Growing consumer awareness of environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues will continue to be a significant issue for businesses in 2021. This presents a huge opportunity for companies and whole sectors to frame products and services with sustainable concepts at their core.
No longer a niche issue, consumers will increasingly begin to favour businesses which can provide green credentials and then follow through with their actions. At ANZ, we see this opportunity emerging across a number of sectors, from retail brands to industries like airlines, supermarkets, and even financial services.
This has been a growing theme for some time and the COVID-19 pandemic has only accelerated its growth. Expect it to be a key factor for businesses in 2021.
In the sustainable finance sector, the New Year is likely to bring a greater focus on specifics within that ESG context. A focus on environmental factors will be at the top of that list. The transition to net-zero carbon by 2050 will be front of mind for many issuers and participants.
I think the market will continue to see strong issuance in the social bond format, particularly around the economic recovery from the pandemic-led downturn in 2020. The manufacturing of vaccines and associated research and development is also likely to be fertile ground for activity.
After an unprecedented 2020, the outlook for 2021 is a difficult one to pin down. The post-COVID landscape is one of rapid technological change, a transformational shakeup of global trading orthodoxy, and an increasing focus on sustainable business practices.
At ANZ Institutional, we aim to help our customers put themselves in the best possible position to take advantage of these forces. Our subject-matter experts have the insight to offer market-leading thought leadership in a range of complex areas from across more than 30 global markets.
As 2021 looms, we are asking our experts about the key factors they see shaping markets and industry in 2021 – and the opportunities and challenges within. We’ll be sharing the responses with you over the coming weeks.
There’s also likely to be an emerging theme around biodiversity in 2021. The pandemic really highlighted the connectivity between environmental degradation and the economy. As a result, I think the financing of biodiversity, and the concept of natural capital, will really come to the fore in the New Year.
Katharine Tapley is Head of Sustainable Finance at ANZ
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