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Asia is sometimes seen as a laggard in the global ESG movement, but the head of sustainability at Southeast Asia’s largest bank says that could change.
Mikkel Larsen, chief sustainability officer at Singapore's DBS Group Holdings Ltd., expects rapid growth in ESG investing in Asia — partly due to growing investor demand and partly because of rising pressure from regulators in the region.
"You've seen around Asia a number of regulators stepping up, and they're not deterred particularly by the COVID-19 crisis," Larsen tells us in an interview for the latest episode of the ESG Insider podcast.
In this week's newsletter we feature stories about the steps that regulators and central banks around the world — from Singapore to France to Russia — are taking to address sustainability and governance issues.
And we bring you a pair of stories on facial recognition technology. The issue is making headlines for its role in systemic racism in the U.S., and for its privacy implications in Europe. Several large tech companies announced plans to scale back or pause sale of facial recognition technology, but the market for this product is still expected to be booming in the coming years — see our Chart of the Week for a growth estimate.
Chart of the Week
Podcast: COVID-19 shows many ESG agendas have 'forgotten about the people'
The pandemic has brought social issues to the forefront and highlighted that the climate agenda cannot come at the expense of people, Mikkel Larsen, chief sustainability officer at Singapore-based DBS Group, tells ESG Insider. The bank stopped financing coal-fired power plants, but only after finding price-competitive renewable energy alternatives. "We were not willing to accept that lack of electricity — we are in Southeast Asia where 65 million are still without electricity — was necessarily going to be the trade-off," Larsen said.
Big tech's pause on facial recognition not likely to blunt deployment
The global facial recognition market is expected to reach $15.4 billion by 2024, according to estimates from Variant Market Research. Though recent calls for police reform have thrown a spotlight on the risks involved in the technology, various companies stand ready to capitalize on the segment's potential by continuing to work with law enforcement and by supporting other use cases.
Facial recognition tech tests the limits of Europe's data privacy laws
The European Union and the U.K. are separately exploring new guidelines for live facial recognition technology, which pairs surveillance equipment with visual-recognition software so images can be analyzed, for example by searching a database of suspects for matches — known as remote biometric identification. In Europe, remote biometric identification is banned under the General Data Protection Regulation. A European Commission spokesperson said this is the most "intrusive" form of facial recognition, and its use is also governed by human rights law.
5G networks better positioned to weather extreme storms – experts
Utilities face tough choices in meeting climate goals after natural-gas binge
'This is all about risk': Cheniere sharpens focus on emissions in new ESG report
As gold rises, industry faces mounting concerns over human rights diligence
California adopts new tool to determine what utility customers can afford to pay
ESG comes into focus for some pipeline firms seeking new investors
Russian central bank sets responsible investment principles for market players
Westpac review finds management of risk culture 'immature, reactive'
France's regulator calls for separation of insurers' CEO and chairman positions
Sustainability Impact Conference
Sustainability Reporting and Communications Europe 2020
Water & Long-Term Value
ESG Regulation, Data and Reporting in Financial Services
Forum on Green Finance and Investment
OECD Centre on Green Finance and Investment
ESG & Sustainability Forum
Sustainable Returns: ESG Investing
New York, N.Y.
New York 2020: Sustainable Business and Finance
New York, N.Y.
ESG and Sustainable Investments Forum
Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Questions or suggestions? Contact S&P Global Market Intelligence’s ESG News team at ESGNews@spglobal.com