President Tsai Ing-Wen said in her speech that the Net-Zero 2050 target is not only a challenge for the world, but also for Taiwan. She stressed that despite a number of tough challenges, it behooves Taiwan to boost its net-zero transformation by way of a four-pronged approach: first, research into new energy sources such as hydrogen and forward-looking green energy must be undertaken to maintain the energy transition; second, industrial transformation from process optimization to the use of renewable energy must be accelerated to meet changing market conditions; third, a transition to low-carbon public buildings and net-zero emission transportation is a necessary lifestyle change that must be adopted; and fourth, fairness is a must for public engagement in society transformation.
The summit also invited global experts to present an ESG development roadmap to corporate leaders and investors. Key speakers included Robert N. Stavins, A. J. Meyer Professor of Energy & Economic Development, John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, who spoke about his insights into post-COP26 climate policies, and Todd Cort, co-director at Yale Center for Business and the Environment, who elaborated on the carbon trading market after COP26. The two speeches were delivered online.
From the standpoint of financial companies, Wing Fung Financial Group chairman Sih-Kuan Chen pointed out that Climate Action has emerged as the most widespread global consensus of all time, and that companies need to integrate four “imperatives” into their net-zero strategies: compliance, optimization, reinvention and leadership. Wing Fung is committed to realizing net-zero emission goals from operations by 2030 and from the whole asset portfolio by 2050.
Ying-Chou Chen, head of Sustainability Services Group, Deloitte & Touche, said that there are two ways to cope with climate change: on the one hand by operational procedures and/or production facilities are modified to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, while, at the same time, energy efficiency is enhanced by developing new carbon reduction technologies, on the other hand, by taken precautionary measures to protect the enterprise from the impact of climate change in the future.
China Petrochemical Development Corporation (CPDC) chairman Ruey-Long Chen noted that in response to future industrial demand, the priority of the current existing green power supply should be to improve carbon output from the process side and upgrade existing equipment to reduce energy consumption. He further added that the amount of water vapor being used by the petrochemical industry is excessive, and that its use should be curtailed or even cut to zero.
Alex Araujo, fund manager of global equities at M&G Investment, mentioned that the influx of money into sustainability funds has led to an overvaluation of clean and renewable energy businesses, and, should the current boom falter, investors are likely to face huge losses.
Taiwan Depository & Clearing Corporation (TDCC) president Hsiu-Ming Lin pointed out that TDCC is the world’s first IR platform to provide ESG ratings of individual and institutional investors, a measure that has become highly valued by foreign investors. The platform has become one of the region’s key ESG data sources.
Taiwan Housing Group president Pei-Ye Peng said that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) act as the backbone of Taiwan’s economy, and what they can bring to the table is something we need to think about. Taiwan Housing is now promoting a 10-year tree-planting initiative, as a way of demonstrating to employees that the company they work for is operating with a long-term perspective.
Pension Fund Association chairperson Professor Li-Ling Wang noted that the ESG investment market has continued to expand and that, post pandemic, investors have been paying more attention to ESG. Over 90% of large institutional investors and pension funds have increased their ESG investments, showing the importance of ESG in future investing decisions.