New funding platform launched for sustainability projects in Asia

Bringing together European banks and UN funding, the new Sustainable Finance Collective Asia will offer capital and expert advice for sustainability projects.

Sustainable projects in the areas of the circular economy, sustainable energy or social impact in Asia now have a new potential source of funding in the Sustainable Finance Collective (SFC) Asia.

This funding platform, launched on Tuesday morning by ING Bank at the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development in Singapore, will offer funding to projects that meet the criteria and approval of its two committees: the Funding Panel and the Expert Panel. 

Comprised of banks Credit Suisse, FMO, and ING Bank as well as the UNDP-UN Social Impact Fund, the Funding Panel will offer project managers a range of funding options through a single source including debt, equity, and guarantees. 

Gerrit Stoelinga, CEO for ING Wholesale Banking Asia, said in a statement that sustainability is key to ING’s purpose of empowering people and businesses.

“We want to encourage businesses to become more sustainable and we hope to see applications for game-changing sustainability projects that will have a positive impact in Asia.” 

Projects applying for funding must be about one of the three themes: circular economy, sustainable energy, or social impact. The first two themes should require minimum funding of US$15 million, while grant applications for social impact projects start at US$5 million. Capital will be allocated on a case-by-case basis with no cap to the amount available for funding in total. 

Besides offering capital for sustainability projects, SFC Asia will also provide support and advice through its Expert Panel so projects can work towards qualifying for its grants. 

The panel is made up of technical consultants, environmental consultants, and experts in social and environmental impact assessment including consultancy Atkins Acuity, law firm Clifford Chance, and sustainability research and analysis company Sustainalytics. 

SFC Asia will begin welcoming online applications once its website goes live in December. 

Tony Gourlay, CEO of Global Initiatives behind the Responsible Business Forum on Sustainable Development, said that such an “innovative” way of providing access to funding could “encourage the business community to champion sustainability projects in the region”.  

The launch of SFC  Asia comes on the heels of the Conference of the Parties (COP 22) in Marrakesh, Morocco last week that concluded without a deal for richer nations to help fund the efforts of less developed, climate-vulnerable nations in reducing emissions and becoming climate resilient. 

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