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ClientEarth Communications

30th June 2023

ClientEarth Engagement with Media on Sustainable Finance and Greenwashing Risks

Singapore – ClientEarth was invited to present on our recent guide, "Greenwashing and how to avoid it: An introductory guide for Asia's finance industry", during a media tour organised by Asia Research and Engagement (ARE) from 19 to 22 June 2023.

As the chosen venue for the media tour, Singapore has grown as a green finance hub with many significant green finance announcements in recent months and years. The primary objective of this tour was to facilitate meaningful connections between finance journalists across Asia and key stakeholders in Singapore's finance industry, including executives, policymakers, and other leaders.

ClientEarth’s Legal Consultant Sean D. Tseng was invited to speak at the Singapore Exchange (SGX) Centre, alongside co-author of the guide Anjali Visawamohanan from Asia Investor Group on Climate Change (AIGCC) and Timothy Goh, Partner at Dechert LLP . Speaking on the second day of the media tour, their address was preceded by a presentation by Managing Director, Head of Sustainability and Sustainable Finance, Herry Cho, from SGX Group. Herry spoke on the role that an exchange can play in driving the transition to a low carbon economy.

The media tour was attended by members of the regional media. Sean was pleased by the opportunity to share the stage at SGX and reiterate the critical role that sustainable finance plays in enabling the green transition. During the presentation, Sean emphasised that greenwashing has the potential to impede this transition by distorting the financial markets and undermine the effective allocation of capital.

Sean shared with the media the commercial drivers for greenwashing in the finance sector, and how these can have both company-level and systemic impacts. Another key aspect covered was the rise in enforcement action against greenwashing around the world, with a variety of regulators and other stakeholders commencing action against companies they consider to be misleading the market.

Sean was also on hand to answer incisive questions from the media. As echoed by all panellists, the difficulty in regulating greenwashing is partly because of its lack of a single definition and its evolving nature. Regulation to tackle greenwashing must therefore be sufficiently flexible, adapting to the varying ways in which it now arises and will arise. This does not, in the meantime, prevent existing areas of law and regulation from being deployed to regulate and penalise such conduct.

The theme of the media tour was “Catalysing Decarbonisation in Asia: Singapore’s Financing Solutions” engaged the media on topics such as DBS Bank’s path to net zero, what decarbonisation means for investors, insights into sustainable investment, investor engagement at annual shareholders’ meetings, achieving net zero in Asian real estate, blended finance for energy investment and scaling alternative proteins for decarbonisation in Asia.