Growing Sustainable Finance in Asia in the New Normal


Content: Video Webinar Presentation with Q&A

Length: 1:11:24

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As Asia begins to adapt to the new post-pandemic normal, some economies have begun to reopen while others continue to battle on. At the same time, we also acknowledge the pandemic is a terrible human tragedy spanning the globe and sparing almost no economy. As we collectively confront and adapt to this new normal, the roles of and need for sustainable finance and impact investing could not be more critical and urgent.

Notwithstanding the lessons learned from previous epidemics such as SARS, MERS, and Ebola as well as Bill Gates’ prescient TED talk in 2015, the uneven responses of various economies to the COVID-19 pandemic point to a dire picture of what could happen to humanity if we fail to tackle the more serious threats of climate change and extreme weather events going forward.

In the immediate term, as we await for vaccines that can be produced at scale, developed and developing economies alike will continue to face unprecedented economic and public health challenges. Already we are seeing some economies begin to delay or roll-back some climate- and sustainability-related initiatives as a matter of economic survival. And there are growing concerns that stopgap solutions to jumpstart economies could stall the growth of sustainable finance.

In this program, Impact Entrepreneur’s Laurie Lane-Zucker and Asia Value Advisors’ Philo Alto will discuss with our distinguished group of panellists — Leonie Kelly of Sustainable Finance Initiative, En Lee of LGT, Ronie Mak of RS Group and James Robertson of PRI — the trends and developments in growing sustainable finance in Asia in the new post-pandemic normal.

The conversation will tackle topics such as:

  • Trends and developments in sustainable finance in Asia in the private, institutional and development sectors in the current transition phase to a new post-pandemic normal
  • Political and economic headwinds in the post-pandemic normal and how sustainable finance is (or is not) staying the course in Asia
  • Playing the long-game — building a cross-sector talent pipeline in sustainable finance
  • Practical considerations — state of impact measurement and management; challenges and gaps in the sustainable finance ecosystem in Asia; and, how US, Europe and Asia regions can learn from and support each other
  • Turning crisis into opportunities for the future — role of policy and ecosystem capacity building; advice on how one’s own professional journey can support sustainable finance and contribute to systems change in the new normal



PHILO ALTO is the founder and CEO of Asia Value Advisors (AVA), a purpose-driven philanthropic capital advisory firm based in Hong Kong. Through bespoke advisory services, convening, and research, AVA seeks to inform and inspire individuals and organisations to create sustainable impacts. His work included advising The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust on program curation for its inaugural Philanthropy for Better Cities Forum in 2016 with 60 globally-renowned speakers and attracting over 1,300 delegates; convening an impact investing forum with the Rockefeller Foundation to grow impact investing in Asia; and, hosting a Foundation Philanthropy Roundtable to explore what’s next in creating sustainable value.

Philo has also co-authored two publications: Mind the Gap: Lessons and Findings from EngageHK and Adopting the London Principles: Policy Considerations to Grow Impact Investing in HK. His work has been cited in books such as Problem Solving: HBS Alumni Making a Difference in the World (2019) and The Power of Impact Investing. He has also contributed to the Stanford Social Innovation Review and the Alliance magazine as a global editorial advisory board member. Philo received his MBA and MPA from Harvard Business School and Harvard Kennedy School. He was an investment banker with Goldman Sachs and Citibank prior to founding AVA. Among his voluntary engagements include serving as a director of the Harvard Club of Hong Kong Education Fund, an advisor to Sustainable Finance Initiative, Social Ventures Hong Kong and Shared Value Project Hong Kong, and an officer of the HBS Association of Hong Kong.


