Leaders in responsible investment call for more action on climate finance

17 July 2023
Director of Engagement Valerie Kwan spoke on investor stewardship and climate-related risks last week at the "Responsible Investment in Practice: Undertaking Stewardship with a Focus on Climate Change" webinar, co-organised by: AIGCC, Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI); Securities and Exchange Commission, Thailand (SEC Thailand); and United Nations (UN).

Thailand’s transition to a low-carbon economy will require greater investments with sustainability impact for which responsible capital markets are best-placed to provide.

To get there, SEC Thailand mobilized global financial leaders to virtually discuss the next steps. They focused on innovative practices to enhance stewardship of financing for long-term, sustainable value, complementary to private sector-led projects underway to reduce carbon emissions and reverse environmental damage.

The webinar Responsible Investment in Practice: Undertaking Stewardship with a Focus on Climate Change’ held on 17th July 2023 was co-organized by the United Nations (UN), the PRI initiative, Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC), and SEC Thailand to provide the fundamentals and best practices for effective stewardship to Thai market participants. In addition,
it also served as a forum for strategic coordination among leading institutional investors, financial firms, and public sector leaders to further engage on the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Mr. Thawatchai Pittayasophon, Deputy Secretary-General, Acting Secretary-General, the Securities and Exchange Commission, Thailand, said: “Climate change is one of the most significant global threats that could affect the financial system. SEC Thailand recognizes the urgency of this global issue and urges all stakeholders in the capital market, particularly asset owners and asset managers, to prioritize positive actions on climate change as they have the decision powers to invest for the transition and finance companies’ emissions reduction to drive change in the real economy. It is therefore utmost important that asset owners and asset managers understand the fundamental concept of ‘climate stewardship’. The on-going dialogue with investee companies is a powerful tool to encourage them to have effective oversight of climate-related risks that may affect the long-term value creation of the investors’ portfolios. We are delighted to partner with the UN, PRI and AIGCC in promoting climate stewardship among Thai capital market participants, and in accelerating Thailand’s progress towards SDGs and net-zero emission by 2065.”

Ms. Gita Sabharwal, United Nations Resident Coordinator in Thailand, added: “Capital markets have a huge influence on the economy and are one of the key drivers of sustainable growth in Thailand. Importantly, green investments are not only beneficial for the environment, but they also impact bottom lines positively in the medium to long term. Equally critical is investment stewardship. The UN comes into this equation by bringing to bear best available technologies and environmental practices combined with integrated policy advice.”

Mr. James Robertson, Head of Asia (ex-China & Japan), PRI, shared: “Following successful collaboration between the PRI, UN, and SEC Thailand in 2021 and 2022, we were delighted to continue this partnership in 2023 – and to welcome AIGCC as a co-organiser – to foster knowledge sharing and capacity building on responsible investment themes for institutional investors and capital market participants in Thailand. The event this year focused on stewardship, and the positive impact this crucial lever for investors can have in mitigating the systemic risk posed by climate change. We hope this session provided a valuable learning opportunity for delegates at all stages of RI adoption and we look forward to further collaborative opportunities with these partners.”

Ms. Valerie Kwan, Director of Engagement, Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC), said: “Stewardship models have rapidly evolved over the years, and the role of investors have changed alongside them. The pace of change is only accelerating to meet the urgent needs of decarbonising the global economy. Climate risk is investment risk. Now, much more urgent action is needed to align with a 1.5°C future. We are delighted to participate in the knowledge sharing on climate stewardship and to discuss the various tools and approaches that are available in the investment ecosystem for institutional investors in Thailand to consider. We hope that the Responsible Investment in Practice forum has provided insights on approaches that would be most impactful for the Thai market and we look forward to participating in similar dialogues in the future.”