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“Act with Responsibility, Finance for Good” China Social Investment Forum (China SIF) Summer Summit Held in Beijing

June 21, Beijing -- China SIF Summer Summit, co-hosted by Caixin Media, SynTao Green Finance, and BBD, took place at JW Marriott on Jianguo Road in Beijing. The event is sponsored by Landsea Green Group and China Southern Asset Management and supported by the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The summit, with the theme “Act with Responsibility, Finance for Good”, attracted about 300 domestic and international participants, including intergovernmental representatives, heads of investment institutions, NGO members, and mainstream media representatives. Topics discussed in the summit covered corporate social responsibility, sustainable development, responsible investment and green finance in a New Era. The official version of Landsea China ESG Development Index (ESGDI), and ESG database for A shares and evaluating system developed by SynTao Green Finance were released during the summit. At last, a review of the achievements of “520 Social Responsibility Day” was presented at the summit.

Experts’ Opinion on Responsibility and Capital

Yongtu Long, former Vice Minister and Chief Negotiator of the Ministry of Foreign Economy and Trade, delivered a speech on the same theme of the summit -- “Act with Responsibility, Finance for Good”. With the big picture of international competition and the development transformation of China in the new era in mind, he pointed out, “The current international economic and trade situation is severe. In the future, Chinese companies will face challenges in intellectual property, product safety, environmental standards and labor standards, thus they need to respond and get prepared in advance. For a stable and sustainable growth, Chinese companies need to firmly follow the pace of globalization and undertake greater social responsibilities.”

Jianzhou Wang, President of China Association for Public Companies, analyzed the path to sustainable development for Chinese listed companies of the new era and shared his thoughts on the development and popularization of the concept of ESG and sustainable investment during his keynote speech. He believes, “the sustainable development of listed companies requires long-term and systematic effort, so there is a need for cooperation in all aspects. Listed companies should make creating an atmosphere that promotes sustainable development a priority, and the support of investors is also crucial to the sustainable development of listed companies and ESG.”

The chief executive of the Principles of Responsible Investment (PRI), Fiona Reynolds, delivered another keynote speech. She claimed in her speech titled “Global ESG Development Trend Analysis” that as a special institution supported by the United Nations, PRI has been committed to pushing forward the development of responsible investment in the global market. According to her, more than 2000 global institutions are signatories to PRI, whose assets under management reach US$80 trillion in total. Also, she believes that it is time for the responsible investment to truly shine, and its high-speed growth will maintain in the future; more and more individual investors and institutional investors will integrate ESG in their investment.

Act with Responsibility, Redefining Responsibility in a New Era

Since renaming as Landsea Green Group, the company has been making efforts in many aspects relating to green industries. Chairman Ming Tian of Landsea Green Group attended the summit and gave a keynote speech, in which he expressed his understanding of corporate social responsibility in a new era. He pointed out that Landsea not only operates under the ESG concept strategically and adhere to environmental and social friendly management but also actively promotes the practice of corporate social responsibility in the new era and the importance of the ESG responsible investment concept.

In the new era, how will different sectors respond, interact and cooperate with each other to fulfill their social responsibilities better? Following the keynote addresses, representatives from Mary Kay, Puhui Financial of Ping An Group, SEE Foundation, and Infinitus gave their views in the panel discussion on practicing corporate social responsibility and creating a sustainable business model. Relating to their industries’ characteristics, the representatives all gave their respective opinions on the redefinition of corporate social responsibility of the new era and the sustainability of their business models. The sixth president of the SEE Foundation, Xiaohua Qian, said in the panel, “Although issues may arise in practice, it is efficient to deal with social problems in a commercial way, such as the blacklist and whitelist system established during the Green Supply Chain Operation.” The panel discussion was presided over by Li Li, associate professor of the University of International Business and Economics.

Finance for Good, International Communication, and Practice of Responsible Investment

More and more domestic institutional investors have followed their international counterparts to introduce ESG into the framework of corporate research and investment decisions. As China’s A shares were incorporated into the MSCI emerging market index, the concept of ESG has been popularized, and it started to be practiced in the Chinese market. What kind of practice and communication do domestic and foreign institutional investors have in ESG investment? Coordinated by Peiyuan Guo, the chairman of SynTao Green Finance, representatives from China Southern Asset Management, MSCI, Robeco Investment Management, Harvest Global Investments, Industrial Bank and BlackRock gave their respective views on the popularization of ESG in regard to ESG ratings, ESG investment strategies and the green finance. Zengtao Wu, the CMO of China Southern Asset Management, said that one of the most important responsibilities of public funds is to serve the substantial economy. In the future, more funds should be guided to invest in enterprises which have good ESG performances and potentials for sustainable development. He continued to say that China Southern Asset Management’s signatory to PRI well explains the fund’s internationalized investment philosophy.

Panel Discussion 2

The release of ESG Database for A Shares and Evaluation System by SynTao Green Finance

SynTao Green Finance released the first Chinese A shares ESG database at the summit. According to the introduction of Rui Zhang, the managing director of SynTao Green Finance, the database is established on the foundation of SynTao Green Finance’s ESG evaluation system, which is based on research and data accumulated over ten years combined with international standards and the current status of Chinese listed companies.

The database so far covers the ESG data of 300 constituents (out of a total of 417) of different periods in the Shanghai and Shenzhen region from 2015 to 2017. It will soon include the ESG data of CSI 500 constituents, and next year it plans to cover the ESG data of all A shares. The database will provide key ESG information for investors to integrate ESG factors in investment decisions. In addition, SynTao Green Finance is working with WIND, a leading financial data service provider, to present regularly the ESG rating of listed companies on WIND financial terminal (WFT); investors, listed companies, and other stakeholders can check the rating results of listed companies, which reflect their comprehensive ESG performance.

The release of the Official Edition of Landsea China ESG Development Index (ESGDI)

The official edition of Landsea China ESG Development Index (ESGDI) made its debut at the summit. The index has been quoted by regulators, media and capital market since its trial run released in September of 2017 by Caixin Media, SynTao Green Finance, and BBD. It is the first index that depicts the ESG development level of a country on a macro level. Two important changes were made in the official version: first, the provincial index was added to the national overall index and a ranking of different regions was published; second, some adjustments were made to the weight of the national index data.

Qin Chen, the chief economist of Caixin Group, released a report on ESGDI and indicated that there are significant regional differences in the development of ESG in China. In order to objectively reflect the development trend of each region, and to provide the basis for decision and reference for improvement, the official edition of the index has included the monthly ESG index of every provincial region in the mainland China; the top 10 provinces will be published monthly. Based on the important role of policy in the development of ESG, the provincial green finance policy indicator was added to the provincial index, and it is emphasized by weight. It is noteworthy that in May 2018, the top 10 administrative regions of the ESG provincial index were Jiangsu, Zhejiang, Guangdong, Beijing, Shandong, Sichuan, Henan, Chongqing, Hunan and Fujian.