Green Finance Advisor of Friends of the Earth (HK)

With all the talk of promoting and developing the green finance industry, I think it is important for us to take a pause and take stock of the results thus far Hong Kong has achieved in its pursuit of being one of the premier hubs for sustainable finance. As we take note of what has been achieved, I hope this gives us further momentum in our advocacy efforts to continue to develop and strengthen the green finance ecosystem.

Firstly, Hong Kong is actually not doing too badly in terms of its de-carbonization efforts, with 2020 carbon emission levels 20% below 2005 levels. The per capita emissions of 4.5 tons per year is also 30% below peak levels of 6.2 tons per capita in 2014.

Secondly, Hong Kong has allocated HK$47 billion over the last decade to implement energy saving and renewable energy measures, with a further HK$10 billion to be allocated going forward to a Green Tech Fund, Subsidy Scheme for EV-charging, and drainage improvement works to shore up defenses against flooding.

Last but not least, Hong Kong has some remarkable achievements in Green Finance: (i) The volume of green and sustainable debt issued in Hong Kong in 2021 reached a record high of US$57 billion, which is four times the volume from a year ago. This amounts to one-third of those issued in Asia and makes Hong Kong number one in the region; (ii) A US$2.5 billion government bond issued in February 2021 was the largest US dollar government green bond deal in the world at the time as well as having the longest tenor for a government US dollar green bond issued by an Asian country; (iii) The Hong Kong government issued Euro and Renminbi green bond tranches in November 2021, which was the longest tenor Euro government green bond in Asia at the time; (iv) Hong Kong issued its first retail green bond of HK$20 billion, which is the largest retail green bond issuance globally, and allows Hong Kong’s residents to participate in the greening of Hong Kong.

These are just some of the highlights of the Hong Kong Government’s sustainability achievements thus far, and I hope this will help galvanize your efforts in the continued promotion of green finance and sustainable development for our city and the global community.