Asian cities are significant contributors to climate change. Cities in the region are also hubs of economic activity, centers of financial capital and talent, and incubators of innovation and progress. The report offers frameworks, recommendations, and case studies to illustrate how cities could leverage their unique strengths and evolve their development models to concurrently pursue climate resilience, poverty reduction, and biodiversity protection goals.
At the COP27 meeting in Sharm El-Sheikh, climate negotiators laid out a plan to implement the global goal of limiting warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. The private sector must play a role in meeting climate targets and can build on that momentum. With this statement, Asian business leaders have committed to taking climate action and to safeguarding and managing nature sustainably.
The Council also conducted a survey (see box on the left below) to understand what drives corporate climate action in Asia, and what policies could accelerate decarbonization. See below for more on the key policy drivers we identified, and why we believe climate change should be a core part of the region’s economic growth strategy.
Climate change will have material impacts for corporations, particularly in Asia where physical and transition risks are significant. Accordingly, Asian companies have acknowledged the importance of sustainability and are now making commitments to reach net-zero carbon emissions within set timeframes.
But how are these commitments affecting their business strategies and changing their operations? And which policies could support an acceleration of their climate action?
To answer these questions, the Asia Business Council surveyed its members ahead of the COP27 conference. For the first time in 2022, a separate section was added to the Council’s Annual Survey with climate-related questions.
The survey results highlight the main drivers of Council members’ climate action and the strategies they prioritize for reaching net zero carbon emissions. It also reveals the key challenges they see for decarbonization and, crucially, the government policies that would help accelerate their climate action.
Biotech is especially important given the ageing population and economic ambitions of Hong Kong – and China as a whole. For the world, biotech protectionism will lead to more expensive treatments and greater health insecurity.
A decade ago, Asia’s millennials were optimistic the region would set aside conflicts and become more united to meet global challenges such as climate change. Today’s Generation Z, who grew up amid rising geopolitical tensions and major economic disruptions, are no longer so hopeful.
Much like carbon emissions, companies will soon be expected to monitor their impact on biodiversity. Measures to promote and preserve biodiversity will need to go beyond greenwashing practices like pledges to plant trees.
As Asian economies face recession worries, many are putting climate action on the back burner – but climate resilience goes hand in hand with economic stability. Setting ambitious energy and sustainability targets supports green growth.
The steady rise of AI technology has left governments, industries and institutions scrambling to catch up and establish rules of the road. As a knowledge-based economy, Hong Kong can lead the way in building a regulatory framework that limits the harmful impact of AI and maximises its benefits.
Finance can be unleashed as a force for good, to deliver social impact and bring economic windfalls for ordinary citizens, from youth advancement, financial literacy, and promotion of the arts and technology to climate change efforts.
As Asian economies face recession worries, many are putting climate action on the back burner – but climate resilience goes hand in hand with economic stability.