High level regional meetings on enabling private sector investments in clean energy and climate-smart commodity production organised in Thailand

The Asia LEDS Partnership Secretariat supported USAID in organising two workshops in Bangkok, Thailand. The event on “Enabling Private Sector investments in Clean Energy in Southeast and South Asia” was held on 27-28 March 2017 and “Convening Private Sector Investment in Climate-Smart Commodity Production in Southeast Asia”, on 29 March, in Bangkok, Thailand.

Enabling Private Sector Clean Energy Investment in Southeast and South Asia

The two-day event brought together 90 participants from leading multinational corporations, Asia-based manufacturers, energy suppliers and senior government officials from India, Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia to discuss emerging strategies and near-term opportunities to operationalize corporate commitments for large-scale clean energy development in the region.

Glyn Davies, U.S. Ambassador to the Kingdom of Thailand, pointed out that this is the time for early movers to gain the higher ground in this new industry and create the needed innovations to scale up. Thailand’s leading businessman and author Mr. Vikrom Kromadit of AMATA Corporation shared his 'All-Win' Philosophy that includes making money and developing the country and society in a sustainable way.

The leading Asian companies discussed good practices regarding renewable energy and energy efficiency through projects funded within their organisations. For example, Mahindra & Mahindra developed a metric system to rank the projects and implement them in that order as per availability of finances. This resulted in a ten-fold increase in environment-focused projects being funded. Ayala Land Pvt. Ltd. has embedded sustainability metrics in performance evaluations and rewards its property managers for energy savings, resulting in a healthy competition to achieve more savings.

The government officials from India, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam discussed their respective countries’ ambitious targets and commitments on Renewable Energy (RE) and Energy Efficiency (EE), identified cost savings and other co-benefits such as employment and education. The government officials urged the private sector to invest in clean energy to achieve these set goals.

It was realised that we are in a period of rapid change with new technologies, new buyers, and new business models. A paradigm shift can be seen in electricity markets. The drivers of action are getting stronger by the day. In future, there may be more off-grid consumers and more regional transmission efforts.

This meeting was convened by the Asia Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS) Partnership; United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Climate Economic Analysis for Development, Investment and Resilience (CEADIR) activity; Allotrope Partners; World Resources Institute (WRI); National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL); and Private Financing Advisory Network-Asia (PFAN-Asia).

Convening Private Sector Investment in Climate-Smart Commodity Production in Southeast Asia

The event aimed at aligning actions and accelerating investment into climate-smart value chains in the transition to greener and cleaner economies. It brought together 90 participants, including top executives from leading corporations, investment firms, regional small and medium sized enterprises, commercial commodity certification platforms, and senior government officials from Vietnam, Philippines and Indonesia.

Leading private sector organisations discussed their challenges and good practices in meeting their growing demand for food and forestry products while reducing GHG emissions in their value chain. During the discussions, it was realised that there is a dire need to translate sustainability concepts into something tangible with clear business impacts like weather events and disease management.

The regional and international financiers discussed the need for supportive policies from governments and central banks, such as incentives and penalties, integrating sustainability as part of bank’s framework, and mechanisms such as credit guarantee to reduce risks of banks and facilitate transition to climate smart financing.

The government officials from Vietnam, Indonesia and Philippines believed that the adoption rate of climate-smart practices is low due to upfront investment needs. Few climate-smart practices are commercially feasible and have already been taken up by private sector even without government priorities. There should be more dialogues happening between public and private sector. Also, a transparent system to collect, assess and share data as well as a platform to share best practices with farmers and upstream commodity producers is crucial.
To conclude, majority of participants agreed that facilitating more regular dialogues between national level policymakers and businesses and smallholder farmers who are at the front of implementation is the most crucial next step. It is also important to identify solutions to enable small and medium enterprises to access financing, and to develop a policy framework to incentivise/ penalise companies that pursue/don’t pursue climate-smart approaches.  

This meeting was convened by the Asia Low Emission Development Strategies (LEDS) Partnership, which supports actions to strengthen capacity for meeting climate change targets; United States Agency for International Development (USAID), through the Climate Economic Analysis for Development, Investment and Resilience (CEADIR) activity; and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

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