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ASEAN Sustainability-Linked Bond Standards to Boost Corporate Issuances

New Sustainability-Linked Bond standards for Southeast Asia will help catalyse greater corporate participation in green finance and mitigate greenwashing across the ASEAN region. This article examines the drivers behind the new standards and outlines what treasurers need to know going forward.

As sustainable finance has continued to grow in importance and relevance, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) launched the ASEAN Sustainability-Linked Bond (SLB) Standards at the end of 2022. This followed the launch of the ASEAN Green Bond Standards in 2017 and the ASEAN Social Bond Standards in 2018.

In Sustainable Fitch’s view, the release of the ASEAN SLB Standards will help to increase the range of sustainable investment offerings and mitigate greenwashing risks in the region, which will eventually accelerate sustainable development.

The ASEAN Capital Markets Forum (ACMF), which comprises 10 Southeast Asian countries, published the standards for SLBs in October 2022 to facilitate the instrument’s role in the region’s sustainable transformation. The aim of this set of standards is to enhance transparency, consistency, and uniformity across ASEAN SLBs.