While many investment trends have come and gone, it seems that ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) investment strategies are here to stay. This week saw UBS focusing on sustainable investment themes for the future across the APAC region. At the same time, the company issued an update on the amount of funding going into sustainable investments.


UBS reports a 78% year-on-year increase


At the company's second UBS APAC sustainable finance conference, the head of sustainable finance, Desmond Kuek, revealed an increase in funding focused on sustainable investment. A 78% year-on-year increase saw impact investments rise from $141 billion to $251 billion. The increased demand is being fuelled by Singapore and Southeast Asia clients, 50%, with the balance coming from the greater China region.


The company has identified four of the top sustainable investment themes which it believes have significant growth potential in the longer term.


Food supply


While not always discussed in terms of sustainability, the Ukraine crisis has highlighted how easily the global food supply chain can be disrupted. Moreover, the knock-on effect to supply issues will be felt for some time, even when the conflict is over. Consequently, UBS believes that investment in sustainable food sources will be an area of significant growth as we advance.


Funds focused on this area will be used to encourage and deliver on innovation, which will consider the impact on the environment and productivity/yield numbers. While investment markets have supported sustainable food sources in the past, it is fair to say that investment has creased dramatically of late.




While many governments worldwide have promised to deliver on commitments to net zero, time will tell whether these commitments are delivered. Thankfully, this has not stopped the investment community from focusing on climate change and how large corporations operate. Recent research suggests that potentially huge climate change events will occur more frequently and with greater severity in the short, medium and longer-term.


At the end of 2021, UBS reported assets under management,focused on climate awareness, topped $23 billion. The company is very active in this area and expects to ramp up investment and support for sustainable projects.




The importance of cybersecurity has never been more significant, with the Ukraine conflict highlighting attacks on businesses and data centres. We live in an era where information is priceless, and our online digital footprint has never been greater. Hence the need for personal, corporate and government investment in cyber security. Unfortunately, we can only estimate how many cybersecurity issues go unreported, with affected parties often concerned about reputational damage.


According to data from UBS, stocks directly linked to cyber security outperformed the global index in 2021. As ongoing investment in areas such as data security will only increase going forward, this could be an exciting area of investment.


Energy supply


As a consequence of the Ukraine conflict, the massive increase in energy prices has opened the eyes of governments and businesses across the globe. While widespread adoption of low carbon emission strategies had already begun before the conflict, investment and research in this area have increased dramatically of late. As a result, sustainable and renewable energy sources have never been more critical as the world looks to reduce dependence on fossil fuels in the shape of oil and gas.


There was already moral pressure on governments to ramp up investment in sustainable and renewable energy sources, but the impact of recent price rises has increased his pressure.


Sustainable investment strategies are here to stay


Here at Global Investment Strategy Limited Hong Kong, we offer access to a growing range of local and global markets. Awareness of ESG themes is higher in the Far East than in other areas of the world, with a significant increase in investment expected going forwards. Previously seen by many as a short term “fad”, ESG is here to stay and will influence the investment strategies of both institutional and private investors.

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