How Hong Kong is Leading the Way in Green and Sustainable Finance

Check out this latest post and learn how Hong Kong is setting standards, closing data gaps, raising awareness, and fostering innovation to support the transition to a low-carbon economy. #greenfinance #sustainablefinance #hongkong #climatechange

How Hong Kong is Leading the Way in Green and Sustainable Finance
Photo by Simon Zhu / Unsplash

Did you know that Asia’s carbon emissions account for around half of the global emissions?

That means if we can move Asia onto a more sustainable growth path, it would make a huge difference for the planet.

But how do we do that?
How do we finance the transition to a low-carbon economy in a region that faces a steep trade-off between economic development and sustainability?

That’s where Hong Kong comes in. As an international financial centre and a green finance hub, Hong Kong is well-positioned to harness the power of finance to support Asia’s efforts in tackling climate change.

In this post, we will share with you some of the amazing initiatives Hong Kong is undertaking to enhance its green and sustainable finance ecosystem. You’ll learn how Hong Kong is:

  • Setting clear and consistent standards for sustainability disclosures and green classification
  • Closing data gaps and enhancing the capacity of the financial industry
  • Raising market awareness and leading by example as a responsible investor
  • Fostering public-private partnerships and leveraging technology to scale up transition finance

Whether you’re a financial professional, an environmental advocate, or a curious learner, you’ll find something valuable and inspiring in this post. So read on and discover how Hong Kong is building back greener and helping Asia address climate change.

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One of the key challenges in green and sustainable finance is the lack of common definitions and frameworks. Without them, investors may face confusion, inconsistency, and greenwashing risks.

That’s why Hong Kong is aligning its standards with global best practices. For example, Hong Kong aims to mandate climate-related disclosure across relevant sectors by 2025, following the recommendations of the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures. Hong Kong is also developing a local green classification framework to align with the Common Ground Taxonomy, which is a global initiative to harmonise green definitions.

By having clear and consistent standards, Hong Kong can enhance comparability and boost investor confidence, which in turn supports the scaling of sustainable finance.

Data and Capacity

Another challenge in green and sustainable finance is the lack of reliable and accessible data. Data are essential for a robust sustainable finance ecosystem, as they form the basis for accurate risk assessment and investment decisions.

To address this challenge, Hong Kong is launching a repository that serves as a centralised source of climate-related data. Hong Kong is also developing a questionnaire to facilitate sustainability reporting for non-listed companies. These efforts aim to provide consistent and comprehensive datasets for the public and the financial industry.

Moreover, Hong Kong is striving to enhance the capacity of the financial industry in green and sustainable finance. Besides locally focused efforts such as the Government’s Pilot Green and Sustainable Finance Capacity Building Support Scheme, Hong Kong is also partnering with various international organisations such as the International Finance Corporation to contribute to the region’s capacity building, knowledge exchange, and best practices.


A third challenge in green and sustainable finance is the lack of market awareness and demand. To overcome this challenge, The Hong Kong Monetary Authority (HKMA) is playing two key roles: one as an issuer and one as an investor.

As an issuer, HKMA is assisting the Government in issuing green bonds to create a demonstrative effect and to develop the local green bond market. So far, Hong Kong has issued around US$24 billion equivalent worth of green bonds, including the world’s first tokenised government green bond.

As an investor, HKMA is leading by example as a responsible investor. As the manager of the Exchange Fund, HKMA has set a target to achieve net-zero emissions for the Investment Portfolio by 2050. Hong Kong has also been growing its ESG and green assets across both public and private markets.

These efforts all contribute to raising market awareness and demand for green and sustainable finance in Hong Kong and the region.


A fourth and pressing challenge for Asia is transition. This region faces a steep transition pathway, with a real trade-off between economic development and sustainability. For some hard-to-abate sectors, which are also key economic players in this region, options to decarbonise may be limited.

To address this challenge, we need to be pragmatic and innovative. We need to scale up financing to support transition efforts, especially for those sectors that are less bankable or have higher risks. We also need to work together and make good use of technology.

That’s where blended finance and distributed ledger technology come in. Blended finance is a structure that brings together different sources of financing, such as philanthropy, government, or private sector funding, to participate in the same project, while allowing different levels of risk-taking. This way, we can catalyse private sector funding to support transition projects that would otherwise be unfeasible.

Distributed ledger technology is a technology that enables faster, cheaper, and more transparent transactions. By using this technology, we can enhance the efficiency and attractiveness of green and sustainable finance products. For example, Hong Kong issued its first tokenised green bond in February, which shortened the settlement process from five to one day.

Hong Kong is committed to exploring more innovative solutions to support the climate and transition financing needs in Hong Kong and the region.


Hong Kong is leading the way in green and sustainable finance in Asia. By setting clear standards, closing data gaps, enhancing capacity, raising awareness, and fostering innovation, Hong Kong is building a vibrant and competitive green and sustainable finance ecosystem that can support Asia’s efforts in tackling climate change.

If you’re interested in learning more about Hong Kong’s green and sustainable finance initiatives, you can check out the speech by Eddie Yue: Building back greener - addressing climate change in Asia that inspired this post.

P.S. What do you think of Hong Kong’s green and sustainable finance ecosystem? Do you have any questions or suggestions? Let us know in the comments below. We’d love to hear from you.

P.P.S. If you found this post valuable, please share it with your network. Together, we can make a difference for the planet. 🌍

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this blog are not necessarily those of the blog writer and his affiliations and are for informational purposes only.

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