我們每人都有一顆自私的心

香港地球之友綠色金融顧問

說到綠色金融,我們可能會想到各種不同的金融產品,例如綠色債券,ESG基金等等不同的花巧名稱與產品,但我們是否買了所謂綠色金融產品,就真真正正支持到地球生態,然後就可心安理得的生活?要回答這個問題,首先我們必須回歸本質,看看所謂綠色金融產品的結構。

在眾多綠色金融產品中,綠色債券顧名思義,是購買者以小債權人的身份,貸款出來支持綠色項目,而ESG基金,則是通過投資基金,期望基金經理以符合自己理念的投資方式,來選擇投資項目,以改善地球生態,表面看來故事簡單,但現實的故事發展,又是否真如我們所願?

很多朋友問筆者,電動車何時才能全面取代石化能源車。記得2006年時,筆者是一個綠色私募基金的投資基紀,當時Tesla 的電動車快將推出,傳媒的消息遮天蓋地。當時除了Tesla外,筆者手頭上收到的電動車初創企業商業計劃書就有十多個,到2008年Tesla第一款電動車正式面世,當時我們跟蹤的其他電動車項目,每天都發新消息給我們,今天是電機的功耗又提升了多少,明天是電池的放電能力又提升了多少,有投資銀行出了行業報告,預計2012年,電動車就會大爆發,全面代替傳統汽車,現在回顧,究竟發生了甚麼問題,令電動車到今天市佔率仍如此偏低,電動車企業仍只是那三數家?

要剖析這個問題,我們必需從各個層面深入了解,首先是生產者的層面,要令一位用戶很方便地使用到電動車,統一制式非常重要,就如我們從前的錄音機錄影機,每個生產商的產品都是統一制式,每個供應商都提供一模一樣的產品,你不會擔心買回來的錄音帶,插不進家中的錄音機,但電動車到現在,各個汽車生產商、電池生產商,從來沒有意欲坐下來開會討論統一制式,如果有統一制式,我們買車不買電池,只到換電站換電池,則完全沒有我家的屋苑是否有充電器,充電時間要多長,不同汽車的充電器又不一樣,汽車維修是否有各個牌子的統一代理等問題。他們為甚麼不坐下來談?若你是Tesla, 你願意分享部分技術機密嗎?你是比亞迪,你願意公開你部分的電池核心技術?

從消費者層面,除了上述問題令消費者難以下決心購買外,消費者通常亦會對新產品有一些不合理的期望,例如不少消費者會認為,鋰電池會有爆炸危險。但這個擔憂又是否合理?簡單地說,我們現在使用的鋰電池普遍包括錳酸鋰,鈷酸鋰,或磷酸鋰鐵,當中沒有一種是有爆炸成分的,它們之所以有機會爆炸,是因為電池一般以鋁包密封,電池內因短路會引至高熱而谷爆鋁包,引出物理爆炸而不是化學爆炸,可以說,這種爆炸的機率,遠遠比現在內燃機汽車出意外的機率為低,但我們一般人或監管機構,對新事物卻往往有毫不合理的標準要求,但從來無法用對等的比較法作清楚對比。

從政府的層面,除了在稅收及補貼方面工作外,有沒有主動研究解決充電站問題,法例問題(如允許更多的不同電動行車器如電單車),或支持更多的邊際研發?

直到今天,若你問生產商,他們會說,早在2010年,我們已能生產充電後走四百公里,技術完全成熟的電車。但你問消費者,他們會說,充電最快也充個多兩個小時,入油只要幾分鐘,屋苑沒有充電位,有充電位又長期給非電動車佔用,我怕它會爆炸,不安全,維修很困難,全港只有一兩個維修商,出事可能要等兩個月……., 問政府,他們會說,我們當年已給出很大的稅務優惠,但效果欠理想。

現時各個政府都定下碳中和時間表,但我只舉例一個行業,我們面對的困難就是如此的多。看來要一個綠色行業生存,只支持綠色金融,是遠遠不足夠的,我們不論是生產商,消費者,政府,如果每個持分者都不願意多走一步,想想辦法如何推動行業發展,就如電動車一樣,技術早已成熟,消費者又願意出錢買,政府又願意稅務政策鼓勵,但發展就是龜速,每人都只會「食花生」,看其他人向前走坐享其成,試問以這個心態,我們的2050或2060碳中和,又如何能真的做到?


