investment targets has shifted. While some developing countries – such has Vietnam – have extraordinary governance track-records, most do not. But there are obviously continued environmental and climate-related challenges in many emerging market economies. Government officials in Asia and Latin America still tell me that a choice exists between feeding people and lifting them out of poverty, or preserving the environment. They don’t get to choose both. The government of India, for example, has been quite clear that it plans to do everything possible to provide energy for the country’s manufacturing boom. Energy will be derived from different sources – fossil fuels as well as green

energy. I think it’s important to have an honest conversation about these things. It’s something that needs to be worked on. Governments, companies, investors and individuals need to develop more iterative relationships to work through these challenges and move closer to a more holistic ESG approach – one that continues to evolve. OPEC member countries, which have developed such an extraordinary prowess and technical capacity for extracting, producing and distributing low-cost sources of energy, could help in this respect by transferring knowledge. We’ve seen good examples of renewable energy projects across these countries. Until recently, investing in low-income countries has been associated mainly

For low- to middle- income countries, it’s important to consider investing targets... There are some blossoming sectors such as education, financial inclusion and infrastructure.

Dr Alexis Crow

with impact investing and providing aid. Increasingly, as global private investors allocate capital to real assets in developing countries – specifically real estate, infrastructure and private equity – more conversations need to take place about the ESG performance of those assets. This will improve long-term gains in addition to the shorter-term impact of such investments – benefiting both low-income countries and investors who pursue purpose as well as returns.

*IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, and HSBC Global Asset Management, in July 2020 announced the creation of the Real Economy Green Investment Opportunity (REGIO) Fund – the first global green bond fund targeting “real economy” issuers in emerging markets, increasing access to climate finance and promoting the further development of green bond markets.

**GRESB assesses and benchmarks the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) performance of real assets, providing standardized and validated data to the capital markets. See


PHOTO: Courtesy of Dr Alexis Crow

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