Mr Victor Wong, Head of Sustainability Office at UOB Asset Management (top row, centre), speaking about the rising importance of environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations at the ‘Sustainability – the Key to Global Investing’ webinar.
UOB Asset Management (UOBAM) Brunei today kicked off the first of a series of sustainability-related webinars on the importance and impact of incorporating environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors into investments. Organised in collaboration with the Universiti Brunei Darussalam School of Business and Economics (UBDSBE), the webinars focus on raising awareness on how investors can take action through their actions and investments.
This is UBD’s first webinar series dedicated to ESG and sustainable investing. According to the Asian Development Bank Institute, ESG awareness in Brunei is still in its infancy stage1. As the younger generation deepens its understanding of global ESG issues such as climate change, UOBAM Brunei anticipates that they will help to drive the demand for sustainable investments either personally, through their connections or as they enter the workforce.
Mr. Victor Wong, Head of Sustainability Office, UOBAM, said, “With our more than three decades of investment expertise in Asia, UOBAM is committed to steering wealth to sustainable investments that create long-term value and positive impact for stakeholders. In line with the global push to achieve net-zero sustainability targets, we have seen growing investor interest and demand, in particular among the younger generation, in sustainable investing. Through our webinar series, we want to provide the public in Brunei with more in-depth understanding of ESG trends so that they can better navigate the complex and evolving ESG landscape. For example, they will learn about the different indicators for the evaluation of companies’ ESG performance. As we invest for both profit and purpose, we can help forge a sustainable future for all.”
Over the years, international initiatives, such as the Paris Agreement signed by 195 countries in 2015 to limit global warming to well below two degrees Celsius, have given rise to investor activism and awareness. As a result, corporates are facing increased pressure to adopt sustainability practices by environmentally- and socially-conscious investors who want to contribute to the United Nations (UN) Sustainable Development Goals. Examples of sustainability practices include making improvements in the areas of energy efficiency, resource conservation and waste management to reduce environmental impact. There is also greater emphasis on how a company is run, including its business ethics and shareholder protection practices.
In 2020, sustainable investment assets globally surpassed US$35 trillion, up from US$30.6 trillion in 20182 and which accounted for a third of total assets under management. By 2025, sustainable investment assets are expected to exceed US$50 trillion3.
As a signatory of the UN-supported Principles for Responsible Investment, UOBAM is committed to integrating ESG considerations into its investment practices. The UN PRI is recognised as the leading global network to promote sustainable investments.
The inaugural webinar, titled ‘Sustainability – the Key to Global Investing’, was moderated by Dr. Mohd Hairul Azrin Haji Besar, Deputy Dean (Academic) at Universiti Brunei Darussalam School of Business and Economics. The Guest of Honour of the event was Dr Joyce Teo Siew Yean, Assistant Vice Chancellor (Global Affairs). More than 180 UBD students, faculty members and the general public participated in the session.
For more information on the webinars and to register for future events, please visit www.sbe.ubd.edu.bn/UOBAM.
1Source: Global Sustainable Investment Review 2020, Global Sustainable Investment Alliance, http://www.gsi-alliance.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/GSIR-20201.pdf
2Source: ESG 2021 Midyear Outlook Report, Bloomberg Intelligence, 20 July 2021. For more information, please refer to https://www.bloomberg.com/company/press/esg-assets-rising-to-50-trillion-will-reshape-140-5-trillion-of-global-aum-by-2025-finds-bloomberg-intelligence/
3Source: Environmental, Social and Governance Investment, Asian Development Bank Institute, https://www.adb.org/sites/default/files/publication/610771/adbi-environmental-social-governance-investment-opportunities-risks-asia.pdf, 2020.