Green Finance and the Emerging Markets: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?
Green financing, as defined by Llyods Banking Group, is a loan or investment that supports environmentally friendly activities such as purchasing green goods and services or building green infrastructure. Making the necessary lifestyle and business changes to go green can be costly, so green financing often includes incentives to help offset the costs of switching to electric vehicles or improving your home’s energy efficiency. So it can help individuals and businesses make environmentally friendly purchases and investments. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) standards have become increasingly important in the financial sector, and the realisation that financial institutions have a responsibility to promote these reforms have been a major driver behind the rise of green financing. This excellent article by Joan Seah aptly titled, ‘What is Green Finance?’ unpacks what green finance is all about
Green finance is no longer a niche idea. Sustainable investing has grown exponentially, attracting USD 12 trillion in 2018 alone, according to the Global Sustainable Investment Alliance. As of 2018, more than $30.7 trillion was being professionally managed around the world with responsible investment strategies like screening out bad companies and talking to businesses (https://www.bcg.com/en-gb/capabilities/social-impact-sustainability/how-sustainable-finance-is-shifting-future-of-investing).
ESG concepts (especially on corporate governance) have long been included in portfolio investing strategies, and ESG-related funds now manage between $3 trillion and $31 trillion in assets, depending on the definition. The application of sustainability principles began in stock markets as an attempt to influence company behaviour through investor activism, and then expanded to fixed income markets, primarily with bonds that finance environmental projects, known as green bonds. Unsurprisingly green bonds are on a march, especially in Asia and Europe.