Level Up Green Bonds to Close Gaps in Sustainable Infra Financing

The issuance of green bonds has become urgent as climate change starts to impact economic growth, forcing the need to ensure more sustainable infrastructure development
Exhibit about rainforest and wildlife conservation at Friends Future Factory, January 16, 2023. Kiripost/Siv Channa
Exhibit about rainforest and wildlife conservation at Friends Future Factory, January 16, 2023. Kiripost/Siv Channa

Funds need to be mobilised urgently and at scale to fill in the “massive gaps” in green infrastructure financing, as more than 32 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) in ASEAN is likely to dissipate under the “high emissions scenario” by 2100.

This is aside from developing Asia’s potential loss of up to 24 percent of its GDP due to climate change.

Kosintr Puongsophol, financial sector specialist of Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, who revealed this, said fund mobilisation can be achieved in four ways.

The securities markets, by way of green and other thematic bond issuance, is one of them, he pointed out, adding that financial institutions can also play a critical role in mainstreaming climate finance.

Another way is by promoting local knowledge and talent, as well as strengthening collaboration with international development partners to promote the development of a sustainable finance ecosystem to facilitate fund mobilisation.

Puongsophol was speaking at ‘The potentials of investing in Cambodia sustainable bond’ workshop, jointly organised by ADB, Ministry of Environment and the Securities and Exchange Regulator of Cambodia (SERC).

The workshop was aimed at disseminating information on the benefits of issuing and investing in sustainable bonds in Cambodia.

Sou Socheat, director-general of SERC, said the issuance of and investment in sustainable bonds are a testament to the people’s commitment to give back to the community.

Because Cambodia is in the early stages of sustainable development and the number of investors is “relatively small”, he urged potential investors to seize this opportunity to invest in sustainable bonds.

He added that the issuance of sustainable bonds would receive technical assistance from key development partners, such as ADB.

Green bonds have been issued by real estate firm Golden Tree Co Ltd on Cambodia Securities Exchange (CSX), the sole issuer so far for the country, raising about $1.5 million early this year.

Meanwhile, Sum Thy, deputy director-general of the General Directorate of Policy and Strategy, said as Cambodia is a developing country, it is more vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

“We cannot increase our climate resilience without investing in climate change adaptation. The support of international and development partners is essential to climate change mitigation,” he commented.

He urged investors to see the value and opportunities of investing in sustainable development and have a long-term perspective.