In a first for Asia since the 2008 global financial crisis, the UN-supported Principles of Responsible Investment held its annual conference in Singapore this year.
Celebrating its 10th anniversary, the PRI in Person conference discussed topics across the environmental, social and governance investment spectrum -- from green finance and weather-proofing portfolios to ESG guidelines for reporting by companies and sustainability-focused credit ratings.
The star-studded three-day conference was attended by Singapore Exchange officials, asset management firms and other institutional investors from around the world.
Here are the best quotes heard during the panel discussions and other interactions:
'The problem with greenfield infrastructure, particularly in relation to ESG, is that in the countries where they first build the infrastructure, it has to be really cheap. So there is a lot of political, and also commercial, use of non-clean technologies.' -- Hiromichi Mizuno, executive managing director and CIO, GPIF
'The United States and Asia are similar when it comes to having conversations about ESG. They only want to look at how it affects their ability to make money or lose it.' -- Joy Frascinella, head of PR, PRI
'In Asia, ESG is merely a box ticking exercise for now.' -- Kevin Gibson, CIO, Eastspring Investments
'We are using proceeds from green bonds to invest in renewable energy, energy efficiency, solar, wind and biomass projects in India. There's also talk of "blue bonds" to invest in the water sector.' -- Preeti Sinha, senior president & global convenor, YES Institute
'There is a talk of green finance being a quiet revolution.' -- Jonathan Rogers, founder & CEO, Ostinato Associates
'If China doesn’t follow ESG regulations, it won’t matter if other countries follow or not. The impact of China on the region is too large.' -- Fiona Reynolds, managing director, PRI
'Traditionally, state-owned enterprises in China have ignored water scarcity risks because they have always expected the government to provide for them. But for the past two years, they’ve been asking about how to plan better for the future because the risks are imminent.'-- Debra Tan, director, China Water Risk