UOB chief champions rise of sustainable financing

UOB chief champions rise of sustainable financing

Banks can play a major role in helping clients achieve greener goals

Tan Choon Hin, president and CEO of UOB Thailand, addresses the conference on
Tan Choon Hin, president and CEO of UOB Thailand, addresses the conference on "Unlocking the Power of Sustainable Finance to Drive a Greener Future". (Photo: Wichan Charoenkiatpakul)

United Overseas Bank (UOB) has developed green frameworks to provide companies with simplified access to green and sustainable financing so that they can build resilient businesses, said Tan Choon Hin, president and CEO of UOB Thailand.

In line with Thailand’s goal to combat climate change through its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 40% by 2030 and achieve net-zero emissions by 2065, UOB Thailand recognises the financial sector plays a vital role in driving the country’s transition towards a low-carbon economy.

“At UOB, we are dedicated to driving the region’s transition to a net zero economy through innovative financing solutions across a wide range of industry value chains,” Mr Tan said during a speech entitled “Unlocking the Power of Sustainable Finance to Drive a Greener Future” at the Bangkok Post ESG Conference 2023 on Wednesday.

With 12 gold-class awards for corporate ESG disclosure, Thai companies are making a significant impact on the global scene, he said.

On the roadmap for a greener Thailand, the country’s plan includes having electric vehicles make up 30% of all vehicles produced by 2030, generating 20% of electricity from renewables by 2036, and having 50% of power generation from renewables by 2050.

To achieve net zero, collaboration is needed from all parties including the government, private sector, regulatory agencies, financial sector, as well as individuals.

Thai companies’ ESG efforts are also gaining international recognition. Many have been included in S&P Global’s Sustainability Yearbook 2023 and are committing to achieving net-zero emissions by 2050, showcasing their dedication to sustainability.

Mr Tan said the banking industry also has a role in addressing climate change. Banks should consider key concepts including climate risk management and net zero portfolio alignment.

The former involves identifying and mitigating risks related to climate change within banks’ portfolios.

This requires the development of environmental risk frameworks, conducting climate-related stress testing and assessing vulnerability to transition and physical risks.

Under net zero portfolio alignment, banks should focus on aligning their financing and investment activities with the goal of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions, he said.

Mr Tan said UOB Thailand is paying considerable attention to sustainability and it is the bank’s core strategy.

Going in this direction, the bank creates value beyond just financial metrics by integrating sustainability into its business practices.

UOB strongly believes that sustainability should be at the core of its strategy, and that it revolves around four main pillars.

First, the bank will drive growth sustainably. It creates value beyond just financial metrics by integrating sustainability into its business practices.

Second, UOB keeps its customers at the centre, offering products and services that empower them to make a positive impact on the world.

Third, the bank wants to develop professionals of principle who can navigate the complex landscape of sustainable finance to foster a culture of integrity, diversity and inclusion.

Finally, it upholds corporate responsibility by giving back to the communities it serves through various initiatives.

Mr Tan said UOB announced its Net Zero commitment last October, setting aggressive, science-based targets for 2050.

As a result, the bank has prioritised six key sectors that play a crucial role in decarbonisation pathways.

These include energy, which encompasses power, automotive, and the oil and gas sectors; and the built environment, which includes the real estate, construction and steel sectors.

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