CEOs more positive on economy, list key challenges for 2022

January 12, 2022

HONG KONG -- Online polls conducted during the annual Asian Financial Forum (AFF) in Hong Kong found that 43% of respondents were optimistic about the outlook for the global economy in 2022 - a significant increase from 32% in the poll at AFF 2021 - while 33% of respondents had a neutral view and 24% expressed pessimism. The results indicated a generally more positive sentiment towards economic prospects in 2022.

When asked about the most significant barrier preventing their companies from implementing more ESG-friendly policies, 33% pointed to the lack of unified, easily understandable ESG standards, and 22% cited the difficulty in balancing ESG practices and business goals.

As for the sectors with the most opportunities for green investment in Asia, 45% identified green energy, followed by real estate and construction (16%), transportation infrastructure (14%) and agriculture and food (14%).

Mark Carney, United Nations Special Envoy on Climate Action and Finance, shared his insights on how to build a sustainable financial system as a way of mitigating the liability and transitional threats posed by climate change.

He said Governments needed to step up with "ambitious, credible and predictable" policies that matched their pledges.

"Very importantly, countries are encouraged to enact 'deep decarbonisation' policies, such as the phase-out of internal combustion engine vehicles by 2030, and to legislate carbon pricing to deliver certainty," he said.

"This is about giving greater certainty to investors and businesses, so they can pull forward with investment, smooth adjustments and drive jobs and growth upwards while they force emissions downwards.

"Finance is stepping up, the system is being changed, and there are enormous opportunities now for countries and companies, from affordable green power to zero-emission steel to low-carbon hydrogen and beyond.

"The financial sector has moved from being a mirror that reflects a world that hasn't been doing nearly enough to becoming a window through which ambitious climate action can deliver a sustainable future." (ATI).