This year’s virtual Summit, delivered in partnership with the Asian Institute of Chartered Bankers and UNEP FI, evaluated the current position and urgent need for scaling up sustainable finance in the ASEAN region.  

SCALING UP SUSTAINABLE FINANCE IN ASEAN 

Aries Poon (Director, Head of Asia-Pacific Insights and Analysis, S&P Global Market Intelligence) kicked off the summit with a fascinating Economic Outlook for the ASEAN region. 

Further setting the scene, Mohammed Rashdan Mohd Yusof (Chairman, Energy Commission Malaysia) delivered the Opening Keynote, entitled Scaling Sustainable Finance in ASEAN. Tuan Rashdan who provided an overview of the current state of sustainable finance in the ASEAN region, highlighted some of the challenges and opportunities in scaling up sustainable finance in the region and outlined the role financial institutions and regulators can play in promoting sustainable finance. 

FINANCING THE ENERGY TRANSITION 

In a Country Profiles presentation Christopher de Vere Walker (Head of Power, and Utilities at Carbon Tracker Initiative) then shared some insightful data and analysis on the extent to which the power sectors in Indonesia and Vietnam align with the goals of the Paris Agreement, highlighting the risks and opportunities associated with the transition. 

The Financing the Energy Transition panel then considered the progress made to unlock investment and mobilise the funding required to successfully transition to cleaner and more sustainable energy sources. The panel was moderated by Dame Susan Rice (Chair, GEFI) and featured Amanah Aboobucker, CB (Chief Sustainability Officer, AmBank Group), Muhammad Rizal Azmi (Assistant Vice President, Business Development and Sales, Carbon Market, Bursa Malaysia Berhad), Martijn Hoogerwerf (Head of Sustainable Finance APAC, ING), and Helga Birgden (Global Head of Responsible Investment, Partner, Mercer). 

A SPOTLIGHT ON COP 

UN Climate Change High-Level Champion, H.E. Razan Al Mubarak, provided a summary of finance-related outcomes from COP28 and outlined what financial institutions in ASEAN can do to support the transition.  

This was followed by a COP Fireside Chat between Sagarika Chatterjee (Department Director, Climate Finance, UN Climate Champions), Azreen Idayu Zainal (General Manager, Sustainability, Securities Commission Malaysia) and Dr John Murton (Senior Advisor, Standard Chartered) who looked at the key COP28 outcomes for ASEAN from a climate finance perspective and expectations for COP29 in Baku. 

UNEP FI UPDATE 

An update on UNEP FI’s initiatives will then be delivered by Membership and Regional Co-ordination Manager, Maria Eugenia Sosa Taborda. 

SUPPORTING SMEs ON THEIR JOURNEY TO NET ZERO 

The Fireside on Greening Finance and Developing SME Resilience was moderated by Carl Chan (Director, Accuracy) and included perspectives from Nurul Syaheedah Jes Izman (COO, Pantas Climate Solutions), Moreen Joseph (Chief Sustainability Officer, UOBM, JC3), and Datin Dorph Peng, Deputy President (SME Association of Malaysia). The speakers discussed the extent to which SMEs are incorporating ESG principles in their business operations and highlight some practical actions are being taken by regulators, financial institutions and data providers to support SMEs on their journey’s to net zero. 

BEST PRACTICE APPROACHES TO FINANCING NATURE 

Candice Dott (Director of Market Engagement, Taskforce for Nature-related Financial Disclosure) provided an introduction to the TNFD recommendations and tools and an overview of TNFD adopters.

Nicole Kozlowski (Head of Engagement, Planet Tracker) then introduced Planet Tracker’s Nature Scorecard and shone a light on the performance of ASEAN corporates 

The Unlocking Finance for Nature-Based Solutions panel then reflected on the risks that nature and biodiversity loss pose to ASEAN economies, before covering the global / ASEAN best practice approaches to investing in nature and the latest developments in measurement and reporting.  The panel was moderated by Laura Canas da Costa (APAC Policy Lead, UNEP FI) with insights shared by Satya Tripathi (President, Global Alliance for a Sustainable Planet),  Andy Turnbull (Senior Investment Manager, Natural Capital, Federated Hermes), Datuk Jeffri Abd Rasid (Chief Executive Officer, Malaysia Forest Fund), and Jurgita Balaisyte (Vice President, APAC ESG & Climate Research, MSCI). 

OPPORTUNITIES IN ISLAMIC FINANCE 

We had two deep dive fireside chats on Islamic finance. The first, entitled Moving from Halal to Tayyib, heard from Omar Shaikh (Managing Director, GEFI), Shereen Osman (Senior Manager – Islamic Finance, PwC Middle East) and Salman Siddiqui (Investment Manager – Global Emerging Market Equities, Jupiter Asset Management) on the fast emerging Islamic sustainable finance movement. 

This was then followed by a second fireside, involving Stella Cox CBE (Managing Director, DDCAP Group), Shrey Kohli (Head of Debt Capital Markets, London Stock Exchange Group), and Raja Amir Shah Raja Azwa (CEO, HSBC Amanah), to discuss the role of Green Sukuk for Climate Action. This included an update on the International Capital Market Association’s practitioner guidelines on green and sustainable sukuk as announced at COP28. 

The Summit concluded with a Closing Keynote from Dr Zamir Iqbal (Vice President, Finance, and Chief Financial Officer, Islamic Development Bank), who looked at the role Islamic finance can play to help drive green economic growth in the ASEAN region.