I was honor to be invited HKQAA to participant the Green Finance Certification Scheme Launching Ceremony cum Seminar on 12th Mar 2018 which was held in the Conference Hall, Central Government Offices, Tamar, HK. In line with Government Policies to promote green finance, HKQAA took the lead to development the Green Finance Certification Scheme (GFCS) to provide third-party conformity assessments for Green Finance issuers since 2016. In the beginning, I met Dr. Lo Wai Kwok (Chairman, HKQAA) and Dr. Michael P.H. Lam (CEO, HKQAA) and took a photo for memory.
I also met Mr. Dominic Lam (CEO, CMATCL) and Mr. Ronald Y.F. Lau (Honorary President, Hong Kong Food Council).
Then we took a group photo with Mr. James Henry Lau (Secretary for Financial Services and Treasury) and Mr. Wong Kam-sing (Secretary for the Environment). I met my HD & MPhil supervisor Dr. CN Ng (HKU) (Right 3rd) and my colleague Mr. Peter Yeung (Right 1st).
My EngD Cohort Dr. Amy Lai was also here. She serviced in Swire Properties Limit which was one of pilot participants of the GFCS.
Firstly, Ir. Dr. Hon Lo Wai Kwok (Chairman, HKQAA) gave welcome remarks. He said Green Finance was a global trend and HKQAA promoted environmental friendly development and sustainable future continuously.
Mr. James Henry Lau (Secretary for Financial Services and Treasury) gave opening remarks. There were three key elements and they were Green Bond, Sustainable Finance and Responsible Investment, indicating the combination of environment plus social plus governance. “China is one of key players in Green Finance.” he said.
Mr. Wong Kam-sing (Secretary for the Environment) gave opening remarks. He pointed out green bond was global trend and its market upto 155.5B globally in 2017. HKQAA launched such scheme was timely in the environmental blueprint.
After that the ceremony was held by Mr. James Henry Lau (Secretary for Financial Services and Treasury), Mr. Wong Kam-sing (Secretary for the Environment), Ir. Dr. Hon Lo Wai Kwok (Chairman, HKQAA), Ir C.S. Ho (Deputy Chairman, HKQAA) and Dr. Michael P.H. Lam (CEO, HKQAA).
Group photo with all guests and speakers was taken.
The first speaker was Ir C.S. Ho (Deputy Chairman, HKQAA) and his topic named “Overview of Green Finance Certification Scheme”. Firstly, Ir. Ho briefed the HKQAA background since 1989.
Then Ir. Ho briefed their Green related development included CSR Index, Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) validation and verification service, Hang Seng Corporate Sustainability Index Series, ISO 14020 Green Bonds – standard development participation, and observer of Green Bond Principle under the Climate Bond Standard. The GFCS scheme aimed to assist HKSAR Government to facilitate Hong Kong to develop as a regional Green Finance Hub.
The following diagram showed the core reference of the scheme design included CDM, GBP of ICMA, PBoC, CBRC, IFC …etc. Using qualitative approach aimed to achieve the four global environmental issues and they were “Prevention of Pollution”, “Sustainable Resource Use”, “Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation” and “Protection of Environment, Biodiversity and Restoration of Natural Habitats”.
The scheme design concept was showed from Green Finance Issuer (debt instrument including bond and loan) to Investor through the 3rd party assessment.
The second speaker was Prof. Shi Yingzhe (Vice-Director General of the International Institute of Green Finance, Central University of Finance) and his presentation entitled “Green Finance: The Progress in China”. His speech separated into three parts and they were Green Finance System Overview, Green Finance Progress and Achievement in Green Bond.
Green Finance definition in China was “financial services provided for economic activities that are supportive of environment improvement, addressing climate change and more efficient resource utilization.” The development of green finance in China was from initial (2007-2010), to consolidation (2011-2014) and implementation (2015 till now). Then Prof. Shi briefed the Green Finance System of China included Top-Level Design, Green Finance Pilot Zones, Green Credit, Green Securities, Green Fund & PPP, Green Insurance, Environmental Credit Trading and Environmental Risk Analysis.
And then Prof. Shi discussed the main challenges for developing green finance in China and they were “the absence of relevant legislation”, “Disharmony among green financial standards”, “underdeveloped capacity”, “Policy environment” and “Barriers in the international cooperation”.
Finally, Prof. Shi recommended for international cooperation such as the China-British green finance work group released the interim report in Sep 2017. He suggested to facilitate foreign investment into Chinese green bond market and enhanced the standard harmonization.
The last speaker was Mr. Stephen Wong (Deputy Executive Director and Head of Public Policy Institute) and his topic was “Fostering Green Economy through Green Finance”. In the beginning, he mentioned the impact of climate change.
Then he briefed the climate-related financial risks from transition risk and physical risk to affect firms and finally risk to financial stability. He quoted Bank of England that “Insured losses (from natural catastrophes) have increased (globally) from an average of around US$10 billion per annum in the 1980s to an average of around US$45 billion per annum so far this decade.”
Mr. Wong mentioned that natural capital (not like physical and human capital) was usually not marketed/priced but is essential to economic welfare of the society. And then he introduced the development of the concept from Blueprint for a Green Economy (1989) the green economy defined by multiple organizations.
After that Mr. Wong introduced new model of development in China from “development first, conservation later” to “green growth” and modernization in harmony with nature. The milestone of the development of green finance in China was showed.
Finally, Mr. Wong said China had established five pilot zones in June 2017, Shenzhen had long started building green finance infrastructure, and Shanghai also attached great importance to green finance. At the end he said green finance was significance to Hong Kong especially in Green Bond. Some people would say Hong Kong without Bond Market but Mr. Wong said it would develop Green Bond first and then influence the whole Hong Kong Bond Market backward.
Before end of Seminar, Dr. Michael P.H. Lam (CEO, HKQAA) gave closing remarks. The scheme launched was a milestone and history in Hong Kong financial sector. It could help the Hong Kong and Greater Bay Area in Green Finance development.
Before left, I took a photo with Mr. Bryan Peng and Meico Cheong (HKQAA) for memory.
HKQAA - http://www.hkqaa.org/
Green Finance Certification Scheme - http://www.hkqaa.org/en_certservice.php?catid=26
HKQAA – GFCS news - http://www.hkqaa.org/cmsimg/1520856967HKQAA_GFCS%20Launching%20Ceremony%20Press%20Release_EN_Post_v2.pdf