4 Indian cities among top 20 sustainable cities in Asia Pacific: Report | Mint

Four Indian cities–Bengaluru, Delhi, Hyderabad and Mumbai–made it to the list of top 20 sustainable cities, as per the Asia Pacific Sustainability Index 2021.

Global property consultant, Knight Frank’s APAC Sustainably Led Cities Index rated 36 cities based on urbanisation pressure, climate risk, carbon emissions and government initiatives.

Singapore, Sydney, Wellington, Perth, and Melbourne were the top five green-rated cities in commercial real estate in the Asia-Pacific region.

Bengaluru led the sustainability index amongst the top Indian cities and ranked 14th in the APAC region. Bengaluru was the only Indian city to achieve the ‘Gold’ standard category. Delhi ranked second amongst the Indian cities (ranked 17th in the APAC region) followed by Hyderabad (ranked 18th) and Mumbai (ranked 20th).

Shishir Baijal, chairman and managing director Knight Frank India, said, “New market dynamics have propelled the growth of sustainable development in India. The global commitment to carbon neutrality and net zero is firmly focused on creating environmentally friendly premises has led Indian developers to augment their products to meet the requirements. With more and more occupiers demanding for sustainable, green and well standard buildings, we expect these features to become a universal standard, rather than a novelty, in the foreseeable future.”

The report also noted that India’s green bond issuances increased 523% on a yearly basis, from $1.1 billion in 2020 to $6.8 billion in 2021.

As of now, India is the sixth-largest country in APAC in terms of the total amount of green bonds issued in 2021. Green bond issuances that were negatively impacted by the pandemic in 2020 recovered in 2021, surpassing pre-pandemic levels and posting an increase of 116.9% from $3.1 billion raised in 2019.

According to statistics provided by the Climate Bonds Initiative), APAC issued $126 billion in green bonds in 2021, with China issuing the largest amount, $68 billion, exceeding the combined value of the other APAC nations.

Neil Brookes, head of global capital markets at Knight Frank said, “Over the last few years, investors have been putting more emphasis on ESG-focused strategies to maximise their returns. Recent years have witnessed a rapid embrace of ESG measures benchmarking in the APAC region, driven by the pressing need to reduce climate risks. In the past, adopting sustainable methods have shown to strengthen investment portfolio. With debt cost soaring, yield-seeking investors will also be compelled to move up the risk curve to secure the desired spreads. Many will gravitate to more active asset management strategies, in order to generate alpha.”

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