LEONIE KELLY is a partner at Sustainable Finance Initiative, leading Policy and Practice. She has over 11 years’ of professional experience spanning conservation finance, impact and sustainability consulting, and financial services, across Ireland, UK and Europe and Asia. Leonie was previously Head of Impact Investment at the Zoological Society of London where she was focused on developing conservation funding mechanisms to direct impact capital to help save species on the edge of extinction. At Deloitte LLP UK she worked principally across impact advisory and impact assurance. Leonie is a Fellow of the Finance Innovation Lab of London, and holds a Masters in Environment & Development from The London School of Economics & Political Science, and a BA in Economics & Geography from Trinity College Dublin, Ireland.


EN LEE is the Head of Sustainable and Impact Investments, Asia at LGT, the world’s largest family-owned private banking and asset management group with over USD 220bn in assets under management. He leads and manages the regional impact investment portfolio in Southeast Asia and China, serving on the boards of several organizations in Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, and Indonesia. He is a Partner of LGT Lightstone, the firm’s global impact investing initiative, and a member of the LGT Sustainability Board. Before LGT, En was an Executive Director at Goldman Sachs advising investment funds. A recognized industry pioneer, En serves on the World Economic Forum ESG Advisory Group, Asia Investor Group on Climate Change, and the MAS Sustainable Finance Working Group. He is an Advisory Committee Member of Triple P Financial Inclusion Fund, a Steering Committee Member of the Harvard Impact Investing Group, and an Entrepreneur In Residence at INSEAD. En graduated from the Advanced Management Program at Harvard Business School and is a CAIA Charterholder. He was selected as an Aspen Institute Finance Leaders Fellow and is a member of the Aspen Global Leadership Network and the Young Presidents’ Organization.


RONIE MAK manages the strategy, operations and development of RS Group’s activities in HK and globally. She leads the incubation of the Sustainable Finance Initiative under RS Group, a community platform focusing on private investors to promote adoption of sustainable finance in HK. She has over 15 years of banking & finance experience. Before RS Group, Ronie spent 8 years at HSBC and acted as the Secretary of the HK Association of Banks in 2012. Born in HK, Ronie graduated from the University of New South Wales with merit and a double degree in finance and marketing, Bachelor of Commerce.


JAMES ROBERTSON joined the PRI team in 2015 as Project Manager to help establish the organisation’s Hong Kong office, following the merger of the Association for Sustainable & Responsible Investment in Asia (ASrIA) and the PRI leading to the establishment of the Asia (ex-Japan) Network. In the roles of Network Manager and then as Head of Asia (ex-China & Japan), James is responsible for managing relationships with the PRI’s Asia signatory base as well as leading outreach to potential new signatories, supporting project and policy activities in the region, and working closely with investors, partner organisations and stakeholders to support the development of responsible investment across local markets. Prior to joining the PRI James worked with regional body ASrIA, an organisation dedicated to promoting SRI across the region, with responsibilities across operations, projects, communications and membership.


Laurie Lane-Zucker

Laurie Lane-Zucker

Laurie Lane-Zucker is Founder and CEO of Impact Entrepreneur, PBC, an impact economy business that hosts the Impact Entrepreneur Network — a large, global network of “systems-minded” entrepreneurs, investors, and scholars of social and environmental innovation — and editor and publisher of Impact Entrepreneur, a digital magazine covering the emerging Impact Economy. For over 30 years, Laurie has been a “pioneer” (Forbes) and recognized leader in sustainability, social enterprise, and impact investing. Laurie was the founding Executive Director of the international environmental organization, Orion Society, which publishes the celebrated Orion Magazine, as well as the founder of a global sustainability think-tank, the Triad Institute, and Hotfrog, a Founding B Corporation, GIIRS Pioneer Company, and the first company ever to complete an equity transaction on an impact investment exchange. Laurie is the bestselling and multiple award-winning publisher and editor of books and magazines on sustainability and social impact — having worked with such acclaimed authors as Wendell Berry, Barry Lopez, Terry Tempest Williams, and David James Duncan — and the author of numerous articles on entrepreneurship and impact investing. Laurie is contributing author to the recently published academic textbook from World Scientific, Sustainability: Business and Investment Implications (2023).