Editor Andrea Fiano's monthly letter to you, the reader.

Author: Andrea Fiano

DECEMBER 2019 | VOL. 33  NO. 11

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Choosing a topic for the cover story each month is challenging, tiring and sometimes exciting. Because we must choose well in advance of publication, we try to focus not so much on current events as timely topics that interest our wide and global audience. Even so, it is tricky to catch the wave at just the right time, avoiding subjects that will be overcovered by presstime but also not raising them before they are ripe.

In choosing to focus this month on water and its relevance to business, we are trying to address a swelling concern. An issue that has long been seen as crucial by enviromentalists has lately generated a tidal wave of interest from global business—and it is driving original solutions. One instance is the recent launch of sustainable deposits in the US and other major financial hubs by Standard Chartered. Another is DBS’ announcement that it will be the first bank in Southest Asia to adopt the Equator Principles for “determining, assessing, and managing environmental and social risk in development projects.” These principles have already been adopted by 94 financial institutions in 37 countries, and their importance is growing in Asia.

In the flood of emails we scrutinize it is often easy to notice mini-trends, innovations or simply change. Lately many banks have announced products and services that were unthinkable just a few years ago, and clearly reflect current concerns of corporate executives, shareholders, and investors. The past year was a record year for green, social and sustainability bonds in the Asia-Pacific region. In less than six years, according to Dealogic, the total value of issuances went from $500 million for one in 2013 to $27.5 billion for 62 issues so far in 2019. That’s more than a trickle of interest.