Synergies between the environment and finance are increasingly more obvious than ever as the financial sector is assisting in the transition towards the green economy in many diverse ways around the world, including Taiwan.

With investors already frenetically looking for greener and low-carbon investments, Taiwan Institute for Sustainable Energy (TAISE) joined hands with the French office in Taipei and the Centre for Corporate Sustainability to host the Round-table Discussion of 2018 International Climate Dialogue on Post-Paris Agreement on Nov. 1.

Held at Taishin Holding Building, this dialogue on Green Finance focused on the potential of green finance for contributing to sustainable development and the future development and collaborations in Taiwan’s green finance.

The international conference featured several foreign representatives, including Benoît Guidée, director of French office in Taipei, Nick Bridge, special representative for Climate Change, United Kingdom, Catherine Nettleton, representative of British Office Taipei, Nicholas Enersen, director of The Trade Council of Denmark, Taipei and various representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Financial Supervisory Commission Taiwan.

Striving Towards Energy Transformation

The 68 representatives and guests from various local and foreign companies were welcomed by Dr. Eugene Chien, board chairman of TAISE, who stressed that Taiwan is currently striving towards energy transformation.

The government aims to increase renewable energy by 20 percent in 2025 which composed of 6.7GW wind power and 20GW solar power, explained Chien. The investment into the industry is expected to reach NT$1.5 trillion, this will create new opportunities in infrastructure employment, and finance as a result of facing climate change, he continued.

Robert Barker, head of Sustainable Finance and Investment, Global Market Asia Pacific in BNP Paribas, also shared the financial risk factors that the finance industry should consider in facing climate change, and the respective remodeling of investment that should be taking place.

Taking BNP as an example, Barker said that the loan provided for sustainable investment in renewable energy has increased from 6.9 billion euro in 2014 to 12.3 billion euro in 2017.

Presentation by Nick Bridge, special representative for Climate Change of United Kingdom, shares United Kingdom’s activities and experiences in green finance.

Nick Bridge, special representative for Climate Change of United Kingdom, stated that the United Kingdom has proposed that in 2025, the greenhouse gas emission will reduce by 80 percent compare to 1990. This indicates that there will be an 11 percent growth in low carbon economy each year from 2015.

Bridge further stressed that green finance is a collaborative work which involves experts in finance, climate, policies and many other disciplines, working together in attracting investments into the economy.

A Collaborative Work

Nicholas Enersen added that the experience of how Denmark went through four major progressions in the country’s energy plan after oil crisis in the 1970s. In 2017, wind power generates 43.6 percent of the country’s energy.

The major progressions involved numerous strategies including: taxation implemented for pollution-intensive departments, research and development of green energy financing, feed-in tariff implemented by government, and sharing of profit with community to rise public acceptance, Enersen continued.

Bart Linssen, managing director of Enercon Taiwan Limited, highlighted some the examples in Germany and in Denmark where the public can participate. Linssen remarked that numerous multinational corporations such as Google and Philips purchase electricity with the local green energy providers through a Power Purchase Agreement; this would keep the benefits of green energy to the local community which ultimately lead to growth of the local financing market.

Brenda Hu, assistant director general from Department of Planning in Financial Supervisory Commission, noted that the financing for renewable energy has grown by 16 percent since September 2016. As of September 2018, there were 19 financial products related to green finance valued at NTD$49.4 billion at Taiwan Stock Exchange.

Since the establishment of the Paris Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals in 2015, the corporations have played critical roles in climate change actions. Renewable energy and green finance have particularly become the main focus in the Taiwan market in recent years.

The dialogue highlighted the future development of green finance from the perspectives of government departments, finance industry, energy industry and etc. The guests came from nine financial service companies, seven energy companies, and many other companies, 17 guests came from overseas. For the detailed discussions of the dialogue, please refer to the website of the event host – TAISE (http://taise.org.tw/).