A MULTI-STAKEHOLDER INITIATIVE TO PROMOTE SUSTAINABLE FINANCE PRACTICES WAS LAUNCHED IN SINGAPORE
By: Joanita Anastasia
On 21 January 2019, the Asia Sustainable Finance Initiative (ASFI) was launched. Located in Singapore, the initiative aims to drive a shift in the direction of Asian financial flows to focus on sustainable development. ASFI will bring together the financial industry, academia, and science-based organizations, to support Singapore-based financial services institutions in enhancing their sustainable finance expertise.
WWF-Indonesia welcomes the launch of ASFI in Singapore, "With the launch of ASFI in Singapore, it signifies that sustainable finance has become a key agenda for governments and industries in various countries, including Indonesia. For example, in Indonesia, eight banks representing 49.5% of national banking assets have launched the Indonesia Sustainable Finance Initiative platform in May 2018. This is necessary to encourage the implementation of sustainable finance," said Rizkiasari Yudawinata, the Head of WWF-Indonesia Sustainable Finance Program.
The trend of sustainable finance industry is characterized by a number of initiatives such as ASFI that are growing. This can accelerate the integration of Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) principles into financial decision making, capture investment opportunities, and to ensure that the sector's contribution is consistent with the Paris Agreement and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Apart from Singapore and Indonesia, other countries such as Mongolia, Hong Kong, and China also have similar initiatives. These include regulatory platforms such as the Sustainable Banking Network (SBN), Network of Central Banks and Supervisors for Greening the Financial System (NGFS), G20 Sustainable Finance Study Group, Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD).
Under ASFI, a number of organizations will collaborate as Knowledge Partners to produce studies, tools, and frameworks for sustainable finance. ASFI will build on the strides made so far in developing an ecosystem for sustainable finance in Singapore and further afield in Asia, such as introducing sustainable finance guidelines, working with SGX and the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), and capacity building with associations.
"Hopefully, the various sustainable finance initiatives that exist in the future can synergize and collaborate with each other so that the financial services industry everywhere will be ready for the shifting economic development that is happening. Especially to build a resilient, low carbon emission, and climate resilient national and global economy," added Rizkiasari.