ESG Considerations for Digital Assets

Green Finance Advisor of Friends of the Earth (HK)

ESG, which stands for environmental, social, and governance, has transformed from a mere acronym into a tangible reality. In 2025, it is projected to represent a staggering $53,000 billion market, equivalent to one-third of global assets under management. The epicenters of this movement are Europe and North America.

The financial sector has increasingly prioritized the ESG agenda, with the COVID-19 pandemic serving as a catalyst for institutions to integrate these criteria into risk management and product development. Regulators have also made ESG a top priority, and this wave of regulatory action is just the beginning.

Europe, in particular, has taken the lead in implementing ESG regulations. The 5th Anti-Money Laundering Directive, which came into effect in January 2020, provided a legal definition of cryptocurrency and expanded customer due diligence obligations. However, Europe’s regulatory framework for digital assets doesn’t stop there. The forthcoming MiCA (Markets in crypto assets) regulatory framework, expected by 2024, aims to harmonize regulations for various types of cryptocurrencies. It covers aspects such as issuance, trading, settlement, custody, and collateral management for digital assets not currently classified under existing regulations. In parallel, Europe is also witnessing a regulatory surge in sustainable finance, driven by the European Commission’s action plan on sustainable finance published in March 2018. This plan will have far-reaching impacts on financial institutions, necessitating changes in their entire organization, including risk management. For Europe’s largest banks, the challenge lies in integrating ESG criteria into governance, risk measures, stress tests, reporting, and potentially their own funds.

The sustainability concerns that have permeated the economy are now extending to digital assets. With cryptocurrency and non-fungible tokens becoming not just peripheral assets, but have grown to be a significant asset class of its own based on market value. Institutional investors, initially hesitant, are embracing these assets, which have been described as volatile, subject to regulatory uncertainty, and prone to fraud and money laundering. However, the integration of digital assets into ESG-focused financial institutions raises questions about their compatibility with the ESG agenda.

To address the energy consumption concerns associated with digital assets, various solutions are emerging. The first option is the use of renewable energy sources. According to a global crypto asset benchmarking study, 39% of the total energy consumption of proof-of-work (PoW) miners is derived from renewable sources, with hydroelectricity being the most popular. Geographical disparities exist, with North America leading in the use of renewable energy for mining activities. Another alternative is transitioning to more efficient consensus mechanisms, such as Ethereum’s proof-of-stake (PoS). If successful, this migration could reduce energy consumption by a staggering 99.95%, according to the Ethereum Foundation.

Digital assets have the potential to promote financial inclusion and positively impact developing economies. However, along with the increasing demand for these assets, threats and challenges have emerged. Cybercriminals exploit the characteristics of certain digital assets, posing risks of fraud and compromising respect for human rights.

Digital assets also introduce a new mode of governance through decentralization. In traditional finance, small investors often have limited decision-making power, whereas community owners of digital assets can have a more significant say in strategic directions. The rapid growth of decentralized finance (DeFi) enables innovative governance models. However, integrating this vision into the conventional financial and legal systems poses challenges.

Central banks have entered the digital asset arena and are exploring the issuance of government digital currencies, known as central bank digital currencies (CBDCs). CBDCs offer cost reduction opportunities and allow central banks to maintain control over the money supply and interest rates. According to a survey by the Bank for International Settlements, 86% of central banks are actively researching CBDCs. China has taken the lead with the digital yuan, which is currently being tested in several Chinese cities and is set to be launched officially this year. This development coincides with China’s ban on Bitcoin and cryptocurrency mining, as China aims to export the digital yuan and compete with the US dollar. Other countries, including the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom, and Switzerland, are also exploring CBDCs.

Digital assets are adapting to new requirements by addressing their impact on the environment, society, and the financial system. With the rise of alternative finance, central banks are stepping in and setting the pace with CBDCs, which poses new geopolitical and stability concerns for the global financial system.

Overall, while ESG has been well adopted by traditional security markets such as listed equity and bonds, the next frontier for ESG is in the digital assets space, and there remains much work to do to ensure our financial markets support the sustainable development of our global community.


