ESG Themes for 2023

By Lindsay Patrick
Published January 10, 2023 | 1 min read

In our year-ahead outlook, RBC Capital Markets' Sustainable Finance Group provides an overview of three key themes that we believe will define progress on ESG matters in 2023.

January 2023 marks four years since RBC Capital Markets launched the Sustainable Finance Group and we have witnessed considerable market growth and evolution in the years following the establishment of our team. Our annual year-ahead piece has captured these evolving trends over the years, including the growth of sustainability-linked loans, the rise of corporate ESG target-setting, and a coming of age for carbon markets. In 2022, we observed a notable pivot in the sustainable finance market, which we did not anticipate but welcome as a sign of maturation and integrity. These changes have informed our approach to identifying the three key themes that we believe will shape progress on ESG matters in the year ahead.

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Key Themes for 2023

  • The Evolution of the Sustainability Disclosure Landscape: We anticipate that a global baseline for sustainability disclosures, expected to be finalized by the International Sustainability Standards Board (ISSB) in 2023, will bring about a renewed emphasis on the concept of financial materiality and the interplay between sustainability and financial value creation.
  • A Great Reset for ESG Integration and Sustainable Finance: As market participants become more sophisticated and regulatory frameworks become increasingly stringent with regards to what qualifies as a sustainable investment, we believe that heightened attention to quality and integrity will help temper greenwashing concerns and drive further innovation in the sustainable finance market.
  • A Growing Market for Transition Finance: The rise of energy independence as a critical national security priority, paired with growing recognition that some of the most impactful opportunities for decarbonization and value creation can be found within the highest-emitting sectors of the economy, will lead to an increased focus on projects that do not currently align with a pure “green” framework but that ultimately will be instrumental in helping to reach net-zero by 2050.

Lindsay Patrick

Lindsay Patrick
Head, Strategic Initiatives and ESG

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