The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) of Thailand and the World Bank jointly organized an online knowledge sharing seminar on Sustainable Investments and Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) as part of SEC’s efforts to promote the development of sustainable capital markets and greening the financial system in Thailand.
Participants including institutional investors such as the Government Pension Fund (GPF), financial regulators and technical staff participated in the seminar to discuss approaches and frameworks that Thai institutional investors can adopt to integrate ESG in their investment decisions.
Sustainability is a top priority for the Thai SEC and the World Bank. Proactive management of ESG issues offer attractive opportunities to local institutional investors in countries like Thailand to actively contribute to the national sustainable development policies and goals of their respective countries, while enhancing their understanding of a broader range of long-term risks and sustainability-related issues.
“It is time to rebuild our economy in a more equitable and greener way. For this to happen, we all must act and do something now,” said Ruenvadee Suwanmongkol, Secretary General of the Securities Exchange Commission during the opening address. “Investors can play an important role as a key driver to increase the demand for economic activity that creates value for humankind and the environment which also generates competitive return.”
Since December 2019, the World Bank has engaged with the GPF on incorporating ESG factors into their pension fund investment strategies. Dr. Srikanya Yathip, Secretary General from the Government Pension Fund Thailand said, “Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, social issues are coming more to the forefront. With the experience we have on ESG investing we look forward to sharing what we have learned with stakeholders and the industry.”
The World Bank, which has extensive experience in supporting emerging markets in the development of sustainable financial markets led the discussion about how investors across the world are incorporating ESG criteria in investment management, whether to enhance the overall risk-adjusted return of a financial asset or portfolio, or to embed a meaningful environmental or social impact objective to a given investment instrument or strategy.
Katie Schmitz Eulitt, Director of Investor Outreach at the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board (SASB), presented what ESG issues investors generally consider relevant across industry sectors. Dirk Meuleman, CEO of Phenix Capital, provided a market outlook for the growing impact investing space and what strategies and sectors have been gaining attention in the recent past.
“It is an honor to work with the Thai SEC to shape the dialogue on ESG between market participants in Thailand,” said Birgit Hansl, World Bank Country Manager for Thailand. “We look forward to leveraging our technical expertise and convening power to help financial regulators and the Ministry of Finance in Thailand align social and environmental goals with financial objectives.”
Thailand joined the World Bank as the 47th member on May 3, 1949. For more than 70 years, the World Bank and Thailand have closely engaged in several development areas focusing on key economic and social reforms to end poverty and boost shared prosperity, including sustainable investments and ESG through financing, technical assistance and advisory services.