NUS Sustainable and Green Finance Institute celebrates official launch

The Sustainable and Green Finance Institute (SGFIN), a research institute established by NUS with the support of the Monetary Authority of Singapore (MAS), was officially launched by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Finance, Mr Lawrence Wong on 20 April 2023.

SGFIN was set up to develop deep research and capabilities in the area of green finance and sustainability and provide thought leadership and shape sustainability outcomes and policymaking across the real economy and financial sectors. SGFIN is committed to advancing the sustainability sector by focusing on four areas – education, data-driven sustainable finance research, impact measurement, and outreach.

SGFIN, which began operations in December 2021, collaborates with industry partners on research initiatives to support the development of frameworks for more transparent and standardised measurement of companies’ environmental and social performance, and for benchmarking to best practices across industries.

NUS President, Professor Tan Eng Chye said, "SGFIN will play an important role in helping Singapore develop strong capabilities in green finance and in strengthening Singapore’s position as a global financial hub. The Institute’s emphasis on education and data-driven research approach will drive the development of innovative and progressive financial solutions for sustainable development in Asia and the world. We thank our partners and collaborators who are working together with us to shape financial services for a more sustainable future.”

In sharing about MAS' Finance for Net Zero Action Plan during the launch, Minister Lawrence Wong said that Singapore needs robust research to support the development of green and transition finance and to support businesses in formulating new green products and solutions. He said, “This is why MAS has helped to set up three Centres of Excellence including SGFIN. Our COEs have been producing quality research, such as SGFIN’s research on a Sustainability Impact Measurement and Assessment Framework for corporates in Singapore and Asia."

Scholarships to boost demand for talent

To grow the capacity and talent pool in this area to meet the demand for leadership in sustainable financing in Singapore and beyond, SGFIN announced new scholarships for its Master of Science in Sustainable and Green Finance programme offered in collaboration with NUS Business School. Up to four scholarships will be awarded at the next intake in August 2023, and more scholarships will be available in the following years.

The MSc in Sustainable and Green Finance is the first programme of its kind in Asia. It is designed to enhance students’ impact on investment and business decisions through experiential learning and exposure to the financial and corporate sectors in the region. 

Ms Jorgina Chieng, who is part of the programme’s first cohort that started in August 2022, said that it provides students from various backgrounds a unique opportunity to gain specialised financial expertise and competencies required to help companies transition from conventional to greener and more sustainable financial models.  

She added, “What has impressed me the most about the programme are the opportunities to engage in practical work with real-life case studies and projects, specially designed to focus on the Asian and local context. Additionally, our professors are equally committed to the cause and very enthusiastic about helping us apply the principles that they taught. We have just started working on our capstone project with an external organisation to help them with a real-life sustainability problem, and I can already see the practical application of the theories and concepts learned in class.”

Ms Chieng, who has more than 15 years of experience in the banking and financial services sector, is confident that the MSc in Sustainable and Green Finance programme offers professionals like herself an opportunity to keep their skills relevant so that they can support companies in making a more positive impact on the community and the environment.

SGFIN Managing Director, Professor Sumit Agarwal said that as Singapore looks to position itself as a green finance hub in the region, there is a dire need to nurture a deep pipeline of talent and leadership in this area.

“SGFIN is contributing to this cause with a calibrated approach in its education efforts. The development of relevant expertise and innovative solutions to drive transformation across corporate and financial sectors through SGFIN will advance the understanding and adoption of best sustainable and green financing practices,” said Prof Agarwal.