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After Covid, will there be more green development, or less?

Alexandra Tracy, Green Finance Advisor of Friends of the Earth (HK)

Government around the region are scrambling to develop plans for recovering from the pandemic. Environmental champions have made much of the opportunities for moving away from business as usual and “building back better”. They point to research recently published by Oxford University, which suggests investment in climate friendly policy initiatives could also offer the best economic returns. Based on surveys of more than 200 senior economic officials, the research finds that interventions with the greatest environmental and economic impacts include investing in clean physical infrastructure, natural capital projects and clean R&D.

But is this all talk and no action ?

To some extent, in Asia, it would seem to be so. Even before the virus, ASEAN was not on track to meet its regional target of sourcing 23% of primary energy from renewables by 2025 – it looks as though that share will stay at around 15%. On top of that, the International Energy Agency predicts that oil will continue to dominate road transport demand in South East Asia.

Now, policy makers urgently need to attend to shocking economic downturns and to generate growth as rapidly as possible, especially in those regions which are struggling to tackle rising poverty. In these circumstances, it is understandable that short term decision making may overtake longer term green aspirations. This is hardly the time, for example, for dramatically rolling back the generous fossil fuel subsidies that allow access to energy and transportation for the poorest.

Most of the huge economic stimulus packages being developed by governments in the region make little mention of green priorities. Indeed, a recent study by ING Bank of these plans described most of their proposals as a “lamentable green response to Covid 19”.

Asia’s largest economies are proposing to make green investments, but are also supporting fossil fuel as part of their economic recovery plans. China has approved plans for new coal power plant capacity at the fastest rate since 2015, while India’s stimulus package contains support for both coal and oil industries, as well as allowing more deforestation for industrial development. And for all the talk of Korea’s Green New Deal, it is hard to find significant environmental measures in its proposals.

But there are reasons to feel positive. In the last two years, Vietnam has made enormous progress on increasing its solar and wind generating capacities, with a combination of well thought out policies and fiscal incentives. It now accounts for over 40% of South East Asia’s total solar capacity. Significant challenges remain for switching away from fossil fuels entirely, but the government is responding with sweeping changes to the power sector and moves to encourage direct corporate purchases of clean energy.

And New Zealand stands out in the Asia Pacific region for including in its economic recovery plans considerable spending on nature based solutions. The government has announced a NZ$1.3 billion programme that will invest in restoring wetlands and riverbanks, removing invasive species and improving tourism and recreation services on public lands. This is expected to create 11,000 new jobs. 

Meanwhile, what of Hong Kong? In the Chief Executive’s Policy Address this week, there was mention of a number of environmental initiatives, such as more recycling and subsidies for electric vehicle charging infrastructure. These were somewhat outweighed, however, by ambitious planning for intensive development of the airport and expanded urban areas.


Visit www.foe.org.hk for more news about Friends of the Earth (HK)!
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The Growth of Impact Investing

Michele Leung, Green Finance Advisor of Friends of the Earth (HK)

Impact investing is defined with the objective to generate measurable social or environmental benefits, alongside with financial returns. The investors typically with a mindset that want their investment to make a difference in the world. According to an industry study*, 95% of millennial investors or 85% of individual investors are interested in sustainable/impact investing.

There is increasing interest to apply the principles of impact investing to private and public equities. Particularly for public equities, the impact can be quantified by defining actionable impact themes (basic needs, natural capital) and sets of solutions (i.e., major diseases treatment, sustainable water), then calculating company revenue exposure to products and services with positive social or environmental impact.

