Roundup: MAS earmarks $26mn in push for sustainable finance workforce

April 29, 2024|Written by Ingrid Walker|Securities & Exchange Commission, Central Bank of Kenya, Reserve Bank of India

Singapore invests in green finance workforce; India widens foreign investor access to its sovereign green bond portfolio; Kenya opens consultation on its green taxonomy plus more in this week’s roundup.

Singapore invests in sustainable finance workforce

The Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS) has set aside US$25.7mn to improve sustainable finance skills in the country’s financial sector over the next three years.

The project aims to equip its workforce with the skills needed to capture opportunities in the growing sustainable finance market in the region, which is projected to reach around $3tn over the next decade, according to a KPMG study.

“If Singapore is to be Asia’s leading sustainable finance hub, we must equip our workforce to be ahead of complex and fast-evolving sustainable-finance related issues and opportunities,” said Alvin Tan, Singapore government minister and MAS board member.

The initiative is part of the Sustainable Finance Jobs Transformation Map and was co-launched by MAS, the Institute of Banking and Finance and Workforce Singapore.

India expands foreign investor access to sovereign green bonds to boost climate finance

Foreign investors operating within India’s international financial services centres will soon have the opportunity to invest directly in the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) sovereign green bond programme.

The move aims to accelerate India’s green initiatives by widening the role for foreign investment in the nation’s already sizable sovereign green bond market, which has raised $4.4bn since its inception in January 2023.

Previously, only foreign portfolio investors registered with the Securities and Exchange Board of India could invest in the nation’s sovereign green bonds.

Separately, the RBI’s 2024 monetary policy report has emphasised the increasing threat that climate change poses to the transmission of monetary policy and national economic growth.

Long-term economic output could be 9% lower by 2050 due to the physical risks of climate change, warns the report, and frequent climate-induced inflation shocks will likely require tighter monetary policy.

Kenya releases taxonomy to combat greenwashing and unlock new finance

The Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) has released its draft green taxonomy to combat greenwashing and unlock investment opportunities in sustainable assets.

The taxonomy defines which assets, economic activities and sectors are eligible to be considered sustainable in line with international best practices as well as Kenya’s national priorities. It has been benchmarked against taxonomies produced by the EU and South Africa.

The CBK said the taxonomy will serve as a reference for Kenya’s transition to a greener economy and increase the consistency of green finance flows. It will also align green products and financial allocations with internationally recognised standards.

As well as providing greater clarity and certainty for the financial sector, the CBK said the proposed regulation “can be used by investors, issuers and other financial sector participants to track, monitor and demonstrate the credentials of their green activities transparently and efficiently”.

The CBK has invited stakeholders to give comments on the draft by 11 June 2024.

US lawmakers challenge SEC’s climate disclosure rule

The new climate disclosure rule from the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) is facing another roadblock as 32 Republican senators and Democrat Joe Manchin co-sponsored a resolution seeking to overturn it.

Manchin, who has a large stake in the coal industry and is known for protecting the sector’s interests, has spoken out against the SEC’s recent decision to require publicly traded companies to disclose their greenhouse gas emissions. According to Manchin, it is “entirely overreaching, fiscally irresponsible, and simply un-American”.

The SEC has already decided to hit pause on the rule in response to a slew of lawsuits challenging its implementation. However, companies are being encouraged to push ahead towards compliance regardless.

“The threat that [those who oppose the SEC’s decision] will use more devices to prevent any regulations from coming into effect is very real.” Senator Elizabeth Warren told Bloomberg.

“As a practical matter, I don’t think there’s any risk here of the Congressional Review Act really being the basis for the rules having a problem,” said Brian O’Fahey of law firm Hogan Lovells in the same article, who argued the move is part of broader delay tactics by those hoping for a new administration to rescind the SEC’s decision.

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This page was last updated April 29, 2024

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