Hong Kong Advances Green and Sustainable Finance Agenda in the Greater Bay Area
Greater Bay Area Green Finance Alliance (GBA-GFA) First Anniversary
Hong Kong, Friday, 17 September 2021 – The Hong Kong Green Finance Association (“HKGFA”) joined its regional counterparts on the first anniversary of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area Green Finance Alliance (“GBA-GFA”) or (“The Alliance”). Representatives shared updates on research and policy suggestions for regulators in developing green finance in the Greater Bay Area, deepening the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region’s (“HKSAR”) role as a leading international green and sustainable finance hub.
The GBA-GFA is a joint initiative of Guangdong, Shenzhen, Hong Kong and Macau, aiming to deepen exchange and cooperation, mobilize talent, technologies and financial resources for green finance innovation to benefit the entire Greater Bay Area.
The event held in Shenzhen, opened with remarks from Mr. Paul Chan Mo-po, Financial Secretary of the Hong Kong S.A.R. Government and Dr. Ma Jun, Chairman and President of HKGFA together with other regional government leaders. It was attended by over 160 distinguished guests, delegates, government officials, as well as business leaders, academia and live broadcast to more than 150,000 viewers from across the region.
In his opening remarks, Financial Secretary Mr. Paul Chan, said: “The Hong Kong S.A.R. Government is working to promote all aspects of Hong Kong under the “14th Five-Year Plan” blueprint. Efforts are underway to strengthen Hong Kong’s position as an international financial centre and in particular, promoting the development of green and sustainable finance as well as the internationalization of the Renminbi.”
Dr. Ma Jun said: “In one year since the establishment of The Alliance, the HKGFA together with three other founding members, have made significant achievements in promoting green and sustainable finance and deeper cross-city collaboration. With support from the HKGFA, Hong Kong’s regulatory authorities have set up a special working group to conduct a carbon market feasibility study in the Greater Bay Area. With President Xi’s 2060 carbon neutrality goal, it will create trillions of dollars of green finance and sustainable investment opportunities over the next 30 years. Looking ahead, The Alliance can play a greater role in the integration of Guangdong’s industrial advantages, Shenzhen’s technological innovations, and Hong Kong and Macau’s open financial markets. An effective integration will create a positive cycle in the Greater Bay Area where green finance supports green technology and green technology further promotes the green development of green industries.”
Dr. Ma Jun, Chairman and President of HKGFA, giving opening remarks at the event.
Presentations from last year and updated this year included the Green Buildings Opportunities project led by Hong Kong, the Electronic Solid Waste Management platform led by Shenzhen and the Greening Supply Chain project led by Guangzhou. Three additional projects were put forward this year included, The Greater Bay Area Deep Decarbonisation Pathway and Transition Financing Opportunity led by Hong Kong, the Carbon Neutrality Registration Database led by Guangzhou, and the Green Bond Endorsed Projects Catalogue led by Shenzhen.
Green and Sustainable Finance Developments
In the first half of 2021, the Hong Kong S.A.R. Government made significant developments to advance its Green and Sustainable Finance agenda. The Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s announcement of new guidelines on the Green and Sustainable Finance Grant Scheme, HKQAA’s Green Loan e-Assessment Platform, and the Cross Agency Steering Group’s launch of the Centre for Green and Sustainable Finance to coordinate the efforts of financial regulators, Government agencies, industry stakeholders and the academia in capacity building, thought leadership and policy development. Furthermore, the successful offering of US$2.5 billion of green bonds under the Government Green Bond Programme was announced.
Mr. Christopher Hui Ching-yu, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of the Hong Kong S.A.R. Government said: “Capital plays an indispensable role in promoting Green and Sustainable development. Hong Kong is an international financial centre renowned for our capabilities to facilitate efficient capital formation and allocation. Tapping the opportunities brought by the closer integration and regulatory cooperation among cities in Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area (GBA), we shall leverage on our strengths to channel capital towards more green and sustainable projects, thereby building a more prosperous and liveable GBA of the future.”
Mr. Christopher Hui Ching-yu, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of the Hong Kong S.A.R. Government, speaking at Panel 1 Driving GBA Inter-Government Collaborations.
