Millennials and private sector seen driving growth of 'sustainable finance'

Cathy Yang, ABS-CBN News

Posted at May 22 2019 05:38 PM | Updated as of May 23 2019 12:51 AM

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MANILA - (UPDATE) Private companies and millennials are driving the growth of financial products geared towards environmental sustainability and social responsibility, the head of a regional banking giant said Wednesday.

ANZ Philippines CEO Anna Green said that 5 years ago, ideas about sustainability were largely underappreciated among Philippine companies.

She said in annual corporate reports, sustainability merited just 1 page or just 1 paragraph.


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But recently the private sector has been leading the way in looking for projects that meet the standards of sustainability.

More Philippine companies are getting in on the wave of sustainability financing, as seen by the recent green bond issuances.

"The green bonds that have been issued here, so far, that's been driven by the private sector," Green said in an exclusive interview with ANC's The Boss.

She added that millennials are also looking to spend more money on "doing things for the planet, for the globe."

"What we know for sure is that generation is very interested in where they spend their money, and they care very much about spending money in alignment with their own value system," Green said.

Among the areas where sustainable finance can make a difference are green energy, clean transport and infrastructure.

She said that the government should consider a "sustainable finance approach" to its massive infrastructure push.

Sustainable finance is growing not just in the Philippines, but also across Asia, Green said.

"There's a much deeper investor market now in Asia that's interested in investing in sustainable projects."

A record $247 billion in sustainability-themed debt instruments were issued globally in 2018, according to a Bloomberg research.