What's driving Corporate ESG in China?

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In today's podcast, we talk to two private sector experts working on the topic of corporate ESG - which refers to corporate policies and performance on the environment, sustainability, and governance. In the first part of the episode, we focus on the policies that have driven companies in China towards greater emphasis of ESG, and which companies are working most seriously on the topic of ESG. We discuss the process of certifying the first project in China under a new international ESG standard for infrastructure. And we close by examining what's next for ESG in China.

Our first guest is Dang Anqi. Anqi is an ESG and sustainable investment analyst at Allianz France. She is leading the climate-related financial disclosure and the Sciences Based Targets Initiative at Allianz Investment Management. Her report on sustainable investment won the International Climate Reporting Awards in 2019. (Link: https://www.allianz.fr/content/dam/onemarketing/azfr/common/marque/pdf/BROCH_AZ_AIM_REPORT-2020-EXE_1507.pdf.)

Our second guest is Tracy Li, senior manager at SGS Certification and Business Enhancement. SGS is a multinational company headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland which provides inspection, verification, testing and certification services. SGS China was established in 1991 with its head office in Beijing, and now has 78 branches in China, and over 15,000 employees.

This episode could almost serve as a reference document to the topic of ESG in China, and at points there are a lot of laws and acronyms mentioned in the episode. Here are a few of the key resources you may want to have in front of you to keep up.

2019 Climate Bonds Initiative report on China's green bond market: https://www.climatebonds.net/resources/reports/china-green-bond-market-2019-research-report

Major regulator milestones mentioned:

In 2016, the People's Bank of China and other ministries issued the Guidelines on Establishing a Green Financial System: https://greenfinanceplatform.org/financial-measures-database/chinas-guidelines-establishing-green-financial-system

In 2018, the China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) issued a directive concerning ESG disclosure: https://www.globalelr.com/2018/02/china-mandates-esg-disclosures-for-listed-companies-and-bond-issuers/

In 2018, the Asset Management Association of China issued the Green Investment Guidelines: https://greenfinanceplatform.org/financial-measures-database/chinas-green-investment-guidelines

International ESG standards mentioned:

Aluminum Stewardship Initiative (ASI): https://aluminium-stewardship.org/

Alliance for Water Stewardship (AWS): https://a4ws.org/

The Sustainable and Resilient Infrastructure (SuRe) standard: https://www.sure-standard.org/

GIB stands for Global Infrastructure Basel (https://gib-foundation.org/), which manages the SuRe standard.

(Disclosure: In his day-job with GIZ, Anders Hove has worked with SGS China in completing the first SuRe project certification, under the Sustainable Infrastructure Alliance.)

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