Biz@HKUST ESG Webinar: Mobilizing Capital for the Brown to Green Transition: Panel of Catalysers

Hong Kong has entered the stage of adopting green and sustainable finance in earnest with private sector action and regulatory support. As an international financial centre, Hong Kong can – and must – better utilise its cross-disciplinary innovation capabilities to mobilize capital for the ‘brown to green transition’.

Sign up for this Webinar on 28 January to hear from industry experts at the forefront of green and sustainable finance in Hong Kong.

The panelists will share their diverse experience in applying a green and sustainability lens in their financing and investment work. By combining science, data, technology and values, the panelists bring together a wealth of hands-on experience and leadership necessary for Hong Kong's 'brown to green' transition, including: assessing sustainability risks and investments across different asset classes, improving transparency and disclosure, developing divestment strategies, directing investments into green, low-carbon investments, and using technology for financial innovation to showcase Hong Kong’s capabilities. They will also share their views on the latest developments in science-based targets, nature-based climate solutions, impact investing, ESG, new ideas in financial products, and the feasibility of blended finance structures for Hong Kong and the region.

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  • Christine Loh, Chief Development Strategist, Institute for the Environment, HKUST


  • Annie Chen, Principal and Chair of RS Group
  • Bénédicte Nolens, Head of BIS Innovation Hub, Hong Kong Centre
  • Elsa Pau, Founder & CEO of WealthAsia Group
  • Entela Benz, Adjunct Associate Professor, Dept of Finance, HKUST and Co-founder of Intensel Ltd.
  • Pratima Divgi, Director of CDP Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand

(In alphabetical order by first name)

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Key takeaways:

  • Investing with a sustainability lens can meet financial return targets.
  • The pool of asset owners interested in sustainability is growing.
  • Asset managers are responding to the sustainability demand but watch out for greenwashing.
  • Funds with solid ESG frames will likely have a lower mortality rate than traditional ones.
  • Sustainability will be more prominent in financial decision-making, as governments and regulators take it on.
  • Banks will start looking at the “brown risks” in their client’s businesses in making lending decisions.
  • Universities, including business schools, need to help train talent who understand sustainability as a core subject

Click here to watch the video replay |



Christine Loh 
Professor Christine Loh, SBS, JP, OBE, Chevalier de l’Ordre National du Mérite, is Chief Development Strategist at Institute for the Environment, HKUST. She was Under Secretary for the Environment in the HKSAR Government (2012-17) and a Member of the Hong Kong Legislative Council (1992-97 and 1998-2000). She has been active in public policy and politics since the 1980s. She founded and was the CEO of the non-profit think tank, Civic Exchange (2000-12), and helped to establish several non-profit organizations in Hong Kong related to the environment, equal opportunity, arts and culture, as well as human rights.

Professor Loh is currently a board member of the Robert HN Ho Family Foundation, CDP Worldwide and Global Maritime Forum. She is a member of BASF Stakeholder Advisory Council and an Advisor to HSBC’s Climate Advisory Panel. She also teaches a course on non-market risks at Anderson School of Management, UCLA. She is a published author of many academic and popular works. Her expertise in environmental policy is well-known, including advised the World Health Organization and International Energy Agency on issues relating to air pollution and public health. She is a lawyer by training, and a commodities trader by profession. She received her legal training in England and Hong Kong, and received honorary degrees of Doctor of Law from the University of Hull and Doctor of Science from the University of Exeter.



Annie Chen
Annie is the Principal and Chair of RS Group.  Convinced that sustainability is the defining challenge of our times, Annie believes that one should, and can, “invest in the future one wants to create”. 

Not only has Annie challenged RS Group to invest its own capital sustainably, she has made conscious efforts to seed/support particularly innovative philanthropic or impact investing strategies to enable the mainstreaming of environmental and social considerations in the wealth management context, particularly within Asia where such practices remain nascent.  Towards that end, RS Group incubated and recently launched a platform called the Sustainable Finance Initiative in Hong Kong.

