- More investors around the world are pivoting towards a focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in the wake of climate change
- Many Asian companies have realised that sustainable investing drives long-term financial performance while creating a positive impact on the environment and society
- Investment managers are banking on the benefits of ESG investing by allocating capital sustainably to create long-term value for investors
The latest in the Invest in Impact series contributed by Endowus and UOBAM (published 9 May 2021 in the Sunday Times) titled “Investing for Good takes root” noted that more investors around the world are pivoting towards a focus on environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors in the wake of worsening climate change.
For our part, our government had launched the Singapore Green Plan 2030 in February to navigate the country’s path towards a more sustainable future over the next decade with an array of initiatives to transform Singapore into a green finance hub for the region.
The government’s issuance of green bonds also aims at promoting Singapore’s role as a nexus for infrastructure financing with the potential to deepen market liquidity for green bonds.
UOBAM CEO Thio Boon Kiat noted that such efforts have “catalysed the adoption of sustainability practices” by many Asian companies who “have realised that sustainable investing also drives long-term financial performance while simultaneously creating a positive impact on the environment and society.”
What is encouraging is that more in the financial sector are heeding the call. They see the benefits of investing in ESG.
Mr Victor Wong, head of UOB Asset Management (UOBAM) sustainability office noted in the article, “Large asset owners in Asia, including pension funds and insurance companies, have made their own commitments to prioritising sustainability, and some have also made net-zero commitments.”
He added that investment managers are also banking on the benefits of ESG investing by allocating capital sustainably to create long-term value for investors, enabling them to invest for both profit and purpose.
Endowus chairman and CEO Sam Rhee has noticed a greater awareness and preference for ESG investing through surveys conducted by the firm, as well as client interactions. “It’s important to be able to invest efficiently in great companies that adopt sustainability and ESG practices and this will lead to good returns over the long run for investors,” he said.
Endowus had launched multi-asset ESG investing portfolios in March and is the first in Singapore to allow retail investors to participate through their Central Provident Fund (CPF) Ordinary account savings and the Supplementary Retirement Scheme.