【ESG分析師洞見分享】Kyle Chung, CESGA

許多跨國企業已提出「淨零減排」目標。企業的溫室氣體排放分為三大範圍,範圍 1 和 2 分別計算生產的直接排放及能源使用的間接排放,範圍 3 則包含價值鏈上下游活動的碳排放。過往減碳倡議的主軸在於能源轉型,皆因化石燃料為碳排放的主要來源,盡快轉型零碳能源為應對氣候變化的基要目標;惟範圍 3 的排放愈來愈受關注,特別是在供應鏈上的脫碳進程。

供應鏈是指公司與其供應商之間的網絡,以生產特定產品及流通到最終消費者。據國際碳披露組織「全球環境信息研究中心」(CDP)統計,一間公司供應鏈上的碳排放,平均比自身營運的碳排放高 11.4 倍。食品、建築、時裝、快速消費品、電子產品、汽車、專業服務和貨運,8 類供應鏈佔全球排放量的 50% 以上,當中大部分僅由幾家公司間接控制。

CDP 與波士頓顧問公司(Boston Consulting Group)的供應鏈報告,分析了 2021 年通過 CDP 披露、來自 11,400 多家企業供應商的環境數據。報告強調,企業迫切需要在整個供應鏈中採取行動,方能有效防止氣候災難。儘管供應鏈排放受到注目,但 CDP 報告指只有 28% 的供應商報告了已制定低碳轉型計劃。


世界經濟論壇去年發表有關供應鏈淨零目標的報告則指出,許多減碳技術實際上已達到可負擔的水平。在其所分析的供應鏈中,約 40% 的排放可以通過節約過度生產來減碳,或使用成本低於 10 歐元/每噸二氧化碳當量的減碳措施。舉例說,在食物供應鏈中,可通過減少食物浪費和增加低碳肥料生產力來減排。


*原文刊登於CUP媒體。本文章更新於2023年8月18日 。

香港電台節目 “Vibrant Hong Kong” 專訪: 綠色金融

香港地球之友 “FoE (HK)” 副主席張振宇先生(Anthony)及行政文憑課程總監吳溢穎小姐(Athena)最近接受了香港電台節目《Vibrant Hong Kong》的專訪。 我們非常感謝香港電台(RTHK)的邀請,讓我們分享香港地球之友如何推廣綠色金融的發展。立即觀看完整訪談,請瀏覽在RTHK YouTube頻道或官方網站上的內容!

[RTHK YouTube頻道]:

[RTHK 官方網站]:

Anthony在訪談過程中強調,自2018年綠色金融路線圖推出以來,FoE(HK)一直積極致力於與企業建立夥伴關係並提供綠色金融教育。我們認為綠色金融是緩解氣候變化的重要工具。 為應對香港及亞太地區缺乏ESG相關專業課程,FoE(HK)將EFFAS CESGA課程引入香港,以鼓勵更多人投身ESG行業。 我們相信隨著全球對環保投資的需求的增加,香港有機會成為亞太地區綠色和可持續金融的樞紐。


EFFAS CESGA認證課程是一個廣泛認可的專業資格,是提升ESG投資和可持續金融技能的黃金標準。通過強大的校友網絡,獲得CESGA認證可以使您的職業生涯達到新的高度。FoE(HK)協助管理香港CESGA課程、舉辦相關工作坊及籌辦考試。

2023年9 月和 12 月 CESGA 考試現已開放報名,課程詳情:

FoE(HK)綠色金融及ESG投資分析行政文憑課程,幫助考生了解ESG投資和綠色金融的最新趨勢和報告要求,以及ESG投資和國際ESG報告框架的最新發展。 本課程可以作為有興趣學習綠色金融的人的起點。


另外,兩種課程已成為政府「綠色和可持續金融培訓先導計劃」的合資格培訓及資歷。合資格申請人可於完成課程後申請發還最多港幣10,000元的費用 ,並受本計劃下的條件所約束。

RTHK Programme “Vibrant Hong Kong” Interview: Green Finance

Our Vice-Chairperson, Anthony Cheung, and our Program Director of the Executive Certificate course, Athena Ng, recently made an appearance on RTHK’s “Vibrant Hong Kong” programme. We are grateful to RTHK for having the privilege of sharing how Friends of the Earth (HK) promotes green finance in Hong Kong.

Don’t miss the full interview on the RTHK YouTube Channel or their official website now!

