SINGAPORE: Financial institutions play an important role in directing capital flows towards sustainable development, Environment and Water Resources Minister Masagos Zulkifli said on Tuesday (22 Jan).
Speaking at a forum organised by Eco-Business and the United Nations Environment Programme, Mr Masagos added that the success of economies and businesses will depend on how well they manage the transition to a low carbon economy.
He added that he was encouraged to see growing numbers of investors who want to "do well" and "do good".
To date, more than S$2 billion of green bonds have been issued in Singapore by both local and foreign issuers.
One of them is Singapore-based Sindicatum Renewable Energy, which has issued a second tranche of green bonds to support renewable projects in the Philippines.
The market is set to grow, with an estimated US$200 billion of green investment needed annually from 2016 to 2030 in this region alone, according to Green Finance Opportunities in ASEAN, a report by DBS Bank and the UN Environment.
Mr Masagos also urged financial institutions to keep contributing to the development of new environmental, social and governance-related products “that the global economy will need, as it moves towards greater sustainability”.
Chief of UN Environment's resources and markets branch, Mr Steven Stone, said that “sustainable financing is at the heart of the sustainable development agenda”.
In Singapore, the “financial sector policymakers, regulators and market participants are taking steps toward building a more sustainable financial system”, he added.
Ms Esther An, chief sustainability officer at City Developments Limited said that with the global shift to a low carbon and resilient economy, "sustainable financing vehicles, be it bonds or loans, will have tremendous growth potential".
A survey by Standard Chartered Private Bank found that 64 per cent of investors in Singapore were highly motivated to do good while earning a profit.