Friends of the Earth (HK) partnered with the European Federation of Financial Analysts Societies (EFFAS) and the Hong Kong Productivity Council (HKPC) to host the Carbon Neutrality Forum 2022 and Inaugural CESGA Award Ceremony, attracting participants across industries to attend physically and virtually. In the forum, the panel discussion, which was sponsored by Hang Seng Indexes Company Limited, gathered experts from different ESG fields related to green investment and green products to share their insights in aligning investment with the global climate goal.
Mr. Anthony Cheung, the Vice-Chairperson and Convenor of Green Finance of Friends of the Earth (HK), mentioned in his welcoming remarks that, “The world has an important mission to address climate change and carbon reduction, and to promote a cleaner, greener and more sustainable lifestyle in order to achieve harmony with nature. Today’s event is a timely opportunity to hear from a broad range of experienced practitioners about the challenges they face in aligning investment with global climate goals.” Friends of the Earth (HK) is honoured to learn both its Executive Certificate in ESG Analysis & Green Finance Valuation and the EFFAS CESGA programme have been approved to be part of the first batch of the Eligible Programmes under the Pilot Green and Sustainable Finance Capacity Building Support Scheme, (https://www.greentalent.org.hk/) after the forum. Mr. Cheung emphasised Friends of the Earth (HK) will continue to actively promote environmental, social and governance (ESG) and green finance courses to industry practitioners and the general public, in order to accelerate the cultivation of local green finance talents, and to promote the transformation of a low-carbon and sustainable economy.
Mr. Joseph Chan, JP, the Under Secretary for the Financial Services and the Treasury of the Government of Hong Kong SAR and officiating guest of the forum stated, “In the process of green transformation, there is accelerating demand for green finance. We strive to develop Hong Kong into a regional hub for green and sustainable finance, serving as a premier financing platform for international and Mainland green enterprises and projects in raising funds through issuing bonds, funds, initial public offerings, loan syndication and other channels.”
As one of the co-organizer of the event, Dr. Lawrence Cheung, Chief Innovation Officer, Hong Kong Productivity Council presented his opening speech mentioning, “To achieve Hong Kong’s carbon neutrality goal by 2050, HKSAR Government has set out the vision in the Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050 last year, outlining four major decarbonisation strategies. Meanwhile, private enterprises have been increasing investment in decarbonisation and carbon neutrality initiatives. Therefore, HKPC has been sparing no effort in assisting Hong Kong industries and enterprises to define and execute their carbon neutral strategies and initiatives. We will continue to work alongside the industries and enterprises to strive towards the goal and build us a sustainable future.”
The Inaugural CESGA Award Ceremony was conducted successfully and gave recognition to the CESGA community in Hong Kong. Three CESGA Scholarships were awarded to three outstanding students and young professionals in the CESGA Scholarship Programme 2021/22. Ms. Chung Sum Yue received the Friends of the Earth CESGA Scholarship. Mr. Lau Yiu Lung Peter and Mr. Ho Wai Yiu Ryan received the Towngas China CESGA Scholarships. Two awardees came to receive the certificates presented by Mr. Joseph Chan, JP. The Ceremony also gathered dozens of CESGA alumni across industries to celebrate their achievements with Mr. Joseph Chan, JP.
ESG investing rose from a niche segment ten years ago and became the mainstream. It shows that ESG goals are not merely a “nice to have” for investors or a means to show their commitment to sustainability anymore, but become an element of their investment strategies. In view of this, the panel focused on the investment strategies and product landscape change over the years, how investment decisions in alternative investment consider climate-related risk and opportunities, and the gaps between investors & corporates in climate-related investments. It is our honour to have Ms. Taie Wang, the Chief Sustainable & Emerging Business Officer from Hang Seng Indexes Company Limited, Ms. Judy Wang, the Managing Director, Regional Head, Portfolio Analytics and Monitoring Asia, Global Credit Markets Financial Markets from Standard Chartered, and also Mr. Brian Liu, Senior Portfolio Manager and Head of Alternative Investment from China Life (Insurance) Overseas at the panel discussion to share their insights regarding the green investment alignment and green finance education in Hong Kong.
The ESG field, including green financing, green investment, ESG reporting and community communications, requires a lot of ESG expertise. In her closing speech, Ms. Ophelia Lin, Vice-Chairperson of Friends of the Earth (HK), stated, “The shortage of ESG and sustainable development talents is a major obstacle to carbon neutrality. In order to meet the increasing demand for talents, Friends of the Earth (HK) has dedicated itself to building capacity for industry practitioners and the general public towards green finance.” She added, “Meeting many energetic CESGA alumni here reaffirms our passion. ‘Scramble for talent’ and ‘talent war’ have become buzzwords recently. However, for the sake of the Earth and our society, this should not be a zero-sum game, we only have the climate crisis as our enemy. We can incubate and nurture our own talents to serve our carbon neutrality mission.”