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Sustainable investing in Asia is taking off in a big way. As an astute investor, are you ready to create a positive impact on the world with your investments?

What is sustainable investing?


Sustainable investing is the integration of Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors into the selection and management of investments. The increased focus on ESG issues by regulators and companies are driving Asia’s economic and social development. You too can play a part, while capturing opportunities from these developments.


How a companys' operations affect the natural environment and vice versa.

What are the key environmental concerns to be aware of?

  • Climate change
  • Carbon emissions, 
  • Air and water pollution
  • Natural resources
  • Water scarcity
  • Renewable energy


The relationship between a company and its employees, suppliers and communities.

What are the important social issues to manage?

  • Human capital
  • Labour standards
  • Product liability
  • Gender and diversity
  • Privacy and data security
  • Stakeholder opposition


The systems a company has put in place to ensure sustainable corporate practices.

Are the interests of all stakeholders taken care of?

  • Board composition
  • Executive compensation
  • Accounting practices
  • Corruption
  • Business ethics and fraud

Source: Manulife Investment Management, MSCI ESG Investing and MSCI ESG Research. Selective ESG issues for illustrative purposes only, this is not a full list.


Why sustainable investing in Asia?


Home to 60% of the world’s population1, Asia is responsible for half of global carbon emissions2. With the growing pressure on Asia to tackle pressing environmental challenges and recover from the pandemic with targeted social and other sustainability measures, it’s time to capture the exciting investment opportunities ahead.


Three rising themes in Asia to look out for - Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG)


How to drive a positive change in the world with your capital?

Combining sustainable investing with fixed income

Investors, businesses, and consumers are becoming more aware that they can play an important role in ESG while still meeting their financial goals, fueling the demand for sustainable investments. Investors are beginning to recognise the benefits of Asian credits and that sustainable investments have historically outperformed over the medium to longer term.3

The global issuance of sustainable debt (green, social, and sustainability bonds) increased by US$660 billion in the first half of 20214, with Asian issuers accounting for nearly 17% and expanding at a rate that could surpass the annual amount of US$770 billion in 2020.

However, it is vital to remember that not all sustainable bonds are equal. Investors will ultimately need to undertake robust analysis or engage research expertise to avoid risks like greenwashing and that’s why active managers who take a holistic approach can help investors navigate the best opportunities.

Source: Bloomberg New Energy Finance, Sustainable Finance Market Outlook Data Set, as of December 2021. Data updated half yearly.


A holistic approach is sustainable investing5


We believe that sustainable investing goes beyond meeting ESG criteria. Our sustainable bond strategy encompasses a holistic approach that leverages our local expertise, on-the-ground research, extensive company engagements and investment capabilities to help investors avoid ESG-related and company-specific risks, and to encourage debt issuers, entities, and stakeholders to embrace sustainability best practices.


Source: Manulife Investment Management, data as of 30 November 2021. JESG JACI: JP Morgan ESG Asia Credit Index, JACI: JPMorgan Asia Credit Index.

For illustrative purposes only.

For illustrative purposes only.

Source: Manulife Investment Management, JPMorgan ESG Asia Credit Index (JESG JACI), as of 31 December 2021. * The figure 239 reflects the number of Asian credit issuers approved by Manulife IM Asia Credit Committee.

Source: Manulife Investment Management, as of 30 November 2021.

Source: Manulife Investment Management, as of 30 November 2021.

Source: Bloomberg, JPMorgan indices, Manulife Investment Management, Data based on weighted average percentage of corporate bonds universe for the Manulife Sustainable Asia Bond’s representative portfolio and JPMorgan indices. As of 31 December 2021.

Source: Manulife Investment Management, JPMorgan indices, 31 December 2021.


# The JPMorgan ESG Asia Credit Index (JESG JACI) tracks the total return performance of the Asia ex-Japan USD-denominated debt instruments across the Asian Fixed Income asset class, including floating, perpetual, and subordinated bonds issued by Sovereign, Quasi-Sovereign and Corporate entities. The index applies an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) scoring and screening methodology to tilt toward green bond issues or issuers ranked higher on ESG criteria, and to underweight or remove issuers that rank lower.

*Carbon intensity data sourced via Trucost ESG Analysis and Manulife IM. Carbon intensity refers to Scope 1 & 2 Tons CO2 equivalent emissions per million USD revenues. Definitions: “Scope 1” = All Direct Emissions from the activities of an organisation or under their control. Including fuel combustion on site such as gas boilers, fleet vehicles and air-conditioning leaks. “Scope 2” = Indirect Emissions from electricity purchased and used by the organisation. Emissions are created during the production of the energy and eventually used by the organisation.

Recognition for our sustainable investing capabilities


Learn more about
Manulife Global Fund - Sustainable Asia Bond Fund

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