Features
11 Mar 24

Asia Green Tech Summit: Susainability stuck on funding?

A major event in the Asian sustainabilitiy ecosystem, the Asia Green Tech Summit resonated with the urgent imperative to accelerate the region's transition towards a low-carbon future. The summit convened investors and green technology stakeholders to deliberate strategies for integrating green mobility into public transit systems and addressing funding challenges hindering the widespread adoption of renewable energy solutions.

Affordable and potentially sustainable: public transit

VinFast Chairwoman Le Thi Thu Thuy underscored the pivotal role of electrifying public transit in fostering sustainable urban development. VinFast, a Vietnamese company, has expanded beyond manufacturing electric vehicles (EVs) to operating hundreds of electric buses in Vietnam. This move aims to democratize access to sustainable transportation, aligning with broader efforts to reduce carbon emissions in urban centers.

VinFast’s strategic vision extends globally, with VinFast eyeing expansion into key markets across Southeast Asia. Despite the region's nascent EV market, VinFast's commitment to electrified public transit sets a precedent for sustainable mobility solutions.

Funding for innovation

However, the transition to a low-carbon future faces considerable challenges, particularly in securing adequate funding. SuetChee Chiong, director at Decarbonization Partners, highlighted the cautious investor landscape, necessitating green technology ventures to demonstrate strong fundamentals to attract investment.

Nevertheless, traditional financial institutions are stepping up to support green initiatives, providing critical capital to drive sustainable development. Alexandra Tracy, president at green finance consultancy Hoi Ping Ventures, emphasized the pivotal role of domestic commercial banks in financing green projects, underscoring the importance of established institutions in driving sustainable growth.

Hydrogen

Amidst funding challenges, summit participants identified promising avenues for innovation, including the potential of hydrogen as an alternative energy source. Countries like Japan and Singapore are leading efforts to harness hydrogen, signaling a transition away from fossil fuels. Akira Yabumoto, executive senior advisor with Japan's Electric Power Development, highlighted the critical role of hydrogen in decarbonization efforts.

Asia

Despite technological advancements and robust GDP growth outpacing other regions, sustainability remains a significant challenge in Asia. One key obstacle is the absence of a unified regional approach, leading major economies to pursue their sustainability agendas independently, without adequate coordination. This fragmented approach hampers efforts to address common environmental concerns effectively.

Moreover, the region grapples with divergent opinions regarding the optimal path towards sustainability. Debates persist over whether electric, hybrid, or hydrogen technologies offer the most viable solution. This lack of consensus impedes cohesive action towards adopting sustainable energy sources and reducing carbon emissions.

Additionally, with low car ownership per capita in many Asian countries, there is a pressing need to prioritize investments in public transportation infrastructure over private vehicle ownership. Enhancing public transit systems not only reduces congestion and air pollution but also promotes equitable access to mobility for all segments of society.

In summary, while the sustainability challenges in Asia may differ from those in the West, they are no less pressing. Addressing issues such as fragmented approaches, technology selection, and prioritizing public transportation are crucial steps towards achieving sustainable development across the region.

Source information: NIKKEI Asia

Picture: Shutterstock 2135669337

Authored by: Yves Helven