OCBC, the second largest financial services group in Southeast Asia by assets announced the creation of the role of group chief sustainability officer (CSO) with a strong business and client focus.
This new role will actively lead the sustainability agenda, including the transition to Net Zero economy on both the lending and wealth management fronts. With a stronger business performance measurement, the role will go beyond promoting and reporting environment, social and governance (ESG) content or strategy to ensure effective business alignment.
OCBC set up the Board Sustainability Committee in February 2023 to step up efforts in its oversight of ESG issues. With the creation of the Group CSO role, OCBC significantly increases the focus on sustainability, a key pillar of its corporate strategy.
Mike Ng, a sustainable finance veteran, will assume the Group CSO role on 1 August 2023. The Group CSO will build on OCBC’s solid track record in sustainability, and accelerate the OCBC Group’s efforts. He will also actively lead the efforts in supporting clients’ transition and delivering innovative products and services to help clients achieve their climate action plans.
Led by Ng as the head of the sustainability office for global wholesale banking, the division responsible for small and medium-sized enterprises and large corporates, OCBC announced in May 2023 the decarbonisation targets for six sectors and the key actions needed to achieve Net Zero in its financed emissions by 2050. OCBC is well on track to cross the SGD 50 billion ($37.5 billion) mark in committed sustainable finance in 2023, two years ahead of schedule in hitting the target of SGD 50 billion ($37.5 billion) by 2025’. The Sustainability Office launched two innovative sustainable banking products for corporates this year – the OCBC 1.5°C loan and a green loan offering with carbon credits. OCBC remains the only bank with a structured SME Sustainable Financing Framework which was launched in 2020, to help SME in their net-zero transition.
Ng has been at the forefront of OCBC’s sustainable finance efforts. He joined the bank as the head of structured and project finance in 2010 before expanding his role to drive the offerings of sustainable finance solutions among large corporates in 2018. In June 2022, he assumed the role of head of sustainability office, global wholesale banking.
In the past five years, Ng has advised corporate clients across different industries on their Net Zero transition and has led the bank to make significant headway in the renewable energy sector, financing solar and wind farm projects worldwide. He was instrumental in OCBC’s commitment to cease financing for new coal-fired power plants in 2019 – the first Singapore bank to do so.
Helen Wong, group CEO of OCBC said: “The diversified nature and size of the OCBC Group, coupled with the catalyst role that we play in the society, required us to curate the role of a chief sustainability officer differently from other organisations. OCBC has always been very strong in community development and governance. In recent years, we have stepped up our efforts in climate actions. Therefore, this new role requires an individual to have a strong sense of business acumen, as well as deep expertise not just in sustainability and climate change but also in financial products and services.”
Wong added: “Ng is thus a natural fit. He is highly regarded as a sustainable finance veteran with an innovative and forward-looking mind. Throughout his career at OCBC, he has always pushed for greater heights in achieving excellence. I have no doubt that he will be able to replicate the success that he has achieved so far in his new role as the group chief sustainability officer.”
Re-disseminated by The Asian Banker