Supercharging Sustainable Leadership in APAC’s Financial Services Industry

Sustainable LeadershipEnvironmental, Social, and GovernanceFinancial ServicesFinanceExecutive Search
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Ashley Wallace
June 02, 2022
3 min read
Sustainable LeadershipEnvironmental, Social, and GovernanceFinancial ServicesFinanceExecutive Search
Executive Summary
To understand sustainability leadership talent in FS organizations in Asia, RRA analysed the backgrounds of senior sustainability leaders globally.
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The past year saw Asian governments take large steps towards managing climate change, with the region’s major emitters and key players making notable commitments to reduce emissions and achieve net zero. Sustainability has also been front-of-mind for investors and asset owners in Asia, with many placing a focus on sustainability when making portfolio allocation decisions. As of September 2021, ESG assets under management (AUM) in Asia Pacific reached US$93 billion, with over 500 sustainability funds domiciled in the region and about 120 new funds launched in 2021.1

A Snapshot of Financial Services Sustainability Leaders in APAC Today

There are three overarching themes for top sustainability leaders across FS organizations headquartered in APAC.

  1. Few sit in the C-suite
  2. Most come from a finance, risk and reporting background (unlike their global counterparts)
  3. Almost half are female

1. Few sit in the C-suite

Few sit in the C-suite

 

This has implications for a sustainability leader’s scope and depth of influence across the organization if they lack the direct connection and seniority to interface with business unit leaders and other C-suite members.

 

2. Most come from a finance, risk and reporting background (unlike their global counterparts)

Functional experience

 

Most come from a finance

3. Almost half are female

Almost half are female

 

What does this mean for APAC Financial Institutions?

From a talent perspective, there are several steps APAC financial institutions can take to build upon and deliver on their sustainability / ESG strategies.

  1. Assess where you are in your journey
  2. Determine which activities and decisions your sustainability leader(s) will focus on, and from there, decide on the optimal “archetype” for this leader
  3. Appoint, enable, and support
  4. Continue to cultivate your talent bench for the future
  5. Embed sustainability into your broader organization and leadership culture

 


 

Authors

Ashley Wallace Joll leads Russell Reynolds Associates’ Financial Services Sector for Asia Pacific. She is based in Hong Kong.

Beijing Zhu is a member of Russell Reynolds Associates’ Financial Services sector Knowledge team. She is based in New York.

Ying Sheng Ho is a member of Russell Reynolds Associates’ Financial Services sector Knowledge team. He is based in Singapore.

 

 

 

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Supercharging Sustainable Leadership in APAC’s Financial Services Industry