Navigating Sustainable Finance: Insights from the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum Panel on Green Financing and Carbon Markets
Navigating Sustainable Finance: Insights from the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum Panel on Green Financing and Carbon Markets

Against the backdrop of the Mulia Hotel in Jakarta, the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum (AIPF) unfolded in September 2023. As Indonesia assumed the ASEAN Chairmanship for the year, the AIPF stood as a beacon of hope and collaboration, focusing on critical themes that would shape the future of the Indo-Pacific. Among the thought-provoking discussions and sessions, one panel titled "Green Financing and Carbon Market" emerged as a significant highlight.

The AIPF 2023: A Platform for Change

The ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum (AIPF) was the centerpiece of Indonesia's ASEAN Chairmanship in 2023. This inaugural event aimed to foster stronger connections between ASEAN nations and the broader Indo-Pacific region. It unfolded on the grand stage of the Mulia Hotel in Jakarta, from September 5th to 6th, 2023, coinciding with the 43rd ASEAN Summit and East Asia Summit.

At its core, the AIPF sought to harness opportunities and enhance connectivity within ASEAN countries and the Indo-Pacific region. In a world where the Indo-Pacific accounted for over 60% of global GDP and approximately half of global trade, it had emerged as a significant economic hub, fostering trade, investment, and innovation. Located at the very heart of the Indo-Pacific, ASEAN was poised to become a center of economic activity in the coming years, aligning with the ASEAN 2023 theme, "ASEAN Matters: Epicentrum of Growth."

The AIPF aimed to be an inclusive platform for ASEAN member states and partners, encompassing both the public and private sectors. It encouraged constructive discussions, the identification of potential projects, and the promotion of collaboration in the Indo-Pacific. The event brought together leaders from governments and the private sector, representatives from international financial institutions (IFIs), and international organizations. It placed three critical issues at the forefront of discussions and the project showcases green infrastructure and resilient supply chains, digital transformation and the creative economy, and sustainable and innovative financing.

For businesses, the AIPF offered a range of opportunities, including gaining first-hand insights from heads of state and business leaders on global situations and future economic cooperation between ASEAN and Indo-Pacific countries. It also facilitated collaboration, networking, and business matchmaking with like-minded stakeholders. It presented potential and strategic projects that would shape ASEAN and the Indo-Pacific in the future. In a region marked by dynamism, the AIPF emerged as a critical opportunity for businesses to engage more actively in ASEAN and navigate the evolving landscape successfully.

The Green Financing and Carbon Market Panel: Navigating Sustainability

Amidst the extensive AIPF agenda, one-panel session stood out - "Green Financing and Carbon Market." Set for September 6, 2023, from 16:10 to 16:55 (UTC +7), this session came under the broader subtheme of "Sustainable and Innovative Financing." It focused on the critical role of green financing and carbon markets in accelerating the global shift towards sustainable practices, channeling investments into environmentally responsible projects, and effectively combating climate change.

Alexandra Askandar, Vice President Director of Bank Mandiri

Alexandra Askandar, Vice President Director of Bank Mandiri, emphasized the importance of integrity in carbon projects. She stressed the need to build trust among investors and clients in the carbon industry.

"We want to build more confidence for both green financing investors and clients looking at this carbon industry by showing them high integrity in a carbon project," she said.

Natalia Rialucky, CEO of Fairatmos

Natalia Rialucky, CEO of Fairatmos, brought attention to the transformative role of technology in carbon studies. She highlighted the significant reduction in the time required for carbon studies through technological advancements.

"Previously without technology, carbon studies could take up to 2 months, but now with technology, we can get it done within 2 seconds," she explained. Natalia stressed that technology not only accelerates decision-making but also enhances the credibility of carbon projects.

Moreover, she emphasized that technology, such as monitoring tools, contributes to both economic value and environmental preservation. "With technology, we can help boost confidence that a carbon project is worth economic value, and this economic value goes hand in hand with preserving the planet," Natalia added.

Jeffrey Chatellier, CEO of Forest Carbon

Jeffrey Chatellier, CEO of Forest Carbon, shared his experiences in conservation finance and restoration efforts. He discussed the Sumatra Merang Peatland Project, demonstrating its economic viability through long-term contracts with global brands.

"Large-scale tropical forest restoration projects can be economically viable," Jeffrey emphasized. He expressed his commitment to protecting vast areas of essential ecosystems, including mangroves and peatlands, by 2026.

Ma Jun, Director at the Institute of Public & Environment Affairs (IPE)

Ma Jun, the Founding Director of the Institute of Public & Environment Affairs (IPE), discussed the importance of transparency. He shared his journey of creating China's first environmental public database and the Blue Map app, which visualizes environmental quality data.

His work inspired multinational companies and financial institutions to integrate environmental data into their decision-making processes. Ma Jun's transparency initiatives motivated thousands of companies to address violations or disclose emissions data.

Conclusion: Lessons from the ASEAN Indo-Pacific Forum Panel

The "Green Financing and Carbon Market" panel offered valuable insights into the world of sustainable finance and environmental preservation. The speakers' straightforward messages highlighted the importance of integrity, technology, and transparency in achieving a more sustainable future. These insights serve as practical guidelines for businesses and nations seeking to navigate the path toward sustainability with confidence. The panel discussions provided a roadmap for a more sustainable and prosperous Indo-Pacific region.

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