The 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (UNSDGs) were agreed by 193 countries in 2015 with a target date for delivery of 2030. The SDGs aim to foster collaboration within and between international private and public stakeholders to address critical global challenges such as poverty, inequality, and climate change.

Companies’ contribution to SDGs can be analyzed based on their operations, the product, and services they provide, rather than solely relying on companies self-declared alignment with the goals. With this type of analysis, investors can identify companies that are better aligned with the SDGs, measure, and report on the degree of SDG alignment while also to comply with client mandates around SDG alignment. Most importantly, they can potentially meet the rising demand to channel capital towards addressing the objectives by the SDGs. 

*Source: Morgan Stanley Institute for Sustainable Investing. Sustainable Signals: Individual Investor Interest Driven by Impact, Conviction and Choice (September 2019)


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【今期綠色金融活動一覽】

雖然十一月已經過了一大半,但我們仍有許多精彩的綠色金融活動推介給大家。如欲參加和綠色金融有關的活動,或想了解甚麼是綠色金融,歡迎瀏覽以下網址了解更多。

[1]     ACGA Virtual Conference 2020 – Asian Business Dialogue on Corporate Governance

[2]    Outlook 2021 – The Unrealized Potential of Impact Investing in the APAC Region

[3]     2020 GRESB Real Estate Results – Asia

[4]     Engaging as a Sovereign Bondholder

[5]     Corporate Sustainability Summit

[6]     Panel discussion: The why, the what and the how (This event is part of Climate Risk Week Asia)

[7]     Climate Risk Asia Week – Measuring, Managing and Mitigating the Threat From Climate Change


瀏覽香港地球之友網頁 www.foe.org.hk 了解更多
綠色金融 Facebook 專頁: https://www.facebook.com/greenfinancefoehk/
香港地球之友 LinkedIn 專頁: https://www.linkedin.com/company/friends-of-the-earth-hk/

What will US climate policies look like when President-elect Joe Biden takes office?

Green Finance Advisor of Friends of the Earth (HK)

U.S. climate change policy is set for a different approach, following the results of the Presidential election. This article aims to take a look at the President-elect Joe Biden’s plan on the climate change policy and some of his climate action goals.

Electric Cars/ Automobile Emission

Biden mentioned he aims to get the US back on track to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, in line with the Paris-Agreement. He also plans to implement a federal procurement program for clean vehicles and set a goal for all new American-built buses to be zero-emissions by 2030. To achieve this, he plans to endow US$2 trillion into research and development goals, including creating millions of construction , skilled trade and engineering jobs to build the new infrastructure while providing pathways for workers of all ages and people from background.

He aims to work to increase demands for American-sourced clean vehicles, especially in fleets, while encouraging consumers and manufacturers to move to electric vehicles through programs, one of which is the Clean Cars for America proposal to replace old automobiles.  

With a view to improve the electric vehicle growth, he also aims to accelerate battery research and plans to procure US$ 400 billion for batteries, electric vehicles and upgrading of industrial manufacturing processes over the next four years.  This includes creating a new Advanced Research Projects Agency on Climate that examines on a variety of low-carbon options and technologies.  He eagers to beef up the supply chains for clean industries, invest in national labs and etc.

Climate Diplomacy

Biden would return the US to a leadership role on climate change, re-entering the US in future climate negotiations to advance the goals of the 2015 Climate Agreement, the global pact made five years ago among nearly 200 nations to avoid the worst impacts of climate change.   Biden said he will bring the U.S. back into the Agreement as early as February 2021.    

The Agreement is a non-binding agreement amongst nations to reduce emissions and keep the increase in global temperatures well below 2 degree Celsius, or a 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, compared with preindustrial levels.

Once the U.S returns, the agreement requires countries to set voluntary targets to reduce domestic emissions and create stricter goals in coming years.  The Paris Agreement has also implemented a binding requirement that countries are required to accurately report their progress.

It is apparent that Biden’s environmental plan and goals will be a huge undertaking, but it will set the U.S. on the right path to being environmental.


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