The Hong Kong Green Finance Association ("HKGFA") announced the official launch of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macau Greater Bay Area Green Finance Alliance ("GBA-GFA") at the inaugural launch ceremony today. The Alliance aims to facilitate the greening of the Greater Bay Area.
The event brought together delegates and distinguished guests from the governments across the Greater Bay Area, as well as business leaders and academia. These included Xin Zhang, Party Member and Vice Governor of People's Government of Guangdong Province, and Paul Chan Mo-Po, Financial Secretary of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. Over 100 guests attended the physical launch event in Guangzhou, while over 3,500 guests also participated in the event via an online webinar.
In his opening remarks, Mr. Chan said: "Green finance is an important initiative of the central government. The Greater Bay Area Green Finance Alliance, therefore, is pivotal in promoting the green finance standards and certification in the Greater Bay Area. We are looking forward to working closely with the Alliance to maintain close collaboration with all cities in the Greater Bay Area, so as to jointly foster the development of green finance in the Area."
The GBA-GFA is a collaboration between the Hong Kong Green Finance Association (HKGFA), the Green Finance Committee of Guangdong Society for Finance and Banking (GDGFC), the Green Finance Committee of the Financial Society of Shenzhen Special Economic Zone (SZGFC), and the Macau Association of Banks. The Alliance aims to promote research and incubating green investments that will benefit the GBA by leveraging the vast green investment demand in Guangdong and green finance capacities in Hong Kong and Macau.
The Alliance is already supporting five green finance-related projects: the Green Building Project, Blockchain Solar Project, and Carbon Connect will be lead by Hong Kong, Research and Practical of Solid Waste Disposal will be led by Shenzhen and the Green Supply Chain Financing Action Guide will be led by Guangdong.
Collaborated with the "Hong Kong 2050 is Now" platform, the Green Building Project aims to decarbonize the Greater Bay Area and to maximize green finance opportunities in the building industry. The project is taking multi-pronged actions by conducting green building research, covering green building certification benchmarking and policy gap analysis with a carbon lens, and to develop green financing solutions, including areas in green development loans for green building, green financing for retrofits projects, green mortgages and more.
The Blockchain Solar project combines green energy policy and fintech solutions to deliver innovative funding structures and new classes of digital sustainable investments to facilitate the acceleration of smaller-scale solar energy projects in high-density urban areas.
The objective of "Carbon Connect" is to establish a standardized carbon marketplace for cross-border trading covering the Greater Bay Area and put investors interested in carbon trading on the same platform by connecting domestic and overseas carbon market trading channels. "Carbon Connect" allows global investors to enter China's carbon market more conveniently via the Greater Bay Area. Meanwhile, Hong Kong's well-established financial infrastructure can serve as a trading center for the "Carbon Connect".
Dr. Ma Jun, Chairman and President of HKGFA noted in his opening remarks: "The Greater Bay Area Green Finance Alliance is a joint initiative of Guangdong, Shenzhen, Hong Kong, and Macau to mobilize talent, technologies and financial resources for green finance innovation that can benefit the entire Greater Bay Area. The initial five project groups founded by the alliance in less than a year, which focus on the carbon market, green supply chains, green buildings, waste treatment, and blockchain application to green asset transactions, have already seen preliminary success. We hope that the alliance will continue to steer green innovation with the support of the governments across the border and fully leverage the professional knowledge and resources across all parties for better collaborations."
Green finance continues to be a critical focus for the Hong Kong S.A.R. government, where considerable efforts have been made in developing Hong Kong into one of the most dynamic and transparent green finance markets in the world.
The government announced plans in the 2020-2021 Budget Plan to issue green bonds totaling HK$66 billion within the next five years. Earlier in May 2020, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) and the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) also initiated the establishment of the Green and Sustainable Finance Cross-Agency Steering Group to co-ordinate the management of climate and environmental risks to the financial sector, accelerate the growth of green and sustainable finance in Hong Kong and support the Government's climate strategies. It will also facilitate regional cooperation, including in the Greater Bay Area.
Christopher HuiChing-yu, Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury of the Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region said: "Green finance in the Greater Bay Area is developing in leaps and bounds. The launch of the Alliance will further leverage advantages and consolidate resources among cities in the region, fostering collaboration on green finance with a view to developing the GBA into a quality living area and a cluster of world-class cities with international competitiveness. The Hong Kong Special Administrative Region Government will continue its efforts in consolidating and elevating Hong Kong's position as the green finance center in the GBA by supporting the investment, financing, and certification of green projects. Working in concert with the Alliance, we endeavor to create a vibrant green finance ecosystem in the area."
Wong Kam Sing, Secretary for the Environment of the Government of Hong Kong Special Administrative Region commented: "Guangdong, Hong Kong, and Macao are a closely connected region, where environmental qualities are interlinked and global climate change demands a coordinated response. The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region actively supports the major tasks involved in the development of ecological civilization in the Greater Bay Area, joining in the low carbon transformation and the building of a quality living area with a liveable civilization environment. I am pleased to witness the establishment of the Guangdong-Hong Kong-Macao Greater Bay Area Green Finance Alliance. Leveraging the region's strengths in financial resources and services, I look forward to working with the Alliance and relevant stakeholders to promote green finance and low carbon economy, in support of the notion that 'lucid waters and lush mountains are invaluable assets'."
Eddie Yue Wai-man, Chief Executive of Hong Kong Monetary Authority remarked: "The launch of the GBA Green Finance Alliance is a significant step forward in fostering closer cooperation on green finance in this open and economically vibrant region. Hong Kong will leverage its advantages as an international financial center and a leading green finance hub to support the sustainable development of the GBA. The HKMA will continue to work closely with other policymakers and the industry, especially under the Green and Sustainable Finance Cross-Agency Steering Group, to explore further cooperative initiatives and opportunities."
Ashley Ian Alder, Chief Executive Officer of Securities and Futures Commission of Hong Kong shared: "Environmental and climate risks pose serious strategic challenges and opportunities for businesses everywhere. To enable economies to mitigate and adapt to these long-term risks requires urgent, coordinated efforts from governments and financial regulators. The SFC is therefore pleased to participate in the launch of the GBA-GFA as an important initiative for significant collaboration across a region representing 12% of China's GDP."
Laura May-Lung Cha, Chairman of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing Limited commented: "Green finance will be a cornerstone of future global sustainability and a powerful engine of economic and social growth as we shape our post-COVID world. HKEX is fully committed to promoting sustainability, particularly environmental, social, and governance (ESG) stewardship among listed companies, and the development of financial products that underpin the global resiliency of financial markets. We are delighted to join the Alliance, which will act as an excellent platform for cross-agency collaboration in the pursuit of a better, more sustainable economy in the region."
Meanwhile, financial support guidelines for the development of the Greater Bay Area have been issued by the People's Bank of China, the China Banking and Insurance Regulatory Commission, the China Securities Regulatory Commission, and the State Administration of Foreign Exchange. One of the major measures in the guidelines is to facilitate collaboration on green finance in the Greater Bay Area. Policies such as establishing a refined green finance cooperation working mechanism and constructing a Guangzhou Futures Exchange in the near future aims to support Hong Kong to become a Greater Bay green finance hub.
All these initiatives underscore the efforts made by the governments in the Greater Bay Area in steering development in green finance and echo the importance of the establishment of the GBA-GFA.
Read more about the alliance.