Yang Xiaosong, CEO of China Southern Asset Management Co., Ltd. (Southern Asset Management), was asked to deliver the keynote speech at the first ESG Global Leaders Summit on August 26 in Beijing, sponsored by Sina Finance ESG Channel and CITIC Publishing Group.
The Summit presented an opportunity to meet with global regulatory, business, investment and academic circles to discuss the future of ESG. The topic Yang chose for his address was The Road to Carbon Neutrality for Institutional Investors.
Faced with the increasingly severe challenges of the climate crisis, China made the solemn promise of “30.60 Carbon Peak and Carbon Neutrality” at the UN Climate Summit last year. As the world’s largest developing country, China has actively promoted “carbon peak and carbon neutrality”, which not only demonstrates the country’s broad mind and responsibility, but also points out the direction for China’s economic and social comprehensive green transformation and sustainable development.
“Carbon peak and carbon neutrality” will promote structural changes in the economy and society, including changes in energy structure, industrial structure, and consumption structure. In this process, on the one hand, professional investment institutions will give full play to the function of optimizing resource allocation and provide long-term funding sources for green and low-carbon high-quality enterprises; on the other hand, the carbon neutral industry chain breeds huge investment opportunities. Professional investment institutions can Through the layout of new opportunities for industrial upgrading and technological breakthroughs, it will create returns for investors and create value for society.
As a leading domestic institutional investor, Southern Asset Management attaches great importance to the research and practice of sustainable development finance. As early as 2018, it joined UNPRI (United Nations Responsible Investment Organization) and took the lead in establishing an ESG management structure, an ESG evaluation system and an ESG evaluation system. Investment system, implement active shareholder strategies, and explore the guiding role of investment on the real economy. “Carbon peaking and carbon neutrality” is an important part of ESG investment. Regarding how institutional investors can promote “carbon peaking and carbon neutrality”, we have the following thoughts and explorations:
One is to build a “carbon emissions” database with the help of financial technology.
Carbon emission data is an infrastructure for the financial industry to measure the climate change risks faced by enterprises, and it is also an essential part of asset pricing revaluation. Public funds need to conduct a more comprehensive and three-dimensional analysis of investment targets through big data collection, and fully integrate carbon emission databases with active research. However, the actual situation is that the ESG information disclosure data of domestic companies is incomplete. As of May 2021, there are only 1092 and 149 listed companies that actively disclose ESG data and carbon footprint data, accounting for 25% and 3.6% respectively (Data source: “Statistical Research Report on Information Disclosure of A-Share Listed Companies in 2020”, “Analysis Report on Information Disclosure of A-Share Listed Companies in Response to Climate Change 2021”). In this regard, Southern Asset Management has completed the carbon emission measurement database of all more than 4,000 listed companies in A-shares through external data collection, financial technology, and algorithms. This forms the basis for our in-depth research and investment.
The second is to optimize the investment framework and reduce the carbon footprint of the asset portfolio.
With the opening of the national carbon trading market, a clear carbon pricing mechanism internalizes the social costs incurred by enterprises, and also provides us with an important reference for repricing the risks and returns of enterprises. It can be expected that with the improvement of the carbon credit allocation mechanism, the impact of carbon trading on asset prices will gradually increase. In the past year, Southern Asset Management has significantly reduced the investment ratio of high-polluting and high-energy-consuming companies, and the weighted average carbon emissions of the stock portfolio have fallen by more than 40%. (Internal data of Southern Asset Management).
The third is to enrich the supply of products and promote the research and development of carbon emission products.
Public equity funds help investors share the growth dividends of the carbon neutral industry through investment strategies and product research and development. For example, we have conducted research on the carbon emissions of the CSI 300 component stocks in the past ten years. The low-emission component stock strategy has gradually produced excess returns in 2016, and the excess returns have increased significantly from 2019. In addition, in the future, new energy may be a long-term investment direction centered on technological progress, technological upgrading and energy efficiency improvement of “carbon neutrality”. At the product level, we have deployed Southern ESG theme equity funds, Southern China Securities New Energy ETF and feeder funds, and Southern New Energy Industry Trend Hybrid Fund.
The fourth is to fulfill social responsibilities and improve the carbon emission management system.
Southern Asset Management has established an internal carbon emission management system to account for the company’s carbon emissions in accordance with internationally accepted standards. The company headquarters building received LEED Gold Award-Energy Saving and Emission Reduction Building Certification. In addition, through voluntary carbon emission reduction certified emission reductions (VCUs/Verified Carbon Units) and international green certificates (I-REC/International Renewable Energy Certificate), we have completed the full amount of direct and indirect carbon emissions in the company’s operations. Offset, achieved carbon neutrality of the company’s operating system in July 2021.
The fifth is to establish an ecosystem and continuously enhance the influence of ESG.
We promote the establishment of the ecosystem through the following levels. First, Southern Asset Management is a 100+ member of Climate Action, and is committed to promoting the emission reduction and transformation of 161 major greenhouse gas emitting companies in the world through the implementation of an active shareholder strategy; Southern Asset Management has released the first domestic ESG investment annual report for public funds this year, improving the transparency of ESG investment and promoting industry development by improving information disclosure. At the same time, we are also a signatory member of TCFD (climate-related financial information disclosure) and invest in ESG In the annual report, detailed environmental information is disclosed in accordance with international standards.
“Carbon peaking and carbon neutrality” is a complex, long-term and systematic project. On the way to a “zero carbon future”, Southern Asset Management will firmly focus on the goal of “carbon peak and carbon neutrality”, based on its origins in the asset management industry, and is committed to providing more efficient and professional financial services for green and low-carbon development. We are willing to work with all partners to create a beautiful future in which “green water and green mountains are golden mountains and silver mountains” and harmonious coexistence of man and nature!
Chief Executive Officer
China Southern Asset Management Co., Ltd.
August 26, 2021
As a leading mutual fund in China, Southern Asset Management honors its social responsibilities. Apart from taking an active part in environmental protection and public welfare programs, it fully integrates ESG into its operation and investment. Southern Asset Management is a signatory of UN Principles for Responsible Investment and a member of the China ESG Leaders Association and the Climate Action 100+. It was among the first to launch an ESG Equity Fund in China to encourage ESG investment across the country. Its ESG efforts have been widely recognized, as evidenced by the honors it has received over the years, including the China ESG Golden Awards by Sina.com, the Evergreen Award by Caijing and the China Green Finance Award by Asiamoney.