On May 19th, 2021, Singapore’s Green Finance Industry Task Force (GFIT), an industry-led initiative convened by the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), issued a detailed implementation guide for climate-related disclosures by financial institutions (FIs) and a whitepaper on scaling green finance in the real estate, infrastructure, fund management and transition sectors. In addition, the GFIT has established a framework to help banks assess eligible green trade finance transactions and will launch a series of ESG-related capacity building workshops and e-learning modules from May 2021 to April 2022 for FIs and corporates.

In an announcement, Ms. Gillian Tan, Assistant Managing Director (Development and International) at the MAS, said:

“GFIT’s initiatives to enhance climate-related disclosures and strengthen green capabilities will enable financial institutions to effectively develop green solutions and align their portfolios towards facilitating Asia’s transition to a low carbon economy. These initiatives will also contribute to global efforts to achieve greater consistency and comparability in climate-related disclosures, as well as provide investors and market participants with the necessary information for climate risk analysis and investment decision-making.”

Continue reading for more details on each of these significant new developments.


Continue Reading Singapore Financial Regulator Announces Initiatives on Climate Disclosures, ESG Capacity Building and More

On May 7, 2021, in connection with the implementation of China’s Securities Law, which came into effect on March 1, 2020, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRCpublished consultation papers on amendments to the “Standards Concerning the Contents and Formats of Information Disclosure by Companies Offering Securities to the Public No.2 —

On May 4, 2021, the Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) released the details of its Green and Sustainable Finance Grant Scheme (GSF Grant Scheme), which will consolidate Hong Kong’s existing Pilot Bond Grant Scheme and Green Bond Grant Scheme into one new program. According to the Chief Executive of the HKMA, Mr. Eddie Yue:

“The global green bond market has grown from practically non-existent ten years ago to US$270 billion in 2020.  In Hong Kong, we have taken early and proactive steps to strengthen Hong Kong’s position as a regional green and sustainable finance hub, including the issuance of two rounds of Government green bonds since 2019 and the establishment of the Green and Sustainable Finance Cross-Agency Steering Group to coordinate cross-agency market development efforts.  The launch of a new [GSF] Grant Scheme to support green and sustainable bond issuance and lending will further enrich the green and sustainable finance ecosystem in Hong Kong.”

Continue reading for more details on the GSF Grant Scheme.


Continue Reading Hong Kong’s New Green And Sustainable Finance Grant Scheme Begins May 10

On April 30, 2021, Bank Negara Malaysia (BNM) published Malaysia’s national climate-focused sustainability taxonomy for the financial sector, the Climate Change and Principle-based Taxonomy (CCPT). The CCPT sets out five Guiding Principles (GPs) intended to help financial institutions (FIs) assess and categorize economic activities according to the extent to which they meet climate objectives and promote the transition to a low-carbon economy.

In this Blog Post, we discuss the scope and applicability of the CCPT, the five GPs and what this new national taxonomy could mean for Southeast Asia’s forthcoming regional sustainability taxonomy.


Continue Reading Malaysia Publishes Climate Change Taxonomy For Financial Institutions

On April 28, 2021, the Securities Commission Malaysia (SCM) updated the Malaysian Code on Corporate Governance (MCCG) to strengthen the corporate governance culture of Malaysia’s listed companies. According to SCM, in this first update since 2017, the MCCG “focuses on the role of the board and senior management in addressing sustainability risks and opportunities of the company”, among other topics. The SCM notes:

“The MCCG 2021 also addresses the urgent need for companies to manage [ESG] risks and opportunities, with the introduction of new best practices that emphasise the need for collective action by boards and senior management. The global commitment and acceleration of efforts to transition towards a net zero economy has resulted in demand for greater action on the part of corporates. The SC[M]’s review of sustainability statements by large listed companies found that some have begun to address climate-related risks but more can and needs to be done.”

In this Blog Post, we provide additional background on the MCCG and highlight ESG-related aspects of the 2021 update, as well as recent, similar efforts to highlight the connection between ESG management and good corporate governance in other Asian jurisdictions.


Continue Reading Malaysian Securities Regulator Incorporates ESG in Updated Corporate Governance Code

On April 16, 2021, the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong Limited (SEHK) issued a consultation paper (the “Consultation“) seeking public comment on proposed amendments to the SEHK’s Corporate Governance Code and Listing Rules intended to promote good corporate governance practices among listed companies and IPO applicants. Amidst the global surge in

On April 13, 2021, the Government of New Zealand announced the introduction of legislation that would make climate-related disclosures aligned with the Recommendations of the Task-Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures (TCFD) mandatory for certain financial services organizations, as well as all equity and debt issuers listed on the NZX. This mandatory reporting regime is both robust and broad – the first of its kind – and other countries around the world may soon follow suit.

The Government views the proposed law as a significant step toward realizing New Zealand’s ambitious climate agenda. According to Climate Change Minister James Shaw, “We simply cannot get to net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 unless the financial sector knows what impact their investments are having on the climate. This law will bring climate risks and resilience into the heart of financial and business decision making.”

We summarize key aspects of the proposed law in this Blog Post.


Continue Reading New Zealand Introduces Mandatory Climate Disclosure Law

On April 6, 2021, the Council of Experts Concerning the Follow-up of Japan’s Stewardship Code and Japan’s Corporate Governance Code (Council) published a consultation on proposed revisions to Japan’s Corporate Governance Code (Governance Code) and Guidelines for Investor and Company Engagement (Guidelines) intended to, among other things, increase attention to sustainability and ESG matters and promote diversity among Japan’s listed companies.

The Governance Code sets out the fundamental principles for effective corporate governance of listed companies in Japan, while the Guidelines provide agenda items for engagement that institutional investors and companies are expected to focus on. The proposed revisions to these two documents could significantly influence the state of ESG and diversity among Japan’s listed companies, with a key emphasis on sustainability-related disclosures.

In this Blog Post, we provide additional background on the Governance Code and the Guidelines, as well as details and analysis of the consultation proposals.


Continue Reading Japan to Promote ESG Disclosures and Diversity for Listed Companies

Amidst the global surge in interest around ESG investing, asset owners with diversified, global portfolios must understand the specific ESG risks that may apply to investments in different regions and industries, as well as the variety of approaches to ESG risk mitigation across public and private markets.

Southeast Asia is a particularly attractive region for

On March 30, 2021, finance ministers and central bank governors from members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) announced their support for an ASEAN Taxonomy of Sustainable Finance (ASEAN Taxonomy). Like the Taxonomy Regulation in the European Union, the ASEAN Taxonomy will serve as ASEAN’s common language for sustainable