Catalysing Finance for Sustainable Development

Today’s financial system is not fit for purpose.

As inequality increases across the world and crisis after crisis envelop the financial sector, it is increasingly clear the financial system we rely upon is weak, inefficient and driven by capitalist values that simply do not serve the needs of the real economy and society as a whole.

But it is not irreparable.

Ultimately, the financial system is only a tool, and it is up to us to harness it to serve as an engine in the global economy’s transitions toward sustainable development. As an international financial center, Hong Kong needs to be a part of this transition and is uniquely positioned to lead. This is also in line with the overall policy environment where China is making major strides in green finance.

Whilst the gaps are huge, RS Group hopes to play its part in this transition by developing the “Sustainable Finance Initiative” (SFI) whose mission is to mobilise private capital for positive impact, and starting a movement that will drive the rest of the ecosystem. It is a dedicated initiative to advocate sustainable finance in Hong Kong by developing a knowledge and convening platform for investors and other stakeholders to connect, learn and take collective actions. The vision is to build up an engaged and connected local community of actors, act as an informed voice, demonstrate investor demand, and ultimately drive more private capital towards impact.

We began laying the groundwork for the initiative with a “State of Play” survey this August, to ensure we understood the current state of play of sustainable finance in Hong Kong, including market motivations, drivers, and perceived barriers to growth. The response from the nearly 240 individuals across 6 stakeholders groups clearly confirms a need and opportunity for Hong Kong to transition to a more sustainable financial system:

o   Nearly 90% of respondents believe Hong Kong is “behind” or “reactive” compared with other financial centres.

o   75% believe sustainable finance is important for Hong Kong’s future.

o   The road ahead remains challenging, with almost 55% of respondents citing “lack of market awareness and understanding”, “perceived concessionary financial returns” and “lack of enabling government policies/regulaton as a key challenge as significant barriers to growing the Hong Kong sustainable finance market.

o  We are encouraged to see 90% of the participants wish to “maintain their current activity levels” or “become more active in the future” in the sustainable finance field.

These trends leave us hopeful that Hong Kong is ready to take action in transitioning to a more sustainable financial system. Now is the time for all of us to come together and make this a reality.

We are delighted to release SFI’s inaugural survey report, “Mapping Sustainable Finance in Hong Kong”. We invite you to download our report and share your feedback with us and embark on this exciting journey together!