The financial sector has profitable opportunities in financing climate change, says Jonathan Larsen, Chief Innovation Officer of Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China, Ltd. (HKEx:2318; SSE:601318) a group which is supporting China's transition to a low-carbon economy.
"Ping An, as a very large China-based financial technology and health company, certainly has the ambition to be at the forefront of the highest standards of ESG reporting and conduct," says Mr. Larsen, speaking at the Singapore Fintech Festival.
The Group's efforts to measure and track its environmental impact and create an ESG rating framework for other companies demonstrates its commitment to being "a constructive force in introducing global standards to Chinese companies, starting with ourselves," he says.
Ping An's artificial-intelligence-based ESG evaluation system, launched in 2021, is helping to drive responsible investment in China.
It covers more than 4,500 A-share listed companies and more than 2,700 Hong Kong listed companies. It evaluates more than 4,600 corporate credit bond issuers and 58,000 green bonds in the bond market, and nearly 140 fund management companies and more than 14,900 funds in the fund market.
Ping An and China's transition to a low-carbon economy
Ping An is also driving business innovation to support China's transition to a low-carbon economy. In May, Ping An Bank (SZ:000001) launched a personal carbon account platform, Low Carbon Home, for its 110 million UnionPay credit and debit card customers.
The platform calculates customers' personal carbon emission reductions based on their spending patterns. By showing individual customers how their low-carbon behaviors are helping to protect the environment, the program can motivate them to do more.
"That's certainly a profitable opportunity for us and puts customers in control of their emission profile," Mr Larsen says. In addition, Ping An Bank is developing a platform for monitoring carbon emissions based on Internet of Things (IoT) technology and has already landed its first pilot in October 2021.
The platform monitors carbon emission data in real time, which is useful for quality audits and post-credit management of carbon assets, as well as for evaluating the environmental performance of clients.
In the insurance industry, there is also significant opportunity for innovation in managing catastrophes driven by extreme climate events, Mr. Larsen said. Ping An Property & Casualty launched its National Disaster Risk Platform 2.0 in 2021 to help control and mitigate the risk in agriculture.
COP27 climate change
The platform draws on 1.4 billion data points on national disasters, internal underwriting and claim records to assess risks from nine types of natural disasters and can be used to send early warnings to business owners, property owners and car owners.
Over 170,000 disaster prevention warnings and disaster prevention information were sent to more than 50,000 farmers in 2021, resulting in a total reduction in farmer losses of RMB 38.25 million.
With the international COP27 climate change conference underway, "there are grounds for optimism" in the scale that China is driving positive change, Mr. Larsen said. In Shenzhen, where Ping An is headquartered, at least half the cars in the city of 18 million people are electric cars, he notes, and the country is making "enormous progress" in renewable energy.
Through its "Ping An Auto Owner" app, Ping An Property & Casualty has launched exclusive services for owners of electric cars. Using the quick charging pile search service, users in more than 300 cities can find the nearest charging pile at the click of the button on the app.