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ACGF Innovative Finance Clinic: Green and Resilient Buildings in ASEAN Cities



Armelle Le Bihan, founder of GBCE, was invited to participate in a panel discussion on Financing innovation for green property development during the ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF) event in Singapore.


On September 5th and 6th, 2023, the third edition of the Clinic for Financial Innovation of the ACGF took place in Singapore, to discuss Green and Resilient Buildings in ASEAN Cities.



What is the ASEAN Catalytic Green Finance Facility (ACGF)?


Launched in 2019 in partnership with Infrastructure Asia and the United Kingdom's Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office, the primary objective of this Clinic is to shed light on new financial approaches and innovative instruments aimed at mobilizing investments for the creation of environmentally friendly and resilient buildings in *ASEAN cities.


The ACGF focuses on projects that contribute to environmental protection, greenhouse gas emissions reduction, and the promotion of clean energy and other sustainable development initiatives within the ASEAN region. With projects centered around areas such as renewable energy, energy efficiency, sustainable urban transportation, water supply and sanitation, waste management, and climate-resilient agriculture, it plays an important role by providing technical assistance and facilitating access to over one billion dollars in loans from co-financing partners for the governments of ASEAN member countries.


Thus, over two days, close to 120 participants, including financial experts, government officials at all levels, and project stakeholders from ASEAN member countries, came together to target emerging ideas that could benefit from ACGF's technical assistance or meet ADB's investment criteria. All of this with the aim of establishing a series of financially viable climate projects in the region.


* An organization consisting of ten Southeast Asian countries that cooperate on various economic, political, and social issues.



Panel Discussion Highlights: Financing innovation for green property development


On the panel moderated by Tristan Knowles, Investment Specialist at ADB, Armelle was joined by Esther An from City Developments Limited, Trey Archer from Global Real Estate Sustainability Benchmark (GRESB), and Marco Caillot from Lhoopa.


During her presentation titled “Building Decarbonization: Tackling the hidden part of the iceberg, embodied carbon”, Armelle spoke about the importance of addressing carbon footprints in the building sector across a whole building’s life cycle taking into account embodied carbon and scope 3 emissions.


“While evidence shows that carbon emissions are decreasing, these emissions relate to the way we operate buildings only and we have tackled emissions outside of that scope very superficially.”

- Armelle Le Bihan


As energy grids decarbonize throughout the world and buildings become more energy efficient, the importance of embodied carbon will grow. Eventually, embodied carbon of new buildings will become higher overall than operational carbon.


She also spoke about tackling the embodied carbon issue early on in building design stages and essential through materials selection and specification.


“80% of potential embodied carbon emissions is managed in the early design stages.”


The panel then dived into the drivers and barriers for green building adoption in the region, highlighting the importance of enforced regulations and relevant financial incentives.


The regional differences was pointed out with, on one end, Singapore which has been leading the race by example, having all public meet green building standards before imposing it to the private sector, Singapore being now on track to regulate to low energy building standards.

Singapore has put in place a mix of regulatory mechanisms to mandate the Green Mark Scheme standard while providing financial incentive schemes reducing entry barriers.

And on the other end, other countries which have not made green building standards mandatory at a national level and who’s biggest pull is triggered by peer pressure and international corporate mandates.


In regards to embodied carbon, in ASEAN, except for Singapore, no other countries has put in place a system which addresses embodied carbon specifically.



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