Hong Kong Project Initiatives
The HKGFA Green Building Project, in collaboration with HK2050 is Now, published two reports in 2021 highlighting actions and pathways to steer Hong Kong’s building sector towards a 2050 carbon neutrality goal using innovative green finance and policy recommendations. A policy white paper on “Decarbonising the Building Sector in Hong Kong” was submitted to the HKSAR Government in July 2021 to drive change using a combined regulatory push and green finance pull approach. It will expand its recommendations for the GBA in the next research phase.
The policy recommendations to drive decarbonisation included the introduction of energy performance-based rating systems, the use of a performance-based rating system to access green finance, increased transparency of embodied carbon emissions and the creation of a Cross-Agency Body for decarbonising the building sector under the Government’s Steering Committee on Climate Change.
Ms. Tracy Wong Harris, Vice President and Deputy Secretary General of HKGFA, Green Buildings project lead said: “HKGFA has made tremendous progress through the working groups and leading key projects under The Alliance. We are developing innovative green finance solutions to support different industries to decarbonize and making policy recommendations that will position Hong Kong as a leading international green finance hub for the GBA region. We have extended our Block-Chain Solar and Green Buildings efforts in 2021, with a new project, the GBA Deep Decarbonisation Pathway and Transition Financing Opportunities research, which has identified additional areas with the greatest potential of using transition financing to help different industries leapfrog to a low carbon economy.”
The recommendations included sectoral deep-dive studies in key emitting sectors (buildings and transport), constructing decarbonisation roadmaps, accelerating the net-zero transition through green and sustainable financing opportunities that are unique and linked to the GBA.
The event wrapped up with four roundtable discussions on topics ranging from inter-government and regional collaboration opportunities, information disclosure standards and green and low carbon development for private equity and venture capital.
- Ms. Tracy Wong Harris, Vice President and Deputy Secretary General, Hong Kong Green Finance Association; Head of Sustainable Finance for Greater China and North Asia, Standard Chartered Bank
- Ms. Grace Hui, Managing Director, Head of Green and Sustainable Finance, Markets Division, Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited
- Mr. Anthony Lin, CEO of Greater Bay Area, Standard Chartered Bank
- Mr. Sirui Xiao, General Manager of Research Planning Department of China Emissions Exchange (Guangzhou), Deputy Secretary-General of Guangdong Green Finance Committee
- Ms. Yin Lin, Deputy General Manager of China Emissions Exchange Shenzhen(CEEX)
- Ms. Yuerong Yang, Deputy General Manager of Investment Banking Department of SPD Bank Head Office
About Greater Bay Area Green Finance Alliance (GBA – GFA)
The GBA-GFA is a collaboration between the Hong Kong Green Finance Association (HKGFA), the Green Finance Committee of Guangdong Society for Finance and Banking (GDGFC), the Green Finance Committee of Financial Society of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SZGC), and the Macau Association of Banks. The Alliance aims to promote green finance research, standards and certifications and incubating green investments that will benefit the GBA by leveraging the green investment demand in Guangdong and Shezhen and green finance capacities in Hong Kong and Macau.
The Alliance supports seven green finance-related projects: The Green Building Opportunities and the Greater Bay Area Deep Decarbonisation Pathway and Transition Financing Opportunity led by Hong Kong, the Electronic Solid Waste Management platform and the Green Bond Endorsed Projects Catalogue led by Shenzhen, the Greening Supply Chain project and the Carbon Neutrality Registration Database both led by Guangzhou and the Driving Green Bond Development with Well-Established Green Finance Service Platforms led by Macau.
About Hong Kong Green Finance Association (HKGFA)
Founded in September 2018, Hong Kong Green Finance Association (HKGFA) provides a unique platform that supports the development of green finance and sustainable investments in Hong Kong and beyond. It aims to mobilize both public and private sectors resources and talents in developing green finance policies, to promote green finance business and product innovation within financial institutions. HKGFA’s main goal is to position Hong Kong as a leading international green finance hub by providing greater access and opportunities for Hong Kong’s financial institutions to participate in green financing transactions locally, in Mainland China and in markets along the Belt & Road. This is in line with the global trend of implementing the UN sustainable development goals and the Paris Agreement.
HKGFA’s key activities are organized through eight working groups, namely Green and Sustainable Banking, Green and Sustainable Private Equity, Green and Sustainable Real Estate, Green Bonds and Product Innovation, ESG Disclosure and Integration, Policy Research and Dissemination, Green and Sustainable Insurance, and External Collaborations. Please visit https://www.hkgreenfinance.org/ for more information.