Born and raised in Hong Kong, Annie obtained her BA from Brown University and her JD from Columbia Law School.  After practicing tax law in San Francisco and Hong Kong for nearly a decade, Annie joined her siblings in managing the family office established by their parents in the late nineties, and in 2010 established RS Group to manage her wealth.


Benedicte Nolens
Bénédicte is the Head of the BIS Innovation Hub, Hong Kong Centre. Prior to this appointment, she was the Managing Director at SC Ventures, the innovation arm of Standard Chartered Bank that leads a series of new ventures across digital banking, banking as a service, SME finance and blockchain.

Bénédicte was the Vice President of International Government Relations at Circle (2018-2019), involved in the evolution of blockchain and digital assets. She was the Head of Risk & Strategy of the Hong Kong Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) (2012-2018), and in that capacity also acting as the Vice Chair of the Committee on Emerging Risks and the Fintech research lead for the International Organization of Securities Commissions (IOSCO). She has also served as the Managing Director at Credit Suisse (2007-2012).

Originally from Belgium, Bénédicte holds LL.M. and M.B.A. degrees from the University of Chicago and the University of Leuven. She is admitted to the New York Bar since 1999. In 2016, she received the China Daily Asian Women Leadership Awards for her efforts related to entrepreneurship, innovation and charity. She remains closely engaged in these topics, most recently through her involvement in the Fintech Association of Hong Kong (FTAHK) and Women in Finance Asia (WiFA.)


Elsa Pau 
Elsa Pau is Founder & CEO of WealthAsia Group, a profit-for-purpose organization driving investor protection and responsible investing throughout the financial eco-system. Her latest venture, Fintech portal, Blue Onion, further promotes responsible investing and clarity by exposing asset managers’ qualitative and sustainability performances. She advocates for investment transparency and drives compelling propositions that benefit real change for the finance community.

Elsa is a finance industry veteran and currently serves as an investment governor for select family offices in Asia. She is the creator and curator of The Gatekeepers forum, the Sustainable Family Office Forum and a series of Wealth and Asset Management Quality Study and Awards Programs operated under the BENCHMARK brand.

WealthAsia strongly advocates to live a life you love through prudent investing, responsible spending, and impactful giving. Elsa was recognized as one of Asia’s Most Influential Women by AsiaWeek.


Entela Benz
Professor Entela Benzis the CEO and Co-founder of Intensel Limited, an AI-powered climate science for predicting financial risk related to weather extremes and climate change. Besides, Entela serves as Adjunct Associate Professor at the Department of Finance, HKUST Business School, teaching courses for Master level. Entela has been acting as consultant/advisor/executive trainer on ESG Investing. Previously, she worked for UBS Investment Bank in Hong Kong, a Hedge Fund in Geneva, Switzerland etc.

Currently, Entela sits on various boards such as Dragon Capital Group Limited, The Hong Kong Green Finance Association ESG Integration working group, the Board of Advisors of International Care Ministries (ICM), as well as the Friend of Earth NGO Advisory Board. Her publications and Harvard Business Review cases studies are on ESG integration, physical and transitional climate risk impact etc.

Entela graduated with a PhD in Financial Asset Management and Engineering (FAME /Swiss Finance Institute) from HEC – University of Lausanne, Switzerland, also holds an MPhil in International Economics from HEI – Graduate Institute of International Studies, Geneva, Switzerland and Certificate of Finance from Linacre College, Oxford University.


Pratima Divgi
Pratima Divgi is Director of CDP Hong Kong, she leads CDP’s regional efforts in Hong Kong, Southeast Asia, Australia and New Zealand. In her role as Director, she engages with corporates, investors and cities in their efforts to measure and manage environmental impact.

In her previous career, Pratima spent 17 years in finance, most recently in private equity with Aberdeen Standard Investments. Besides her investment role at Aberdeen Standard, she was also part of the private equity environmental, social and governance (ESG) working group which involved formulation of the ESG policy and leading the policy implementation for Asia-Pacific private equity investments.

Pratima remains an active member of the Hong Kong Venture Capital Association.

Co-organized by HKUST Institute for the Environment, Division of Environment and Sustainability and HKUST Business School
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