Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan Mo-po today met with Financial Services Minister Michael D’Arcy in Dublin to discuss ramping up both economies’ involvement in the rapidly growing area of green finance.
Ireland and Hong Kong are both making big pushes to establish globally recognised bases for green finance and Friday’s meeting was hosted by Finance Green Ireland, a committee of public and private sector interests covering the low-carbon and investment sectors.
Secretary Chan took part in discussions about how Ireland and Hong Kong can position themselves to attract and deploy the significant sums of domestic and international capital that are needed to invest in global decarbonisation efforts.
Sustainable Nation Ireland, supported by the Department of Finance, set up the Finance Green Committee to promote Irish green finance activity and initiatives.
Green finance is defined as finance that delivers environmental benefits in the context of sustainable development, such as action on climate change.
Sustainable Nation is mandated in the Government’s IFS 2020 strategy with positioning and promoting Ireland as a green finance hub.
This year has been a breakthrough year globally with the value of green bonds exceeding $155 billion in 2017, up from $82 billion in 2016. There is an estimated €28BN in green finance activities underway in Ireland.
Dublin and Hong Kong both are founding members of the G7-supported United Nations Financial Centres for Sustainability (FC4S) global network, set up last year.
The FC4S promotes strategic action in their financial centres and works with city, regional, national and international policymakers to build positive conditions for green finance. Stephen Nolan, CEO of Sustainable Nation, is a member of the network’s Steering group as is Ben McQuhae, Chairman of Hong Kong’s Green Finance Task Force.
Sustainable Nation Ireland and the green finance industry in Hong Kong are exploring opportunities to collaborate on green finance matters of mutual interest.
Hong Kong has an ambition to be Asia’s premier green finance hub. Earlier this year it announced plans for a green bond issuance programme with a borrowing ceiling of HKD100 billion (about US$12.8 billion or €10.9 billion equivalent) and a Green Bond Grant Scheme to subsidise eligible green bond issuers on using the local Green Finance Certification Scheme, as part of its budget for 2018/19, in a bid “to demonstrate the government’s commitment to promoting green finance”.
The scale of the programme makes Hong Kong’s the largest sovereign green bond issuance programme in the world.
Minister of State for Financial Services, Michael D’Arcy, said:
“Ireland was the first country in 2012 to recognise the importance of the green finance agenda. As a result, today we have €28bn of Green Finance activity already and a thriving cluster of activity covering asset management, domiciling and the listing of green bonds.
“Today, together with Hong Kong and other financial centres, Ireland is taking a leadership role on this agenda. I look forward to the discussion with Secretary Chan, learning more about Hong Kong’s leadership credentials in this area and exploring areas of possible collaboration.”
Hong Kong’s Financial Secretary Paul Chan, said:
“With a sound legal and regulatory system, well-developed capital markets underpinned by our robust market infrastructure, and a wealth of financial intermediaries and talent, Hong Kong is well-equipped to develop green finance conducive to sustainable development.
“We are gearing up to promote Hong Kong as a regional green finance hub and welcome international collaboration. That is why I look forward to the development of important relationships between Hong Kong and Ireland in this aspect.”
Commenting, Stephen Nolan, CEO of Sustainable Nation Ireland, said:
“We are delighted to welcome Financial Secretary Chan to Ireland. Green finance is taking centre-stage in the world’s financial capitals and we look forward to working with our Hong Kong colleagues in advancing this vital agenda.”
Commenting, Ben McQuhae, member of the preparatory committee of the Hong Kong Green Finance Association, said:
“Mobilising green capital at speed and scale will require effective collaboration between international financial centres. We welcome the opportunity to work with Sustainable Nation Ireland in the near future on green finance matters of mutual interest.”
Front line (L to R):Stephen Nolan, Sustainable Nation Ireland; Ruth Kent, Brookfield Renewables; Paul Chan, Hong Kong Financial Secretary; Michael D’Arcy, Irish Minister for Financial Services & Insurance; Shirley Lam, Special Representative for HK to the European Union
Back line (L to R): Rose O’Donovan, AIB; Mike Hayes; KPMG; Peter Stapleton, Maples & Calder; Teresa O’Flynn, Blackrock