Standard Chartered Vietnam takes lead in sustainability efforts

December 19, 2022 | 10:00
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Standard Chartered Vietnam is continuing to lead the way in sustainability and, in turn, drive growth for its customers and the economy at large.

Vietnam has set objectives to become a high-income economy by 2045 and a carbon-neutral economy by 2050 – and with financing a key enabler to achieving these ambitious plans, the role of financial institutions as financing parties is critically important. In response to the changing perspectives of both corporate and individual clients, a growing number of financial institutions are incorporating environmental, social, and corporate governance (ESG) considerations into their investment options and channelling capital to sustainable-linked businesses.

Standard Chartered Vietnam takes lead in sustainability efforts
Standard Chartered Vietnam takes lead in sustainability efforts

Standard Chartered has been well ahead of the curve, as the bank has been a trailblazer in sustainable finance focused on emerging markets like Vietnam – from mobilising blended finance for economic development and providing incentives for green lending, to stopping the financing of new coal-fired power plants anywhere in the world.

“We want to support and mobilise finance needed to provide people with clean energy, drive carbon-free transport, and facilitate the decarbonising of the manufacturing industry.” said Michele Wee, CEO of Standard Chartered Vietnam.

Earlier in 2022, Standard Chartered Vietnam entered into a sustainability-linked USD trade finance credit facility with global printing communications company Leo Vietnam. Under this framework, the bank would extend a $13.5 million credit limit to finance the client’s working capital needs.

Leo Vietnam commits to reduce its hazardous waste and total waste intensity to pre-determined levels over a designated period of time, and Standard Chartered Bank Vietnam will provide financial incentives to Leo Vietnam if the targets are met.

In 2021, on occasion of COP26, the bank exchanged MoUs worth a total of $8.5 billion with three Vietnamese businesses to support their sustainability goals. It also collaborated with major local banks to facilitate the funding for many wind power projects in Vietnam. In continuation of its green efforts, in 2022, Standard Chartered is actively executing the above MoUs to raise the funding for sustainable projects.

Nguyen Thuy Hanh, managing director and head of Corporate, Commercial, and Institutional Banking at Standard Chartered Bank Vietnam said, “This is part of our strong commitment to meeting clients’ rising sustainability aspirations with innovative sustainable finance solutions. We are dedicated to contributing to the sustainable development of Vietnam and continue working closely with our clients and stakeholders to provide finance to where it matters most.”

Regarding government support, the bank and the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment signed an MoU on cooperation in response to climate change in September 2022. The signing was witnessed by Minister Tran Hong Ha and Standard Chartered Group CEO Bill Winters during his visit to Vietnam.

Under the MoU, the bank will support the ministry with capacity building and private sector engagement in climate action and the development of green, sustainable, and/or transition finance frameworks, as well as carbon market development and knowledge exchange.

The bank also signed Minutes of Cooperation in gender equity with the State Bank of Vietnam in the presence of Deputy Governor Dao Minh Tu and CEO Winters. The cooperation will include the organisation of annual conferences that offer global perspectives on female leadership and skills upgrading for women; implementation of social responsible programmes to support disadvantaged women; and sharing of best practices in diversity and inclusion.

In February, Standard Chartered Vietnam collaborated with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to organise the 2022 Economic Outlook and Green Finance Policy forum in Hanoi, where speakers discussed the global and regional trends in green finance, how Vietnam can access and mobilise green finance resources, and solutions and policy recommendations for the country on green financing in achieving sustainable development goals. The event saw the participation of state agencies, embassies, the Asian Development Bank, businesses, and economists.

In terms of product development in the retail space, Standard Chartered Vietnam was one of the first banks in the country to launch green mortgage loans and carbon-neutral debit and credit cards. These are part of a series of green products that have been and will be launched by the bank in order to encourage clients to adopt a greener lifestyle and also to protect the environment.

In recognition of its ongoing efforts, in September, Standard Chartered Bank Vietnam was named Best ESG Bank in Vietnam in 2022 by Asiamoney for its outstanding efforts in driving the application of ESG.

“We are committed to reaching net-zero carbon emissions from our operations by 2030, and from our financing by 2050. We acknowledge the need to ensure that these objectives are achieved whilst supporting economic growth and prosperity across societies and thus achieving a just transition. We have been making an impact in Vietnam by providing finance to where it matters most and focusing on ESG in our operations,” said Wee.

Currently, Standard Chartered is working with the British Chamber of Commerce in Vietnam to run a series of sustainability webinars, which aim to promote sustainable development and application of ESG among businesses. Consisting of six webinars on different but related topics, the series will run until the end of 2022.

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By Luu Huong

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