MOTION ON “EXPEDITING THE DEVELOPMENT OF GREEN TRANSFORMATION IN HONG KONG”
Mr. CHAN Chun-ying:
Deputy President, in recent years, issues related to climate and environmental changes have aroused widespread concern among different economies and people from all walks of life, and the community’s awareness of environmental protection has increased. European and American countries have successively made carbon neutrality commitments to promote the development of green transformation. The 14th Five-Year Plan emphasizes promoting comprehensive transformation towards green economic and social development, and supports the development of Hong Kong into a green financial centre in the Greater Bay Area (“GBA”). The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China emphasizes the promotion of green development and promoting harmony between humanity and nature.
In the context of carbon neutrality, the adjustment of the energy structure, the upgrading and transformation of industries and the development of green technologies require large amounts of capital investment, and apart from financial support from the Government, it is more important to leverage the power of social capital, and green finance is precisely the right channel for financing. I would like to thank Dr TAN Yueheng for his motion, especially for urging the Government to take active measures to expedite the development of green finance in Hong Kong.
In recent years, Hong Kong’s green finance ecosystem has continuously improved and the market size has continuously increased; in particular, green bonds have further expanded in terms of currency, project types and issuance channels. As of August this year, the Government has issued approximately US$10 billion green bonds; and it has launched retail green bonds this year which allows direct public participation and deepens public understanding of green investment. In the media interview after the Global Financial Leaders’ Investment Summit yesterday, Financial Secretary Paul CHAN stressed the need to turn Hong Kong into a regional green financial centre while Mr JIN Liqun, President of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, said that the Bank’s future investment projects would definitely be linked to green finance and sustainable development.
As an international financial centre, Hong Kong plays an important linkage role in terms of green and sustainable capital within and outside the country. In October last year, the Shenzhen Municipal Government issued RMB3.9 billion offshore Renminbi green bonds in Hong Kong, which is the first time that a local government from the Mainland has issued green bonds in Hong Kong, setting a good precedent for other local governments and enterprises from the Mainland to continue issuing bonds in Hong Kong.
In fact, apart from having a well-established regulatory framework and a pool of top-notch global financial and professional institutions, Hong Kong also enjoys advantages in a few aspects, and the first aspect is green certification. Hong Kong is the most important testing and certification centre in the Asia-Pacific region and has an early start in the development of green certification. The Hong Kong Quality Assurance Agency referred to international standards long ago and launched the Green Financial Certification Scheme to provide certification services for the issuance of green bonds, and has built a good reputation.
The second aspect is promoting the disclosure of green information. Back in 2012, Hong Kong started issuing relevant guidelines to gradually standardize ESG (environmental, social and governance) disclosure requirements for listed companies. Hong Kong is also the first city in Asia to explicitly require all financial sector participants to implement climate-related financial disclosure in G20 countries by 2025. If GBA cities can introduce a green disclosure system and consolidate market resources with Hong Kong, a unified and open green database can be established to facilitate the flow of information across the border, which will help enhance the transparency of information on green finance in GBA, boost investor confidence and effectively match the demand and supply sides of green finance. The Government should consider leveraging these advantages to actively assist GBA in its transformation towards green development.
Moreover, concerning the Common Ground Taxonomy, which was updated in June this year, the establishment of a green classification framework for adoption by the local market can be explored. This will help solve the difficulties in identifying green investment and financing products, reduce the cost of green certification for cross-border transactions, and attract more foreign investors to participate in investment, thus bringing opportunities to Hong Kong.
Deputy President, I support the motion’s proposals such as enhancing the functions of the Steering Group, and I believe that we must deepen cooperation with GBA, expedite the development of the carbon emission market and nurture green professionals, so as to expedite the development of green finance in Hong Kong, consolidate Hong Kong’s position as a leading green finance centre in Asia and the world, and help our country in achieving the peak of carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060.
I so submit. Thank you, Deputy President.