HONG KONG, Feb. 9, 2023 /PRNewswire/ -- There is an imminent climate crisis, and extreme weather rages worldwide. In addition, in the post-COVID-19 era, everyone has made every effort to promote economic recovery, which is an opportunity to promote a green economy actively.
(Right to Left) Dr. William Yu, CEO, WGO, Ms. Glenda So, Co-Head of Markets, HKEX, Dr. George Lam, Chair, UN ESCAP Sustainable Business Network (ESBN), Dr. Tientip Subhanij, Chief of Investment and Enterprise Development, the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, Mr. Alger Fung, CEO, AIA Hong Kong & Macau, Prof. Albert Ip, Chairman, WGO and Mr. Albert Oung, Founder and President, WGO and Chair on Green Economy and Executive Council Member, UN ESCAP Sustainable Business Network
The World Green Organisation (WGO), partnering with the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) organised the third International Conference on Sustainable Investing and ESG conference 2022. At the conference, experts explored topics including green finance, low-carbon technology, and climate policies. The Asia-Pacific Green Deal for Business, an initiative of the ESCAP Sustainable Business Network, was also presented and discussed at the conference. The international conference, held in Cyberport on 1 and 2 December, received strong support from business leaders, industry experts, and university academics.
The 2022 conference followed on from successful events held in 2019 and 2021, and promoted the UN's Sustanable Development Goals and a transition to a low-carbon economy. The conference was jointly opened by Dr. Tientip Subhanij, Chief of Investment and Enterprise Development, ESCAP, and Dr. William Yu, Chief Executive Officer of World Green Organisation. We also receive encouraging support from Cyberport, HKEX, Financial Services Development Council (FSDC), and the International Financial Reporting Standards Foundation as partners in the conference.
We are honored to receive the support from Mr. Joseph Chan, Under Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, and Mr. Tim Lui, Chairman of the Securities and Futures Commission. We also invited Dr. King Au, Executive Director of the Financial Development Council, Mr. Peter Yan King Shun, Chief Executive Officer of Cyberport, Ms. Glenda So, Co-Head of Markets, HKEX, Dr. George Lam, Chair, United Nations ESCAP Sustainable Business Network (ESBN), and Prof. Albert Ip, Chairman of World Green Organisation etc to attend the conference in person. There are also speakers from Europe, China, South Korea, Thailand, and Malaysia and officer from the Ministry of Finance. Many well-known local companies, including Crystal International Group Limited, AIA Group Limited, BOC Group Life Assurance Company Limited, DBS Bank (Hong Kong) Limited, Hong Kong and China Gas Company Limited, Lifestyle International Holdings Limited, New World Development Limited, King's Flair International (Holdings) Limited, etc. (See Appendix for details)
Sustainable work all over the world has been disrupted in the nearly three years since the COVID-19 epidemic raged. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, adopted by all 193 Member States of the United Nations as early as 2015, was intended to achieve 17 of the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. These goals include no poverty, zero hunger, good health and well-being, clean water and sanitation, affordable and clean energy, and climate action. It is nevertheless worrying that some countries in the Asia-Pacific region are not on track for reaching the goals by 2030.
The Asia-Pacific Green Deal for Business, created and promoted by the ESCAP Sustainable Business Network, calls on the private sector to take actions that will enable the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals, and realise a green transformation of our economy. Businesses that sign up to the Green Deal will work with governments and civil society to advance suitable policies and take appropriate steps to make their production and consumption greener and less resource-intensive.
Mr. Joseph Chan, Deputy Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury is very supportive of this international conference and recognises Hong Kong's pivotal role in promoting green transition in the Asia-Pacific region. He thinks "Hong Kong has been actively developing as a green and sustainable financial hub in the region, contributing to the goal of carbon neutrality. Over the next 15 to 20 years, the Government will continue to devote significant resources to addressing the crisis posed by climate change. In addition to the familiar green bonds and green funds, the voluntary carbon trading market is bound to become a new trend. Hong Kong will take advantage of it to strengthen and enhance Hong Kong's position as an international financial center. "
Mr. Tim Lui, Chairman of the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC), pointed out at this international conference that Hong Kong, as an international financial center, has achieved noteable success in the development of sustainable finance in recent years. To ensure that listed companies follow ESG principles, he said, the SFC has been working to set standards to support the development of sustainable finance, enhance the disclosure of corporate sustainability and climate-related information and address greenwashing in the fund industry. At the same time, the SFC is working to develop Hong Kong as an international voluntary carbon trading market and to this end is reviewing the regulatory framework and will ensure alignment with the Mainland.
Dr. Tientip Subhanij, Chief of Investment and Enterprise Development at the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, who has strongly supported the international conference for many years, expressed concern about the carbon reduction process in Asia, "Carbon emissions in Asia account for 50 percent of the overall global carbon emissions. The situation is severe. The Coronavirus epidemic has now eased and countries have recently accelerated their economic recovery, with carbon emissions expected to rise as a result, exacerbating global warming. Whether we can overcome climate change depends entirely on the solidarity of global countries in taking measures to actively reduce carbon and finally achieve the goal of net zero carbon emissions. "
"Addressing high carbon emissions in Asia remains difficult," she added. "I sincerely hope that through the Asia-Pacific Green Deal for Business, we can reach out to political and business leaders in the Asia-Pacific region to reach a consensus and corporate together to combat the consequences of climate change. For the sake of our future generations, we must promote a green economy and achieve sustainable development. "
Dr. William Yu, Chief Executive Officer of the World Green Organisation, is also in favor of vigorously promoting the Asia-Pacific Green Deal for Business. "COVID-19 is raging around the world, and its impact on the world, particularly poverty eradication and climate change, remains incalculable. The severe epidemic has brought about an increase of 120 million people living in poverty around the world. Developing countries are in an extremely serious economic crisis. Establishing a cross-regional platform through the Asia-Pacific Green Deal for Business helps unite the public and private sectors in the Asia-Pacific region, connect green professionals from the political and business sectors, exert geographical synergies and promote green development in the Asia-Pacific region. We will also actively encourage small and medium enterprises in the region to fulfill their social responsibilities and contribute to the development and environmental protection of ESGs and contribute significantly to a strong economic recovery in the Asia-Pacific region."
She reiterated, "To achieve global carbon neutrality as soon as possible, this will rely on the concerted efforts of the public and private sectors in all countries. Local governments will need climate finance to reduce carbon emissions to mitigate climate change. The private sector will also play a key role in increasing investment and promoting green innovation projects toward sustainable development. "