Asian issuers show global and regional leadership in embrace of sustainability agenda.
Asian issuers are assigning high levels of importance to environmental and social issues this year, putting them ahead of their global peers and investors in the region.
Some 58% of Asian issuers say that these issues are very important to their organisation, which is the highest percentage among issuers of any region and a slight increase (56%) on the those who said the same last year. By comparison, 32% of Asian investors said these issues are very important to them.
What’s more, almost all Asian issuers (96%) say they have increased their focus and attention on environmental issues, social issues or both in the past 12 months, with 60% of them – a regional high – focusing on environmental issues specifically.
For their part, some 72% of Asian investors have also increased their attention to these issues from last year, indicating the strength of momentum supporting sustainable economic change in the region.
Yet this year, issuers in particular seem to be driving Asia’s sustainability agenda, and leading investors on some key measures. For example, some 12% of Asian issuers have already made a net zero commitment and 76% (notably higher that the global average of 67%) say they are working towards making one. In contrast, some 9% and 25% of the region’s investors, respectively, say the same.
By country, some 13% of China issuers, and 10% and 6% of issuers in Singapore and Hong Kong SAR, respectively, say they have already made commitments. By comparison, 8% of Singapore investors, 6% of China investors and 4% of investors in Hong Kong SAR say the same.
Together with this, more than three quarters of Asian issuers (led by 79% of China issuers) say they expect their company to actively seek advice on green, social or sustainability issues in relation to capital markets transactions in the next 12 months – the highest percentage of any region.
So what’s driving issuers’ embrace of these issues?
China’s powerful policy push on developing a greener more sustainable economy has been an important catalyst, influencing activity across the region. But especially important this year for issuers has been key stakeholder groups.
Indeed, pressure from employees (55% - up from 13% last year) and customers (48% - up from 28%) are the top two reasons why Asian issuers care about these issues. In stark contrast, less than 5% of Americas issuers see these issues as important reasons to care, significantly lower than the percentages last year.