[RTHK Youtube]:

[RTHK Website]:

During the interview, Anthony emphasized our active engagement in fostering partnerships with businesses and providing green finance education since the launch of the green finance roadmap in 2018.

FoE (HK) believes that green finance is a critical tool in combating climate change. To address the lack of professional ESG-related course in Hong Kong and the Asia-Pacific region, FoE (HK) introduced the EFFAS CESGA programme (CESGA) into Hong Kong to encourage more people to enter the ESG industry. Hong Kong has the opportunity to become a hub for green and sustainable finance in the Asia-Pacific region, giving the increasing global demand for environmentally-friendly investments.

Athena also introduced ESG training courses and highlighted the significance in addressing the shortage of ESG and sustainable development talents in Hong Kong. These training programmes aim to support ESG development, deepen knowledge on sustainability, and ignite passion on the journey towards sustainability.

The EFFAS CESGA programme (CESGA) is a widely recognized professional designation which is the gold standard for enhancing ESG investing and sustainable finance skillsets. With a robust alumni network, achieving CESGA certification can propel your career to new heights. FoE (HK) hosts workshops and examinations in Hong Kong for candidates to become an EFFAS Certified ESG Analyst (CESGA).

Registration is now open for the September and December CESGA Examinations, please visit:

FoE(HK) also offers the Executive Certificate in ESG Analysis & Green Finance Valuation programme, providing insights into the latest trends and reporting requirements in ESG investment and green finance. It serves as a valuable starting point for those interested in learning about green finance.

To explore on our Executive Certificate in ESG Analysis & Green Finance Valuation, please visit:

Additionally, for both programmes, candidates may be eligible for up to HK$10,000 support under the Pilot Green and Sustainable Finance Capacity Building Support Scheme subject to terms and conditions.

碳足跡,銀行只認 三分之一?

【ESG分析師洞見分享】Ryan Fung, CESGA

銀行是百業之母,在個人和企業融資擔任關鍵角色,間接影響著全球的碳排放,但路透社最新報道 [1],銀行業只打算承擔箇中所涉碳排放的三分一,做法公允與否,未來相信有排拗。

倡議落實「巴黎協定」的國際組織「碳核算金融聯盟」(PCAF),早於 2020 年 11 月 18 日針對金融業提出全球第一套準則「金融業全球溫室氣體盤查和報告準則」(Global GHG Accounting and Reporting Standard for the Financial Industry),要量度金融機構的組合,涉及如上市公司股權和債務、企業貸款、項目融資、房地產、抵押品、汽車貸款等,所衍生出的碳排放數量。

不過對於碳排放要承擔多少責任,卻一直未有結論。據報現時這個組織的最新看法,是打算剔除資本市場業務所涉及的 三分之二排放,只承擔三分之一,因為這些排放是由銀行客戶產生,而不是由銀行自己產生。

這樣的會計標準,仍非強制。PCAF 希望其他銀行採納其標準,現這個工作組成員包括摩根士丹利、巴克萊銀行、美國銀行、花旗集團、滙豐銀行、法國巴黎銀行、NatWest 和渣打銀行,雖然不算齊章,但所做的決定也有一定意義。

要落實這項會計,就要解決一些技術問題,例如重複計算。因為不論銀行是承擔 33% 抑或 100%,到底如何跨行業避免重複計算,似乎也要各國監管機構出手才能夠應對,因為債券和股票投資者,還將分別核算自己碳融資活動產生的部分排放量。

事實上,近兩年縱使反 ESG 浪潮崛起,但確實也有愈來愈多投資者關注氣候變化的影響,並且希望知道他們的投資是否對碳排放有負面影響。


雖然環保人士認為要把 100% 排放歸因於銀行本身,但現時資本市場的聲音似乎是希望「袋住先」,讓中介人先承擔部分責任。這也讓人想起電影「門徒」,劉德華飾演的毒販有一段對白是這樣的:「生意講供求,他們買,我們賣。我有叫他們吸嗎?我有嗎?我沒有!是他們自己要吸!我又沒迫他們!根本不怪我們!要怪怪他們。我有迫他們嗎?我根本沒有迫他們……」

[1] Exclusive: Banks vote to limit accounting of emissions in bond and stock sales