Asia in Focus: ESG Investing and the Business and Human Rights Agenda


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Asia in Focus: ESG Investing and the Business and Human Rights Agenda

June 11, 2024

ESG investment rests on the recognition that environmental, social and corporate governance issues shape companies’ risks and opportunities, and that factoring these into investment decisions can improve long-term returns while potentially fostering more responsible and resilient business. In recent years it has been embraced by investors and asset managers, propelled by the promise of sustainable profits as well as growing public concern over climate, conservation and human rights.

This report examines the capacity of ESG investment to support environmentally and socially responsible business practices in Asia. While the rise of ESG investment has been driven by European and US markets, its power to make a difference will be tested in the region’s dynamic emerging markets. Decades of economic growth have raised living standards and generated new wealth, but Asia now produces a majority of the planet’s carbon emissions, suffers devastating pollution and faces rampant biodiversity loss. Rapidly growing energy needs and continued dependence on fossil fuels complicate the task of transition. Furthermore, Asia’s centrality to the world’s supply chains makes its environmental and human rights practices global concerns.