The covid-19 crisis is expected to have both short-term and long-term impacts on how real estate lenders prioritize environmental, social and governance principles. In the short term, “the focus on ESG becomes a bit less because you are focusing on surviving and having the necessary cashflow, having the liquidity plans in place to manage what’s going on with covid,” said Mervyn Tang, global head of ESG research at Fitch Ratings.
Long term, however, he expects to see a greater focus on ESG and green initiatives in government and central bank policies under the coronavirus economic recovery packages passed in multiple jurisdictions.
Tang, along with fellow panelists Catriona Paterson, director at Paterson Sustainability, and Helena Wright, vice-president of sustainable infrastructure and energy finance at WWF Singapore, also weighed in on topics that included the integration of ESG principles into real estate finance and the standardization of green lending. The session was moderated by PERE editor Evelyn Lee.