and More Sustainable Future (17 Dec 2020)  

Recognizing the value of natural capital by Lombard Odier (10 Dec 2020) 

Clear and practical guides to natural capital management published by ACCA (26 Nov 2020) 

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