With support from the U.S. Agency for International Development Regional Development Mission for Asia (USAID/RDMA), the Mekong Partnership for the Environment and Private Financing Advisory Network (USAID PFAN-Asia) brought together over 40 non-government organizations, civil society and private sector representatives in the Mekong region to learn about emerging international trends in sustainable investment and environmental, social and governance integration. They met to strategize about making investments more sustainable, which reduces risk, saves money and improves their reputations.
The representatives from the private sector and civil society in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam participated in the “Business Case for Integrating Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Factors in Investments” workshop in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, on March 24 and 25. Participants discussed the emerging trends and alternatives in sustainable investment, and shared strategies on how they can apply to environmental and social risk management.
“It is important to integrate social and environmental considerations into investment projects and engage with diverse stakeholders and communities,” said USAID Cambodia Mission Director Rebecca Black. “This is important not because it not only makes good sense for development, but also makes good sense for business.”
The event included networking opportunities with industry leaders to share experiences in integrating environmental, social and governance factors into their core business strategies.
“If companies comply with ESG principles, it will help to protect both companies and communities from negative environmental impacts and unnecessary losses.” said Herbert Jaeger, Vice President of the German Investment and Development Company. “It will also help companies to establish stable relationships with customers and communities.”
The workshop also brought together private sector and civil society representatives to discuss ways to reduce the environmental and social risks of investment projects and ensure sustainable investment.
“All key stakeholders – private sector, government and communities – play important contributing roles to ensure a sustainable environment,” said Mam Sambath, Executive Director of the civil society group Development and Partnership in Action, Cambodia. “To include ESG in investment is very important and we will all need to work together.”
The event is part of Mekong Partnership for the Environment (MPE)’s efforts to enhance responsible investment in the Mekong region. MPE is facilitating regional working groups of business, civil society and government leaders to promote best practices and policies in the region.
The USAID-supported regional Mekong Partnership for the Environment project is implemented by the non-governmental organization Pact. The project supports constructive engagement among governments, business and civil society to promote socially and environmentally responsible development in the Mekong region.
The USAID Private Financing Advisory Network for Asia is a five-year regional program implemented by Deloitte Consulting LLP. The goal of the program is to mobilize $1 billion of investment in renewable energy generation projects, energy efficiency programs and clean transportation projects to avoid or reduce greenhouse gas emissions amounting to at least 40 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent.
Source: USAID/RDMA Regional Environment Office Weekly Update